Sunday, January 08, 2006

Resistant Intestinal Disorders May Respond To Cat's Claw

At this time, these reports remain anecdotal and there is as yet little formal research evidence to back them up. However, the volume of anecdotal evidence surrounding Cat's claw has grabbed the attention of many practitioners. Some have witnessed the herb's ability to help patients suffering from Crohn's disease and other inflammatory bowel conditions.One naturopath recently published an article describing his use of cat's claw to treat approximately 150 patients from 1988 until 1992. He states: "I have seen Uncaria tomentosa treat severe intestinal disorders that no other available products can touch, including the strong and very useful undecylenic acid (an antifungal drug). The right type of preparation of bioactive cat's claw has a profound ability to eliminate deep-seated infection in the bowel and perhaps even the mesentery. I have nicknamed cat's claw “The Opener of the Way.” It breaks through metabolic log jams and then allows the practitioner to make further progress with other therapies."This particular naturopath further suggests that cat's claw has applications in the treatment of a wide range of gastrointestinal disorders including Crohn's disease, ulcers, diverticulitis, recurring ileocecal valve problems, haemorrhoids, intestinal flora imbalance (dysbiosis), parasites and candidiasis.One of the first patients treated with cat's claw was a woman suffering from Crohn's disease. In an interview, her practitioner explained the woman had been taking sulfasalazine (a sulfa drug with numerous deleterious side effects) for a long time with little to no alleviation of symptoms. After only three weeks of taking cat's claw in capsule form, her bleeding stopped, digestion improved, energy returned and she was able to quit taking the sulfa drug.The publisher of Cat's Claw News, a bimonthly newsletter, has received more than 25 written and spoken testimonials from Crohn's diseaes sufferers, who report that cat's claw has alleviated many of their symptoms. However, there are no published clinical or scientific studies conducted with any of the available cat's claw products on patients with Crohn's disease or inflammatory bowel conditions.Based on anecdotal evidence, perhaps it is time for the scientific community to take a serious look at this herb and start conducting the necessary studies. Only then will we have the empirical evidence needed to advise more doctors and alternative practitioners about the efficacy of using cat's claw to treat inflammatory bowel disorders and other debilitating conditions.

Cat's Claw Potential Treatment for Osteoarthritis of the Knee


A recent study by Peruvian researchers suggests that two species of the Amazonian medicinal plant Cat's Claw, appear to possess strong antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties that may be effective treatments for osteoarthritis of the knee. In a four week trial, scientists at the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Facultad de Medicina, in Lima, Peru, recruited 45 patients with osteoarthritis of the knee to collect safety and tolerance information, and to compare the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions of Cat’s Claw.
Thirty patients were separated into two treatment groups. The first group of 30 patients was administered two species of freeze-dried Cat’s Claw (Uncaria guianensis and Uncaria tomentosa) as treatment, while the remaining 15 patients of the second group received placebo. Patients were assessed for pain relief, symptoms of adverse effects, and evidence of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. These assessments were collected during weeks 1, 2, and 4 of the study period.
The researchers found that both medical and patient pain assessment scores were significantly reduced upon treatment, with patients showing improvements within the first week of therapy. However, knee pain at rest or at night, and knee circumference due to swelling, were not significantly reduced by Cat's Claw during this brief trial. In vitro tests indicated that each species of Cat’s Claw were equally effective at blocking free radicals, as well as inhibiting TNF-alpha production, a main cause of joint inflammation.
All tests suggested that Cat's Claw is a relatively safe treatment, and did not show any unexpected or obscure effects on blood or liver function, or other significant side effects compared to placebo.

