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The Functional Herb Which is Better Than Conventional Medicine in Alleviating Symptoms of Osteoarthritis

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By Kyle J. Norton, Master of Nutrition

Scientists may have found a natural herb, namely Cat’s claw in suppressing the onset of osteoarthritis without inducing any adverse effects, some studies suggested

Osteoarthritis is a group of diseases involved progressive degeneration of joints, including articular cartilage and subchondral bone.

According to statistic, osteoarthritis(OA) is one of the most common forms of arthritis disorder, affecting adults 60 years of age or older in the United States.

Approximately, over 25 million of US population who are adults 60 years of age or older are infected by symptomatic knee OA, including  10% of men and 13% of women.


However, according to University of Porto Medical School indicated that one must understand the differences in prevalence and incidence estimates of osteoarthritis (OA), according to case definition, in the knee, hip and hand joints.


Conventional medicine, today in the management of osteoarthritis (OA) focuses on pain relief and improved physical function through pharmacological, nonpharmacological, and surgical treatments without mentioning how to cure the disease.


 There is evidence suggested that the disease is associated with the inflammation, breakdown, and eventual loss of cartilage in the joints. But what causes the chronic inflammatory of osteoarthritis is debatable?


Some researchers suggested that the process of wear and repair, nutrient deficiency,……and overload and damage of cartilage due to aging or damage are the possible actually cause of osteoarthritis.


The severity symptoms of osteoarthritis, according to experts include pain in joints of the hand, knee and hip and spine. If you experience the above symptoms, you may already have osteoarthritis.

Cat’s claw found in in the tropical jungles of South and Central America, is a genus Uncaria, belonging to the family Rubiaceae.

The specific herbal medicine has been used in traditional medicine over two thousand years as a tonic, contraceptive, anti-inflammatory, and infectious agent, and to treat diarrhea, rheumatic disorders, acne, diabetes, cancer and diseases of the urinary tract, etc..

Chemical constituents
The chemical constituents of Cat’s claw include ajmalicine, akuammigine, campesterol, catechin, carboxyl alkyl esters, chlorogenic acid, cinchonain, corynantheine, corynoxeine, daucosterol, epicatechin, harman, hirsuteine, hirsutine, iso-pteropodine, etc.

In the study to understand the effect of Cat’s claw isolated active compounds against the pivotal molecular targets involved in inflammation and the joint destruction process and in summarized their ‘s claw toxicities and efficacy, researchers at the Case Western Reserve University, showed that application of herbal Cat’s claw exerts a positive effect in alleviation pain with no adverse effect(1).

Dr. Akhtar N, the lead author after taking account of other co and confounders said, ” (Although) Limited in vitro and in vivo evidence is available for cat’s claw and Indian olibanum,… There is strong clinical evidence of the effectiveness of devil’s claw in pain reduction” and ” No serious side effects have been reported for any….. herbs” (1).


According to the study of “Devil’s claw extract as an example of the effectiveness of herbal analgesics”, Doloteffin (extraction solvent water) a botany herbal preparation included extracted with 60% ethanol of Cat’s claw have a proven effectiveness similar to those of conventional painkiller or synthetic analgesics for treatment painful lower back or arthritic pain(2)..


Dr. Chrubasik S. at Institut für Rechtsmedizin der Universität Freiburg, said, ” From an evidence-based view, extract with at least 50 mg harpagoside in the daily dose should be recommended for the treatment of pain” and “Treatment with devil’s claw extract is associated with a lower risk of adverse events than treatment with synthetic analgesics, and may contribute in the majority of patients to the relief of pain”(2).

This effectiveness may coincide with the use of the herb in herbal medicine for thousands of year in treating disorders such as arthritis, gastritis, and osteoarthritis(3).

Truly, The mechanisms of cat’s claw in the treatment of osteoarthritis were attributed to the antioxidants and its inhibition of TNF-alpha.

Tumor necrosis factor α is a cell signaling protein (cytokine) involved systemic inflammation that protects our body against foreign organism infection in acute phase reaction.

Unfortunately, the study in reviews the database by the University of Southampton, raised the question of the methodological quality of the existing clinical trials and suggested that clinical evidence to date cannot provide a definitive answer to the two questions posed, although these trials may provide certain supports for the effectiveness of the herb(4).
* Does it work?
* And (2) is it safe?

Taking all together, Cat’s claw may have a profound and substantial effect similar to those of conventional medicine such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Aspirin, naproxen (Aleve), and ibuprofen in ameliorated osteoarthritis pain with little or no side effects(3).

However, intake of Cat’s claw supplement only is prescribed by herbalists as an overdose may cause acute liver toxicity.

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Author Biography
Kyle J. Norton (Scholar, Master of Nutrition, All right reserved)

Health article writer and researcher; Over 10.000 articles and research papers have been written and published online, including worldwide health, ezine articles, article base, health blogs, self-growth, best before it’s news, the karate GB daily, etc.,
Named TOP 50 MEDICAL ESSAYS FOR ARTISTS & AUTHORS TO READ by Named 50 of the best health Tweeters Canada – Huffington Post
Nominated for shorty award over last 4 years
Some articles have been used as references in medical research, such as international journal Pharma and Bioscience, ISSN 0975-6299.


(1) Current nutraceuticals in the management of osteoarthritis: a review by Akhtar N1, Haqqi TM. (PubMed)
(2) [Devil's claw extract as an example of the effectiveness of herbal analgesics].[Article in German]
by Chrubasik S.(PubMed)
(3) Cat’s claw: an Amazonian vine decreases inflammation in osteoarthritis by Hardin SR.(PubMed)
(4) Devil’s Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) as a treatment for osteoarthritis: a review of efficacy and safety by Brien S1, Lewith GT, McGregor G.(PubMed)
(5) Osteoarthritis by Kyle J. Norton

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    • jknbt

      the herb in Cats Claw pills is not real cats claw…The people who send this over substitute something else…

      use yucca root to ease osteoarthritis…get it at the mexican or caribbean market…chop up about 1/4 cup into quarter inch cubes…put in a blender with one cup orange juice, make a smoothie….the stuff tastes terrible,,,, you will need this much every day for several days to make a difference




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