The first time I saw this healing plant growing wild in the Amazon rainforests of South America, I had no idea it held such age-reversing power.
It’s a healing herb the native people of Peru call the “Sacred Herb of the Rainforest.”
But they also call it cat’s claw (Uncaria rhynchophylla). It gets its name from the large thorns that allow the vine to scale tall trees — sometimes reaching a height of 100 feet or more.
The Sacred Herb — also called cat’s claw — can heal wounds, control inflammation and reverse skin aging.
I was introduced to cat’s claw by the Ashaninka tribe. I traveled to Peru because I wanted to record and preserve as much of the Ashaninka’s local herbal healing knowledge and plant lore as I could before it’s lost forever.
The Ashaninkas have used cat’s claw for thousands of years. They use it to treat arthritis, asthma, cancer and ulcers. They’ve also used cat’s claw to control inflammation, heal wounds and alleviate pain.
And today, modern science has found that cat’s claw can treat diabetes, high blood pressure and fatigue — in addition to its powerful anti-inflammatory effects.
But there’s another amazing property this jungle plant possesses…
Once I returned to my clinic in South Florida, I got my hands on all the research about this sacred herb that I could find.
And I discovered that cat’s claw has potent anti-aging and skin-renewing powers. It can revive skin cells and reverse the signs of aging by promoting DNA repair.
DNA — which carries your genetic blueprint — is really fragile. And it’s under constant attack from free radicals. Every day, thousands upon thousands of your DNA strands are damaged by oxidation.
Cat’s claw extracts contain powerful antioxidants. But where most antioxidants can only block damage, studies show cat’s claw also promotes DNA repair.
It does this by protecting your telomeres against shortening. Telomeres are like tiny “countdown clocks” at the end of each DNA strand in every one of your cells. They control the aging process. Every time your cells divide, your telomeres get shorter. And this is what accelerates aging…
But cat’s claw has been proven to slow down this countdown clock and reverse skin aging.
Let me explain…
In one recent study I came across in my research, cells treated with cat’s claw extract lengthened telomeres and extended the lifespan of cells by 201%!1
Using human skin cells, scientists in New York showed cat’s claw can stimulate repair of DNA damaged by UV light.2 Doctors at Mount Sinai Medical Center had similar results.3
But here’s the really important news: Researchers in Sweden showed that cat’s claw extract helps defend against DNA damage — and promotes DNA repair — in people, too.4
The Swedish researchers used hydrogen peroxide to trigger free radical damage in their volunteers. Some took cat’s claw extract, while others got the placebo.
The volunteers taking cat’s claw suffered less DNA damage… and also showed a much higher level of DNA repair.
And in another study of 42 volunteers, half were asked to apply an SPF-15 sunscreen to one side of their face before going out to the beach. The other group applied the same sunscreen with the addition of a cat’s claw formula. The cat’s claw group saw dramatically less burning and blistering from the sun.
You can use cat’s claw the same way the indigenous people of Peru taught me…
On a trip to the Amazon rainforest, I found a cat’s claw vine winding its way up a tall tree.
Sip Cat’s Claw Tea to Reverse Skin Aging
- Place 2 cups of water in a pot and bring to a boil.
- Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground cat’s claw bark. Return to a boil.
- Squeeze in a few drops of fresh lemon juice. This will help release the tannins from the tea.
- Strain, pour in a cup and enjoy. I usually add a little organic honey to my tea.
You can also use the ground, dried powder of the bark. But a better way to get cat’s claw might be through a concentrated extract in a capsule.
Most of the ones you’ll find have around 500 mg in each capsule, which is a good amount to start with. Look for a supplement that’s made from the inner bark of the plant.
To help repair your skin and keep it looking young and healthy, you might want to try cat’s claw as part of a topical application. It’s pretty rare to find in this country, but I found a pure source. I’ll write to you more about that soon.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS
1. Na M., Kim Y., et al. “Cytoprotective effect on oxidative stress and inhibitory effect on cellular aging of Uncaria sinensis Havil.” J Ethnopharmacol. 2004 Dec.
2. Mammone T., et al. “A water soluble extract from Uncaria tomentosa (Cat’s Claw) is a potent enhancer of DNA repair in primary organ cultures of human skin.” Phytother Res. 2006 Mar.
3. Emanuel P., Scheinfeld N. “A review of DNA repair and possible DNA-repair adjuvants and selected natural anti-oxidants.” Dermatol Online J. 2007 Jul 13.
4. Sheng Y., et al. “DNA repair enhancement of aqueous extracts of Uncaria tomentosa in a human volunteer study.” Phytomedicine. 2001 Jul.