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What on earth is cat's claw and why should I consider taking it?

The herbal supplement cat's claw may not sound very appealing but it is in fact very good for you. The scientific name for the herb is Uncaria tomentosa but it is also known as hawk's claw, pot hook, and sparrowhawk nail.

This plant gets its name from the small thorns at the base of its leaves, which resemble a cat's claw. These thorns enable the plant to attach itself to trees, and climb to great heights in search of sunlight.

The indigenous people of Peru have been using cat's claw for centuries. This natural remedy is believed to strengthen the immune system and eliminate toxins from the body, which in essence is the same thing. It stimulates the immune system of your body to attack any toxins, viruses or potentially damaging cells.

This is why cat's claw is particularly useful when you are trying to fight a cold or similar infection. However, cat's claw's benefits go way beyond the common cold. Research has shown that it can have a significant effect on cancerous cells or the toxins which can cause them.

The plant has also been used in combination with AZT drugs in the treatment of AIDS. However, this is some debate as to the success of such an approach.

And as if this wasn't enough, cat's claw has also been shown to relieve the symptoms of asthma and arthritis. It may be have an ugly name but cat claw is one of nature's little wonders.

Although cat's claw is thought to be safe for human consumption, there have been few scientific studies on the herb. Pregnant women, or those who are breastfeeding, are therefore advised not to use the herb. People who are prone to bleeding or those with immune disorders should also avoid the supplement.

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