AMAZON HERBAL UNA DE GATO AND ITS USES!
UNA DE GATO (cat’s claw) is a well-known herb for the immune system in South America and is rapidly gaining popularity in the US.
It is a vine that grows in the highland rainforests of Peru. Una de Gato (Uncaria tomentosa) may take more than two decades to mature. It is known to climb trees more than 100 feet tall. It also grows thorns resembling the claws of a cat (hence its name). The Peruvian government restricts harvesting of the root. Only the inner bark is harvested, leaving the root untouched to regenerate for many years to come. The inner bark is harvested and provides all the beneficial alkaloid.
The Ashaninka Indians from Peru regarded Una de Gato as a scared herbal panacea. They also have the longest recorded history in uses of the plant. It came to the attention of a scientist Klaus Keplinger in 1974.
The Amazon people have found Una de Gato can help stimulate the immune system as well as being an anti-inflammatory used to tonify the blood, fight infection, stop expansion of viral laden cells and lessen the risk of the development of cancer and other degenerative diseases. It is a strong anti-oxidant that supports the joints and muscles along with cardiovascular health.
In herbal medicine today, Una de Gato is employed around the world for many different conditions, including immune disorders, gastritis, ulcers, cancer, arthritis, rheumatism, rheumatic disorders, neuralgias, chronic inflammation of all kinds, and such viral diseases as herpes zoster (shingles).
There is a number of plant chemicals that account for much of the plant’s actions and uses. A group of oxidole alkaloids that has been documented with immune-stimulant and antileukemic properties. And the group called quinovic acid glycosides have documented anti-inflammatory and antiviral actions. Another group of compounds known as carboxyl alkyl esters found have been documented with immunostimulant, anti-inflammatory, anticancerous, and cell-repairing properties.
Used as an immune stimulant and an adjunctive therapy for cancer (to reduce side effects of chemotherapy and protect cells).
Used as a bowel cleanser and anti-inflammatory for Chrohn’s, colitis, diverticulitis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and other bowel problems.
Used as an anti-inflammatory for arthritis (all kinds) and muscle pains.
Used as a general tonic to tone, balance, and strengthen all body functions.
Used for stomach ulcers and ulcerative colitis and as an ulcer preventative stomach and bowel protector.
Not to be used before any organ or bone marrow transplant or skin graft.
Not to be used if wanting to get pregnant.
Not to be used with blood –thinning drugs.
Not to be used with antacids.
Not to be used in large doses.
Not to be used with immune stimulant drugs.
WORDS OF CAUTION:
Anyone who is not an herbalist or natural health practitioner should not use single herbs in large doses. This should only be guided in use by your Practitioner.
You will note Una de Gato is usually in my herbal bag for alpacas. We have rendered it to be the ultimate herb as a basis in many of our formulas in maintaining the health of our alpacas due to the fact this would be an herb they would chew on if they were sick. Animals tend to be smarter than we are and will look for what is needed by their own instincts.
Our alpacas never fight me on this one. When they do not feel well I will reach for a formula with this herb in it. As we kick up the immune system with Una de Gato as one of the herbs in a formula we will see results quickly and they feel it.
I will use this herb alone in adjunct to the formula if I have a serious problem that needs to be quickly defused. But again I would caution you on using it without guidance if you are not familiar with herbs.
A Story to Share!
One day one of our alpacas was found down in the field. When we got him up we noticed he could not walk on the back leg. I hauled him off to the Vet and with x-rays we found he had a broken pelvic from fighting. A choice was to let it heal or take him for surgery. I decided to bring him home and work on him. Look for the recipe under the Structural System Bones and Muscles in the Integrative Guidebook for animals.
One month after he was home he was doing great and all of sudden the kids called and said he was down again. I was away and returned home 3 days later. They had been given him his normally supplements and added pain meds. I immediately took him to the hospital.
They took x-rays and said no there was no break, blood work was excellent and they found very little parasites. Later that day they called and said he had meningeal worm, so they would do the 5 day protocol but didn’t feel he would make it. They called me each day and no improvement. On the fourth day they called and said he had been down to long and needed to be euthanized because there was nothing more they could do. By this time he had been down 8 days. I asked them to wait one more day.
That morning the Vet called and said he found him standing in the pen. They immediately put him in a belly band and began to walk and exercise his legs. This continued for 3 weeks. Yep, that was a whooper of a bill. But we still have him, he can still breed and he is beautiful in our eyes. He does have a slight limp.
Here is where I learned to really listen to my intuition as well as communicate with the animal.
He was given Una de Gato as an added supplement along with his animal formula for 1 year. It has now been two years. He still has his limb. Does fine with breeding and is in great health.
Board Certified Integrative Practitioner