Herbal Supplements Cats Claw

The Basics
Cat's claw is an herb native to tropical countries. The cat's claw plant is a climbing shrub (vine-like) with claw-like thorns on the stems. The inner bark and roots are used in medicinal preparations. The stems contain a watery bitter tasting liquid that is purported to fight fatigue, hunger, and thirst. Cat's claw is one the most popular herbs sold in America.
This herb is used to cleanse the intestinal tract, has antioxidant properties, enhances the action of white blood cells, and claims to act as an anti-inflammatory. Although more research is required, it is thought that cat's claw may stop the spread of certain cancer cells and viruses.
Cat's claw is available in the following forms: crude bark to make tea, liquid, and dried.
Guidelines and Cautions
Always purchase from a reputable manufacturer (look for standardization and quality control). Follow package directions for use.
Do not take cat's claw if 1) recently immunized, 2) taking intravenous hyperimmunoglobulin therapy, 3) peptide hormones, 4) blood plasma, 5) or bovine or porcine insulin. Speak to a medical professional prior to adding cat's claw to your diet.
This herb should not be taken during pregnancy or while nursing. Do not give to children.
Cat's claw has not been thoroughly researched. The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) lacks evidence to provide a clear base safety rating.
As with any vitamin, herb, or supplement - always consult a medical professional prior to incorporating these substances into your diet.


Cat's Claw (Uncaria tomentosa)

Cat's Claw is a tropical vine that grows in rainforest and jungle areas in South America and Asia. Some cultures refer to the plant as the "Sacred Herb of the Rain Forest". This vine gets its name from the small thorns at the base of the leaves, which looks like a cat's claw. These claws enable the vine to attach itself around trees climbing to a heights up to 100 feet.
The plant is considered a valuable medicinal resource and is protected in Peru. Although scientific research has just recently begun to explore cat's claw, many cultures native to the South American rain forest areas have used this herb for hundreds of years.
Current studies show it may have positive effects on, and can boost the body's immune system. With recent fear of HIV, studies on cat's claw have started to move quickly.
The active substances in Cat's Claw are alkaloids, tannins and several other phytochemicals. Some of the alkaloids have been proven to boost the immune system. The major alkaloid rhynchophylline has anti-hypertensive effects and may reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack by lowering blood pressure, increasing circulation, reducing heart rate and controlling cholesterol.
Other constituents contribute anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anticancer properties. Many treatments combine the herb with different plants and natural products to increase the absorption and bioavailability.
Cat's Claw has long been used as a homeopathic treatment for intestinal ailments. Uses include: Crohn's disease, gastric ulcers and tumors, parasites, colitis, gastritis, diverticulitis and leaky bowel syndrome. By stimulating the immune system, it can also improve response to viral and respiratory infections.
European clinical studies have used the extract from the bark in combination with AZT in the treatment of AIDS. It is also used in the treatment and prevention of arthritis and rheumatism, as well as diabetes, PMS, chronic fatigue syndrome, lupus, and prostrate conditions.
Part Used: Inner bark and root. Capsules, tea and extract.
Common Use: Extracts are used in treatments for a variety of conditions, mostly gastrointestinal. Immuno-stimulant properties help the body fight off infections and protect against degenerative diseases.

Possible Benefits of Using Cat's Claw Tea and Extract

Possible Benefits of Using Cat's Claw Tea and Extract; An Update on Traditional Use and Results Reported by Americans

