Part of the plant used: root and bark
Cat's claw is indigenous to the Tropics, especially to South-East Asia and South America; it is part of the vine family. Its name comes from the fact that there are small claw-like thorns at the junction of the stem and leaf. It is largely used by South American healers who claim that its potency can restore health. It is believed to have anti-inflammatory, antimutagenic, anticancer and antioxidant properties, however its mechanism of action is unknown. Its activities are linked to the plant's many alkaloids which appear to have varying properties.
Cat's claw is available in tablets or capsules and sometimes in combination with other products.
500 to 1000 mg of cat's claw (capsules and tablets contain the raw herb containing 1,3 % of pentacyclic oxindoles), one to three times a day.
There is insufficient reliable information to conclude that cat's claw is effective in any other indication.
In 2004, Canada adopted new regulations that control the manufacturing, packaging, labeling and importing of natural health products. The new regulations also include an adverse reaction reporting system. Products that conform to the regulation's criteria are identified with a natural product number (NPN) and can be legally sold in Canada. This number indicates that the product meets specific criteria for safety and purity, not that it is effective for any indication.
Medicinal plant contents vary naturally from plant to plant - just as fruits from the same package may vary in taste and texture. There is no standard to measure the active content of each plant. Thus, efficacy of natural products should be expected to vary from brand to brand as well as from bottle to bottle of the same brand.
For more information about the Natural Health Products Regulations, or to check if a product has been assessed, visit the Health Canada website at www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/prodnatur/index-eng.php.
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