You may not have heard of this tea but it is one of the oldest and most appreciated herbal medicinal plants that also does well when ingested as a tea! Today we discuss the wonderful cat’s claw tea.
The cat’s claw plant is a plant with a long history from South America and was used for a long time as traditional medicine in many regions. The plant is of the Uncaria species and has been included in the traditional medicine of the many tribes for centuries. The Ashaninka, which is one of the largest indigenous tribes in Latin America, has the longest recorded history of the said herb. These people have been using it to treat asthma, arthritis, rheumatism, bone pain, and inflammations of the urinary tract. Women of this tribe have also been using it to recover from childbirth.
Characteristics of Cats Claw
Cat’s claw is also known as Uncaria tomentosa or uña de gato in Spanish and is indigenous to the Amazon Rainforest as a large woody vine with hook-like thorns which resemble the claws of a cat. It has interesting elliptic leaves that grow in pairs and can grow to a length of up to 30 meters. This medicinal plant is believed to have powerful antioxidant and inflammatory properties although there is still no scientific evidence from clinical trials (on people) to support its significance in improving health, it’s a plant and a tea cherished and used by tribes in many cultures to overcome health concerns. There are other plants which are also known as uña de gato in Mexico and other parts of Latin America, but they are entirely different plant species and aren’t actually the cat’s claw plant.
As a tea that’s usually used for medicinal purposes, the cat’s claw tea tastes quite strong and has a bitter and woody taste. Many people tend to prefer mixing it with more flavoursome tea such as rooibos, lemon or honey. As it’s known for being a dietary supplement, many experiments the tea in combination with other teas and additives to enhance its flavour and make it more palatable.
Modern Medicinal Value of Cats Claw
Cat’s claw is an anti-inflammatory plant that can strengthen the immune system and improve digestive health. The following are the other benefits one may get from consuming this herb:
It may help relieve arthritis
As previously mentioned, cat’s claw has anti-inflammatory properties which may ease the symptoms of osteoarthritis (a joint condition that causes painful and stiff joints) and rheumatoid arthritis (an autoimmune condition that causes warm, swollen, painful joints). However, as promising as it sounds, cat’s claw should not be used as a replacement for the prescribed medicine to treat arthritis. In this case, a physician’s opinion is still highly recommended.
It may benefit people with hypertension
Cat’s claw may be beneficial for people suffering from high blood pressure because it contains Rhynchophylline, an alkaloid found in certain Uncaria plant species which include Uncaria tomentosa. This compound may give relief to hypertensive people. It may also help with convulsions, lightheadedness, and numbness.
It enhances DNA repair
DNA, the extremely important molecule that contains the genetic code of all organisms, including yourself is what provides a blueprint for your proteins and your body to function. There are a number of ways that your DNA can be damaged and that includes cell damage. Cat’s claw tea, most interestingly, has shown potential for DNA repair enhancement.
It may help prevent cancer
Cat’s claw aka Uncaria tomentosa is rich in three major groups of powerful chemical compounds: alkaloids, terpenoids, and flavonoids. Alkaloids have antiproliferative and anticancer effects. Terpenoids are useful in the prevention and therapy of several diseases which include cancer. Flavanoids, on the other hand, can modulate signal transduction pathways within cancer cells. Thus, these compounds can inhibit cell proliferation, angiogenesis, and metastasis, while also promoting apoptosis.
Although this plant does all of the above in theory, there are not many studies that support this yet. However, drinking this tea should only be used as a supplement and even in traditional medicine, the indigenous tribes of the Americas believe that health is not just the absence of disease; it is harmony with one’s self, harmony with others, and harmony with the environment. So, be one with Mother Nature now and experience her goodness through a cup of cat’s claw tea.
At Tea Life, we have a huge range of ancient teas and herbs to offer, so check out our Cat’s Claw Tea if you’d like to experience an ancient tea with medicinal benefits today!