Cat’s claw has a very strong immunostimulatory effect and is suitable for the prevention of influenza, the treatment of chronic fatigue and viral or fungal diseases, as well as for the treatment of cold sores that come up with a struggling immune system.
It is also used in the treatment of inflammation, asthma, rheumatism, arthritis, urinary tract infections and painful menstrual periods.
Cat’s claw is a shrub of the Rubiaceae family, with climbing branches reaching up to 30 metres. Its bark is of a light-brown, gold-yellow hue with a fibrous structure. The leaves are oval or heart-shaped, dark green and glossy. Its popular name derives from the plant’s bent thorns, which are hook-like and reminds one of "uňa de gato" or a cat’s claw.
These shrubs thrive in rainforests, so are not appropriate to grow in Europe.
Root bark, younger roots and the inner bark of the stems are collected. The thicker the bark, the better.
Tinctures and decoctions can be obtained from the bark itself. Pour 100 to 120g of bark over a litre of at least 42% grade alcohol and leave to infuse at room temperature for 14 days. The resulting tincture is excellent for treating cold sores.
A decoction can be prepared from thin top layers of the bark; boil for 20-30 minutes using 1 litre of water per 100g of bark material.
Use is not recommended for pregnant and lactating women and persons before or after organ transplants.