By Phillip N. Steinberg, Certified Nutritional Consultant

After working with cat's claw for almost five years, I have continually been amazed at the glowing reports of how the herb seems to help alleviate the symptoms of many of the health problems that plague modern man, especially those related to environmental causes. Following is a summary of how the herb is typically used by native Peruvians, followed by results that have been reported by both health practitioners and individuals, who are using or have used this remarkable botanical here in the United States.
Typically, the indigenous people of Peru will boil 20-30 grams of inner stalk bark and/ or root in a liter of water for 30-60 minutes to prepare a tea. This amount will then be consumed throughout the day for several days to several months, depending on the seriousness of the illness. Traditionally, cat's claw tea has been used to treat the following diseases: tumors and other growths, ulcers, gastritis, arthritis, rheumatism, menstrual disorders, prostate problems, asthma, diabetes, viral infections, acne, general debility, gonorrhea and cirrhosis. There is also some evidence that women in certain Indian tribes will drink cat's claw tea to prevent pregnancy.
In addition to the above, health practitioners in America have reported successes using the herb to treat Crohn's disease, colitis, hemorrhoids, diverticulosis, other inflammatory bowel conditions and dysbiosis, fistulas, bursitis, gout and fibromyalgia, hay fever and other allergies, chemical toxin exposure and environmental sensitivities, chronic fatigue, circulatory problems, shingles and canker sores, candidiasis, parasites, multiple sclerosis, iritis, secondary infections in AIDS patients and to reduce the side affects of radiation and chemotherapy, when used in conjunction with these conventional therapies.
Individuals in the U.S. have also reported an elimination or reduction in symptoms associated with varicose veins, TMJ, general pain, stress and depression, backaches and sore muscles, hypoglycemia, warts, psoriasis, high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol, lupus, vision problems, tendinitis, uveitis, enlarged prostate, throat, sinus and ear infections, PMS and more. Cat's claw tea has been used as an eye rinse to clear up eye infections and powdered herb has been used between toes to clear up athletes foot.
Though 20-30 grams is what is traditionally used in Peru, Americans will find that brewing 10 grams per liter will be sufficient to alleviate many of the less serious health problems mentioned above and that for many, drinking 2-3 cups per day will be enough to obtain satisfactory results. When using a powdered extract, 1 to 3 (500mg capsules) 3 to 4 times daily (1500-6000 mg.) will often be sufficient to alleviate many of the health problems mentioned above.
In addition, some natural substances that may work synergistically with cat's claw include: MSM (methylsulfonylmethane), whole leaf aloe vera, Essiac Plus) and medicinal mushroom extracts such as; Coriolus Versicolor-VPS (PSK). Cat's claw also can be combined with other South American botanicals such as pau d' arco, suma, maca, jatoba, chanca piedra, muira puama and stevia.


By Phillip N. Steinberg, C.N.C.

