How this helps
Cat’s claw protects the DNA located within the cells and directly helps with DNA repair. When this DNA is damaged, cancer may develop. It is, therefore, important to support the repair and protection of cellular DNA.
Cat’s claw can improve the body’s natural ability to defend itself from pathogens, and cancerous cells, through stimulating the production of immune cells such as neutrophils.
As an adjunct to chemotherapy, cat’s claw can support the loss of neutrophils, which is the most common limiting factor with chemotherapy. By improving the neutrophil count, stronger chemo can be used, and for a longer amount of time, which may lead to more success with this treatment.
Cat’s claw also helps with some of the other negative side effects of chemotherapy, some of which are through its ability to protect and repair cellular DNA.
Some of the alkaloids contained within cat’s claw help to modulate the neurotransmitters in the brain. In doing so, cat’s claw can help with a variety of neurological disorders including anxiety, and depression.
Cat’s claw can be found in powdered and encapsulated form, liquid extract, or as raw herb to be made into a tea. All of these methods are great for cats claw but most find the capsules or liquid extract best since to brew the tea the herb must be boiled and can be fairly time consuming to make.
When buying cat’s claw make sure to purchase a product with the botanical name “Uncaria tomentosa” or “Uncaria guianensis”. This is important because there exists another, unrelated plant which shares the same common name that should not be used in the same way as cats claw from the Uncaria genus.
Cat’s claw pairs well with reishi for adjunctive treatment with chemotherapy to improve the immune system, protect the cells, and reduce the negative side effects of chemotherapy.
One of the traditional uses of cat’s claw is to reduce fertility in women. This has not been investigated, however, until confirmed this herb is not recommended for those trying to conceive.
Due to cat claws significant ability to improve the immune system, those on immunosuppressants, or has recently undergone an organ transplant, should not consume cat’s claw.
Cat’s claw contains some anticoagulant compounds, and therefore should not be taken by those on blood thinners such as Coumadin. For the same reason, cat’s claw is not recommended for those who will be undergoing surgery in the near future.
With large doses, cat’s claw sometimes produces some gastrointestinal discomfort. If this occurs, reduce the dose. These side effects tend to dissapear after a few days of continual use.
Science and research
Cat’s claw is useful in cancer therapy due to its ability to improve neutrophil and white blood cell counts , which are a common side effect of chemotherapy. This is also a common limiting factor in the success and use of chemotherapy. This is because if these cells become too low in the system, the chemotherapy is generally stopped or reduced in intensity. By improving the levels of these cells, chemotherapy may be used in stronger doses or for longer amounts of time, which may improve the success of the treatment.
Cat’s claw also reduces other side effects of chemotherapy such as hair loss, weight loss, nausea, and secondary infections. This has been suggested to be a result of cat’s claws ability to support DNA repair which has been damaged by chemotherapy medications. [2, 3].
Cat’s claw is also useful for stimulating various immune cells such as T and B lymphocytes. It has also been shown to modulate the cytokine TNF-a which plays a significant role in the prevention and management of cancer cells within the body. .
The anti inflammatory effects of cat’s claw are suggested to be through the various antioxidant compounds, and plant sterols contained in the plant. These chemicals also reduce the damage caused by reactive oxygen species produced as a result of metabolic, dietary, environmental, or cellular damage. It also inhibits NF-kb  which is an inflammatory protein that has been linked with the development of such conditions as cancer, psoriasis, and others. By reducing this compound’s effects, or expression within the body, inflammation may be reduced or treated.
Cat’s claw has immunostimulating qualities, especially for T and B lymphocytes. It’s actions on the immune system are suggested to be mainly due to the oxinidole alkaloids contained within the plant. .
Neurological and brain
Pteropodine and isopteropodine found in cat’s claw provide modulating effects on such neurotransmitter receptors as 5HT(2) and others . Which explains at least some of cats claws effects on various neurological disorders such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and some forms of chronic pain.