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cats claw flower

Cat's Claw: A curiously named herb with amazing potential


  • The discovery and use of cat's claw for medicinal use dates back centuries and is deeply rooted in the traditional knowledge and practices of indigenous peoples in the Amazon rainforest.
  • The shape of curved thorns that protrude from this woody vine tree look like the claws of a cat, giving birth to its’ name.
  • The plant was traditionally used to address a range of health issues, including inflammation, and mild rheumatic aches and pains.

Since the late 20th century, Cat’s Claw has gained popularity in the forms of capsules, tinctures and teas for relieving inflammation, symptoms of mild osteoarthritis and reducing free radicals in the body.

Cat’s Claw is indigenous to the country of Peru, and early stories record Peruvian priests using the bark and root of the tree for various medicinal uses in their tribes. Over centuries, spiritual significance was attributed to the herb, drawing the attention of early European explorers who ventured in to the Amazon region.

As the decades progressed, amazing stories of Cat’s Claw travelled to the west, inspiring Austrian born ethnobotanist Klaus Keplinger to travel to the region in 1972 to speak with the native tribes. Keplinger followed up his research with published articles on its purported healing benefits, raising Cat’s Claws’ profile and creating a demand for its bark in modern medicine.

The popularity of Cat’s Claw has grown in our modern era to embrace the healing properties of this unusually named herb. We can now benefit from Cat’s Claw in tablet form to address a wide range of ailments. With further study we now know that Cat’s Claw contains several alkaloid constituents called isoteropodine and rhynchophyiline which have an anti-inflammatory action on the body. Proanthocyandins have also been isolated from Cat’s Claw and are known as polyphenols. These are also found in blueberries, cranberries and other foods often with a dark purple to red colour.

Let’s look at some of the ways Cat’s Claw may help you:

Mild Osteoarthritis

Mild osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease characterised by the breakdown of cartilage in the joints, leading to pain, stiffness and reduced mobility. It commonly affects weight-bearing joints such as the knees, hips, and spine, and is often associated with aging, joint injury and obesity. Cat’s Claw has been traditionally used in South American medicine for its ability to reduce inflammation in the body, and also to relieve the symptoms associated with mild osteoarthritis.

Increased mobility leads to a greater quality of life and independence, especially for our elderly loved ones which are typically at risk of mild osteoarthritis.

Wound Healing

Wounds are injuries that disrupt the integrity of the skin or other tissues in the body. They can vary in severity and may result from a wide range of causes, including trauma, cuts, burns, surgery, or underlying health issues. Would healing is a complex biological process involving multiple stages and cellular responses aimed at repairing damaged tissues and restoring normal function.

The process of wound healing naturally elicits an inflammatory response to draw white blood cells to the site of injury. When wounds exhibit excessive inflammation, it can impede the normal healing process and potentially lead to complications. The traditional South American use of Cat’s Claw to relieve inflammation can support wound healing when required, allowing the immune system to carry out its role as healer.


We often hear about antioxidants and free radicals, but what do they do? Antioxidants protect the cells of our body from free radicals, which can enter the body in many ways. Both are necessary for the healthful balance of our body, but if free radicals get out of hand, they can cause damage to the cells, impeding their work. Factors such as aging, environmental exposures, poor diet, stress, and lifestyle habits can help to disrupt this balance.

Cat’s Claw is rich in antioxidants which help neutralise harmful free radicals and protect cells from their damaging effects. This antioxidant activity may support the body’s ability to support wound healing.

Supporting these minor health issues can have a major impact on our health and wellbeing. As such Cat’s Claw remains an intriguing botanical with a long history across the ages of amazing therapeutic potential.

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