By now most of you have heard of Cats Claw, a remarkable herb being imported from the Peruvian Amazon. After almost three years of working with and writing about this miracle from the rainforest, I have become increasingly convinced of it's tremendous healing power. It seems to have the ability to help people suffering from many different illnesses both acute and chronic, sometimes in just a matter of a few days. I have personally received testimonials from alternative practitioners, health stores and individuals from all across the United States and other countries, who claim that Cats Claw, also known as Uña de Gato or in Latin as Uncaria tomentosa Willd DC, has literally changed their patients, customers and personal lives.
Though most of these claims are anecdotal in nature, they never the less give us reason for optimism. Based on these reports, there is evidence that Cats Claw can help, at least in some cases, people suffering from tumors and growths, arthritis, bursitis, gout, fibromyalgia, asthma, hay fever, allergies, chemical and environmental sensitivities, multiple sclerosis, shingles, canker sores, chronic fatigue and depression, candidiasis, parasites, dysbiosis, Crohn's disease, ulcers, gastritis, hemorrhoids and inflammatory bowel, prostate problems, diabetes, hypoglycemia, PMS and menstrual irregularities, circulatory problems and various viral and bacterial infections, including secondary infections in AIDS patients. There have also been reports of Cats Claw's effectiveness in reducing the side effects of both radiation and chemotherapy when used in conjunction with conventional cancer adjunctive nutritional therapies. Will all this stand up to scientific scrutiny? I believe that in time it will; however, we will have to wait until the appropriate clinical trials have been completed. For now, at least, Cats Claw seems to be virtually non-toxic and safe to use up to as much as 20 grams per day for several weeks to several months at a time. This is the amount generally used by the indigenous people of Peru, who boil inner bark and/or root in a liter of water for 30 minutes, then consume this decoction throughout the day for a variety of illnesses.
Here in the U.S. individuals with minor illnesses have often responded with as little as 2-4 grams per day in capsule or tablet form. I personally have been taking 1 gram (1,000 mg.) three times per day almost every day for the past three years. I have found this amount to virtually eliminate the pain and discomfort in my lower back associated with an arthritic condition that developed as a result of two car accidents.
I have also witnessed Cats Claw's ability to clear-up sinus, ear and throat infections in 48 to 72 hours and I have used drops of tea in the eyes to clear-up conjunctivitis and powdered herb between toes to clear-up athletes foot.
So, what is it that makes Cats Claw such a powerful natural medicine? The answer lies in the herb's unique phytochemical make-up. In all, the herb contains five different groups of beneficial plant compounds. These include: alkaloids, polyphenols and proanthocyanidins, triterpines, glycosides, and phytosterols. Laboratory research in Austria, Germany, Hungary, Italy, England and Peru has demonstrated that these compounds possess immune augmenting, anti-microbial, anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, anti-ulcer, anti-oxidant and adaptogen properties.
Because Cats Claw has been referred to as an adaptogen and anti-oxidant herb, it is suitable to be used on a daily basis by those seeking to maintain maximum resistance to the stresses and strains of modern life. Is Cats Claw an herb for everyone? No, there is a small percentage of people who should not use the herb. These include: anyone taking anti-ulcer medications, transplant patients or those being injected with foreign proteins as a part of their normal therapy. Cats Claw can also cause uterine contractions and therefore, should not be taken by pregnant women or women seeking to conceive.
What about side affects? In a small number of people, Cats Claw will cause constipation or diarrhea and in rare occasions a slight fever or reoccurrence of former symptoms as it drives a deep seated pathology out of the body. These usually pass or normalize within two weeks. I have also heard of a few people who have broken out in a rash after taking Cats Claw. For these reasons, I always suggest starting out with a lower dose and then gradually increase the amount over a ten to thirty day period.
If side effects are going to occur, they will generally do so within the first week. It is important to keep in mind that these side effects are rare and that the vast majority do not experience any at all.
Today, there is a wide variety of Cats Claw products available in capsule, tablet, tea, liquid and powdered extract forms. Most products are made from the inner bark of the vine, however, I recently learned that a small amount of root & root bark is being harvested legally and ecologically in Peru and is now available in various products. Recent assays have determined that Cat's Claw root and root bark contain a significantly higher alkaloid content. There is also a highly specialized pharmaceutical extract developed from the root that is currently being used to treat cancer, AIDS and other diseases in Austria and Germany. The pharmaceutical has not been approved for sale in the U.S.; however, more products containing root and root bark will soon become available from health food stores, mail-order and network marketing companies.
Studies Beginning in the 1970's and Suggest Many Uses for Cat's Claw

A new botanical nutrient, Uncaria Tomentosa, is being called by many the "Miracle Herb from the Rain Forest of Peru". It has been drawing increasingly more interest among the proponents of natural health care. Although virtually unheard of in the United States until recently, the beneficial effects of the Peruvian herb Uncaria tomentosa, commonly known as "una de gato" in Spanish and "cat's claw" in English, have been studied at research facilities in Peru, Austria, Germany, England, Hungary and Italy, since the 1970's. These studies suggest that the herb may be beneficial in the treatment of arthritis, bursitis, allergies, diabetes, lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, cancer, herpes, organic depression, menstrual irregularities and disorders of the stomach and intestines. (References 1, 2, 3)

Properties attributed to cat's claw include:

This emergence of knowledge about the activity of cat's claw could not have come at a better time! Many people have become fearful that the war on cancer is being lost, that new potentially deadly viruses are evolving, and that more deadly "super-bacteria" are developing due to over use of prescription antibiotics. This is why increased attention is being placed upon "Nature's Pharmacy", the botanical or herbal nutrients that offer so much hope.

