Sunday, November 4, 2007

This presentation is part of : Complementary and Alternative Care
Cat's Claw: Mechanism of Action
Sonya R. Hardin, PhD, RN, School of Nursing, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, NC, USA
Learning Objective #1: understand the physiological mechanisms of Cat's Claw.
Learning Objective #2: understand the evidence supporting utilization of Cat's Claw as an herbal medicine.

Cat’s Claw (Uncaria tomentosa and Uncaria guianesis) is an herbal medicine historically utilized by indigenous people of the rainforest for centuries to treat arthritis, ulcers, sexually transmitted diseases, fevers, and cancer. Cat's claw is typically prescribed to treat inflammatory disorders such as arthritis, viral diseases, gastrointestinal disease, gastric ulcers, and cancer. Evidence for the use of Cat’s Claw has been supported by few scientific studies. However the results of the small number of studies with a limited sample size have indicated that cat’s claw increased white blood cell counts, and reducted knee pain in osteoarthritis. This presentation will explain the physiological mechanisms underlying the usefulness of Cat’s Claw in increasing immunity and decreasing inflammation.

The mechanisms of inhibiting TNFa, nitrite production, and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) gene expression through suppression of NF-kB, as well as antioxidant properties against the free radical DPPH will be reviewed. Research studies supporting the use of Cat’s Claw, direction for prescribing, precautions and possible interactions will be discussed.