Uncaria: using faraway exotics.

Date: Thu, 4 Apr 1996 23:48:03 -0800
From: Howie Brounstein <howieb.TELEPORT.COM>
Subject: Re: Herbs that help with the common cold

>I have never heard of Cat's Claw. Is it available at the local health food store?

Cat's Claw, Uncaria, is a tropical rain forest herb, recently receiving mucho marketing and advertising. This herb will shortly become good for everything under the sun, and will shortly be available in every health food store. In some bizarre corner of my mind I wonder when folks will stop looking for the magic bullet one herb that cures everything. Still, Cat's Claw is the new Echinacea, the new kombucha, the new herb. And it is from the rain forest, we all want to save the rain forest, so lets buy it, it's politically correct despite the fact that it may not actually help the indigenous Amazonian economically.

Cat's Claw is a useful herb. Cat's Claw has many qualities as I'm sure some multilevel marketer will point out. There's web sites, and the phytopharm list just had a bibliography about this herb. You could even get Cat's Claw/Kombucha Tea at the Saturday Market last year. But let me ask you this:

If you have a simple bladder infection, don't you think it's a waste of global and personal resources to buy a plant from 13,000 miles away when an herb that might help you grows in your back yard, or within a hundred miles, and is much cheaper?

Perhaps we should be taking the dandelion root, or uva-ursi for the problem.

Perhaps we should look in our own forest pharmacy for the hidden treasures before we start using the most popular exotics. The exotics are fun to learn, fun to use, and occasionally are the only herb that will work for a given problem. But it should not be the first herb used for a problem.

Perhaps it's a bit of cynicism from me, but when a new herb hits the market good for everything, I cringe. Let's stop and look at what becomes of it first, before we run to it for everything. New is not better. More is not better. Things from the tropical rainforest are not necessarily better.