In referring to cat's claw, Newsweek reported that this "rain forest herb has been long used to treat asthma, ulcers, and cancer. ("Nature's Biggest Sellers", Newsweek, November 6, 1995, page 68) In an article in Newlife, this herb was described as having so many therapeutic uses that it far surpasses such well known botanicals as Echinacea, Golden Seal, Astragalus, Siberian Ginseng, as well as Reishi and Shaitake mushrooms. ("Cat's Claw - A Wonder Herb from the Peruvian Rain Forest", Newlife, February, 1995)

Dr. Brent Davis described cat's claw as "The Opener of the Way" in referring to its ability to detoxify the intestinal Tract and to treat a variety of stomach and bowel disorders. ( Cat's Claw News, May/June, 1995)

The anti-inflammatory qualities of cat's claw have been found to be useful in the treatment of arthritis. ( Journal of Natural Products, 54: Page 453, 1991; Arthritis News, 1: Summer, 1989)
The possible anti-cancer qualities of cat's claw were explored in a study on the mutagenic (ability to create mutations) activity in cigarette smokers' urine. Non-smokers did not show mutagenic activity in their urine, while cigarette smokers did. After taking this natural plant substance, smokers' urine showed a dramatic decrease of mutagenic activity. ("Mutagenic and Antimutagenic Activity of Uncaria", Journal of Ethnopharmacy, 38: page 63, 1993)
The Effects of Cat's Claw on Intestinal Permeability (Leaky Gut Syndrome)
After using cat's claw in working with approximately 150 patients between 1988 and 1992, Dr. Brent Davis reports that "Uncaria tomentosa has the ability to break through severe intestinal derangements that no other available products can touch." He refers to the herb as "the opener of the way" because of its remarkable ability to cleanse the entire intestinal tract and help patients suffering from many different stomach and bowel disorders including leaky bowel syndrome. irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease, diverticulitis, hemorrhoids. fistulas. gastritis, ulcers, parasites and intestinal flora imbalance. (References 1,2,3)

By cleansing the intestinal walls, cat's claw enables the body to better absorb nutrients, thus helping to correct nutritional imbalances created by digestive blockages. (Reference 2) Many doctors today believe that cat's claw may have a "profound ability to get rid of deep-seated infection lodged in the bowel and perhaps even the mesentery, which can derange the uterus and associated anatomic parts: the prostate, liver, spleen, kidneys, thymus and thyroid, for starters."(5) Davis calls cat's claw "a world class herb which has the power to arrest and reverse deep-seated pathology allowing a more rapid return to health...'' (References l, 2)
The Ashanika Indians of Peru have long regarded una de gato tea as a sacred beverage. It is used as a cleansing and tonic herb for the immune, intestinal and structural systems.
In traditional medicine of Peru, una de gato is categorized as a "warm plant" or, more accurately, for warm conditions (inflammations) including arthritis, gastritis, asthma and dermal and genito-urinary tract inflammations. It is also used to treat diabetes, cancer, tumors, viral infections, menstrual disorders convalescence and debility. A few tribes also use cat's claw as a remedy for dysentery, (Reference 6) and at least one tribe uses the herb to treat gonorrhea. (Reference 7)

Cat's Claw Can Reduce Pain and Inflammation in Arthritic Conditions

The anti-inflammatory effects of cat's claw have proven beneficial in the treatment of arthritis, rheumatism, bursitis and gout. As an antioxidant, it also helps protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Its beneficial effects in treating arthritis pain may also be due, in part, to its ability to cleanse the digestive tract and aid in removing toxins from the body. Arthritis, joint pain and inflammation as well as chronic fatigue, allergies, immune deficiency and a host of other conditions have been associated with defects in intestinal permeability (leaky bowel syndrome! and toxin overload. (References 9, 10)

Some of the glycosides present in the herb may also add protection from pain. This may explain, in part, how cat's claw has been helpful in reducing pain associated with chemotherapy, radiation treatment and AZT use. (Reference l1)

A wealth of beneficial phytochemicals have been found in cat's claw including quinovic acid glycosides, several oxindol alkaloids, proanthocyanidins, polyphenols, triterpines and the plant sterols beta-sitosterol, stigmasterol and campesterol. (References l, 3) Researchers believe that the activity of the whole plant extract is greater than the sum of its parts. (References 3, 5, 7)
Cat's Claw Alkaloids Stimulate General Immunity

