Cat's Claw is a common vine plant in Swat area. It is also available in many different areas of the country. Mostly grows wild in the area. People grow it as ornamental plant in their houses and gardens. This vine is a good wall creeper. Its lush green leaves looks very beautiful with vibrant yellow flowers. Its botanical name is "Dolichandra unguis-cati ". The stems are woody and can reach 20 meters. Thin and small aerial roots are used for climbing. The leaves are dark green in color. The leaflets have a length of 3 to 4 cm. The plant produces flowers during the wet season. The flowers have a diameter of 4 to 5 cm and can grow alone or in groups of 2 or 3. The long primary roots extend beneath the soil surface, producing large tubers 40–50 centimetres long. The fruits are brown flattened capsules from 25 to 95 cm long. Each capsule contains 100 to 200 seeds like beans. This plant is named after cats claws, it has thorn like hooks or like cat's claw which provides it a strong hold to climb on vertical things like wall, trees etc.
Dolichandra unguis-cati or Cat's Claw vine has many medicinal values. This tropical woody vine, whose bark has been harvested for hundreds of years for medicinal purposes. Some consider cat’s claw (Dolichandra unguis-cati) to be a miracle cure that can help just about any illness or condition. Cat’s claw has been shown to contain powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anti-tumor, and anti-viral properties. It is an exceptional immune response stimulator due to its oxindole alkaloid compounds and can help the body to fight off viral and bacterial infections and protect against diseases. Cat’s claw is particularly beneficial for those who suffer from gastritis, ulcers, tumors, cancer, prostate problems, HIV, neuralgia, dermatitis, parasites, acne, digestive ailments, Lyme’s disease, diverticulitis, PMS, and autoimmune diseases such as Lupus, Gout, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Crohn’s disease. In addition, the glycosides, proanthocyanidins and beta sitosterol found in cat’s claw exert a beneficial effect on memory making it a excellent supplement for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive/memory disorders. Taking cat’s claw for 8 weeks has even shown improved DNA repair. Cat’s claw is also known to help lower blood pressure, increase circulation, and reduce cholesterol. Cat’s claw has been proven successful for eczema, liver diseases, and even for relieving knee pain. However, women who are trying to get pregnant should avoid cat’s claw as it has been traditionally used as a natural form of birth control in South America.
The use of every medicinal plant depends on a proper and suitable ratio. It is highly recommended to ask concern medicinal plant specialist or herbal doctors before using any herb, medicinal plant. They can guide how to use and in which quantity to use these plants for certain disease.
(sources: Wikipedia, Google & Medical Medium)