Unique alkaloids in una de gato seem to enhance the immune system in a general way. These alkaloids have a pronounced effect on the ability of white blood cells to engulf and digest harmful micro-organisms and foreign matter. (Reference 3) Austrian researcher Klaus Keplinger has obtained two U.S. patents for isolating some of the herb's major components. According to these patents, six oxindol alkaloids have been isolated from cat's claw and four of these have been proven "suitable for the unspecified stimulation of the immunologic system". Laboratory testing has shown these alkaloids to have a pronounced enhancement effect on phagocytosis (the ability of the white blood cells and macrophages to attack, engulf and digest harmful micro-organisms, foreign matter and debris). The most immunologically active alkaloid appears to be isoteropodine or isomer A. (References 1, 2) Cat's claw has also been shown to increase the production of leukocytes and specifically T4 lymphocytes, thus blocking the advance of many viral illnesses. Quinovic acid glycosides in cat's claw back up the immune system and protect the body from viruses and virus caused cancers. (References l, 2)

Dr. Donna Schwontkowski, D.C., calls cat's claw the most powerful immune-enhancer of all the herbs native to the Peruvian Amazon. Preliminary studies suggest that the herb has the ability to stop viral infections in the early stages, help patients who are chemically sensitive, fight opportunistic infections in AIDS patients and de-crease the visible size of some skin tumors and cysts. (References 3, 8) According to Dr. Satya Ambrose, N. D., cats claw seems to enhance overall immunity while increasing stamina and energy in patients who suffer from physical and mental exhaustion due to an overactive or stressful lifestyle. (Reference 3)
Rynchophylline Inhibits Platelet Aggregation and Thrombosis
Rynchophylline, a fifth alkaloid found in Uncaria tomentosa, has been studied at the Shanghai College of Traditional Chinese Medicine. In laboratory testing, rynchophylline displays an ability to inhibit platelet aggregation and thrombosis. This suggests that cat's claw may be useful in preventing strokes and reducing the risk of heart attack by lowering blood pressure, increasing circulation, inhibiting formation of plaque on arterial walls and formation of blood clots in the brain, heart and arteries. (Reference 2)

It is important to understand that most of the clinical research, trials and reports completed to date which show the alkaloids to be antiviral, anti-inflammatory, immuno-stimulating, antimutagenic, antioxidant and have other benefits, are tests determining the alkaloid's active principals "in-vitro". This means they have been proven in the test tube - not "in-vivo", or in the human body. While these in-vitro tests are very promising, many more in-vivo tests will be needed to determine the true efficacy of this plant for specific diseases in humans.
Three trials that could be considered in-vivo, were in fact, human studies. Two were performed using "Krallendorn" which is a cat's claw extract produced by a German company called Immodal. One of these documents is termed a "therapy observation" and spans a ten year period with 78 patients suffering from brain tumors treated with Krallendorn. Another is a summary of a trial with 32 HIV-infected patients treated with Krallendorn from 1987 to 1991. The third in-vivo test was performed by an Italian group studying the plant's antimutagenic properties on smokers and non-smokers.

In-vivo tests and trials are currently underway at several institutions in several countries and some preliminary results look promising, but the final results are not in yet. Cat's claw has not been clinically proven to cure AIDS or cancer.

One of the best sources on cat's claw is the book, The Saga of the Cat's Claw, by Dr. Fernando Cabieses. Dr. Cabieses is a well known neurologist and neurosurgeon with residency in Lima, Peru. He is Professor Emeritus at the Universidad Mayor de San Marcos and Honorary Professor at the Universities of Trujillo, Piura, Cajamarca, Chiclayo, Cusco, Arequipa and Garcilaso de la Vega. He is also Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Miami, Florida, a member of the World Health Organization Committee for Traditional Medicine and is the Chairman of the Instituto Nacional de Medicina Tradicional of Peru, a branch of the Ministry of Health (The National Institute of Traditional Medicine of Peru). He has studied cat's claw extensively, as well as all available clinical research reports and trials. In his book, he gives a clear and easily understood translation of each of the clinical in-vitro studies and what they mean. We would like to share his views on cat's claw concerning AIDS in his book:
"Therefore, 'in-vitro', we already know that the alkaloids of our plant stimulate the immune mechanisms. This is excellent. It opens a promising avenue of research "in-vivo" in order to determine whether these substances are active in conditions where the immune system is depressed. None of us is unaware of AIDS, the horrible monster stalking humanity, and much hue and cry has been raised about Uncaria tomentosa's effects as a miracle cure for this cursed condition. But so far, no such cure exists. Most of the alleged successes are the works of quacks, adventurers and outright swindlers. Some of the noise comes from a few bona-fide but ignorant physicians or others influenced by cases which are certainly interesting but, unfortunately, poorly documented. The subject demands much more study, and to speak now of "cures" when the evaluation is still under way cruelly raises false hopes in desperate people. Several Peruvian groups, among them Professor Eduardo Gotuzzo and Doctor Rosario Rojas, are currently conducting topnotch studies which should soon give us more reliable information."
Dr. Cabieses' closing statements in The Saga of the Cat's Claw are the following:
"The proper design of research protocols for human application in neoplastic diseases and in severe problems of immune deficiency (AIDS) is not child's play, and the limits between the possible and the desirable are frequently cloudy and diffuse. A link between "in vitro" and "in vivo" is now being designed in Peruvian medical institutions of great prestige like the University Cayetano Heredia and Instituto Nacional de Enfermedades Neoplasicas, as well as under the direction of experts in alternative medicines like natural medicine (Father Edmundo Szeliga, Doctor Mirez, Doctor Lida Obregon) and homeopathy (Dr. F. P. Iaccarino). This leads me to believe that it won't be too long, dear reader, before you and I can sit down together again for a second edition of this monograph.

"Meanwhile, what should we do? What should you and I do with all the information invading our homes and our hospitals about "Una de Gato" in Peru? What do we do, dear aunt of my neighbor? What do we do, dear doctor, respected colleague? Do we resist the tide and abstain from using this interesting plant of our jungle? What do we tell our friend, the desperate father of the young fellow who has AIDS? Do we tell him to ignore this ray of hope? Do we, as doctors, tell our patient suffering from a malignant tumor not to seek refuge in "Una de Gato", at least to satisfy his desperate relatives? Or do we tell our patients and our friends to buy a ticket to this lottery and see what happens with "Una de Gato"? Do we love Uncaria or not? Do we accept it or prohibit it?

"Biology's dizzying advances have confronted us with hundreds of dilemmas like this one. When you face a true dilemma, you suddenly find that you have no answers. A dilemma is a question without answers. Or, to put it better, a dilemma is a question with two or more answers, whose every answer is at once attractive and defensible and capable of leading us to defeat and frustration. Modern biology has brought us to a vast field paved with dilemmas like this; disoriented, we now seek satisfaction for all our doubts and questions. Such satisfaction does not exist. A road there must be built and found in the labyrinth of biological dilemmas, and the way to do so is called Bio-ethics.

"The ethics of Biology: a science that still does not clearly exist. An elusive, slippery, unattainable moral law. A set of rules where it is always difficult to find what is good, what is proper, what is just. A time bomb hidden behind each scientific discovery.
"That is why I wrote this monograph. To shed some light on this difficult path. Here we have a "new" medication which is recommended and praised by many people who have used it. Here we have scientific evidence that it is not toxic. Laboratory tests carried out in serious academic institutions prove that the extracts of this plant have clear anti-inflammatory effects, that it has some action modulating the immune mechanisms, and that, in certain circumstances, it inhibits the crazed growth of cancerous cells. . . .

"So we still have not identified the active principal? We have not identified how it works? For two hundred years, quina bark saved more lives annually than those killed by the atomic bomb in 1945. And during all those years, nobody knew that there was an alkaloid which would later be named Quinine. For a hundred years, humankind used aspirin to stop pain and inflammation, though nobody knew until the discovery of prostaglandins why it worked.
"Of course, in this dangerous quagmire of official indecision, the indifference of the authorities and the absence of controls acts as an incentive to fraud, to the illegal substitution of products, to falsification, adulteration and deceit. These should lead us, physicians and conscientious citizens, to help our patients and friends help themselves against con artists and quacks and who promote spurious and adulterated products. All physicians who have patients taking this particular medicinal plant should try to document seriously and scientifically all those cases, positive or negative, in order to gather enough scientific information about the medical effects of Uncaria."

The following are quotes that have been extracted from the compilation of many documents from around the world. These are the opinions and claims of each individual author:
Excerpted from the book: Herbs of the Amazon - Traditional and Common Uses, by Dr. Donna Schwontkowski, Doctor of Chiropractic:
"Una de Gato is considered one of the most important botanicals in the rain forest. In Peru, Una de Gato tea is used as a medicinal herb with almost unlimited curative properties. This herb is a powerful cellular rejuvenator. It has been used for the treatment of gastritis (inflammation of the stomach), ulcers, cancer, arthritis, rheumatism, irregularities of the female cycle, and acne. It is also used to treat organic depression. External applications of Una de Gato include the treatment of wounds, fungus, fistulas and hemorrhoids. European research shows that Una de Gato activates the immune system by increasing lymphocytic (white blood cell) activity."
Excerpted from the book: Traditional Uses of Rainforest Botanicals by John Easterling:
"It is considered one of the most important botanicals in the Rainforest. By supporting and enhancing immune system function, Una de Gato is indicated in a broad spectrum of conditions including all types of infections. Urarina tribesman of Peru tell stories of Una de Gato curing tumors. Una de Gato was one of the plants researched by the National Institute for Health as an anti-cancer agent. Studies from various laboratories indicate it normalizes the immunoglobins by activating T-lymphocytes and macrophages."
Excerpted from the book: Powerful and Unusual Herbs from the Amazon and China, Published by the World Preservation Society:
"Una de Gato from the Peruvian rain forest is a favorite for stimulating the immune system. World wide research done on this powerful herb has led scientists to patent many of the single chemicals found in it for use in healing cancer, arthritis, AIDS, and other diseases. However, traditional wisdom shows that using the whole plant can be far more powerful than any one isolated ingredient."
Excerpted from The Herb Quarterly, Winter 1994, in an article titled "Cat's Claw (Una de Gato) A Wondrous Herb From the Amazon Rain Forest" by Phillip Steinberg:
"In July 1989, U.S. Patent No 4,844,901 was issued to an Austrian scientist named Klaus Keplinger, and a second patent, No. 4,940,725, was issued to him in July 1990. These patents explain how Dr. Keplinger isolated six oxindole alkaloids from the root of Uncaria tomentosa and that four of these alkaloids have been proven to be "suitable for the unspecified stimulation of the immunologic system". According to Keplinger's research, these four alkaloids have been shown to have a pronounced enhancement effect on phagocytosis (the ability of the white blood cells and macrophages to attack, engulf and digest harmful micro-organisms, foreign matter, and debris.) According to both patents, the most immunologically active alkaloid is isopteropodine or isomer A. Besides isomer A and the other three immuno-stimulating alkaloids, there exists another alkaloid known as rynchophylline. This alkaloid has been studied at the Shanghai College of Traditional Medicine. According to their findings, rynchophylline has demonstrated an ability to inhibit platelet aggregation and Thrombosis, which suggests that rynchophylline may be useful in preventing strokes and reducing the risk of heart attack by lowering blood pressure, increasing circulation, and inhibiting both the formation of plaque on the arterial walls and the formation of blood clots in the brain, heart, and arteries."