Saventaro
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Samento aka Saventaro  is also know as Cat's Claw, Uña de Gato or Uncaria tomentosa (latin name). This is a special edition summary in response to activities on CFSFMExperimental.

There is no documented gain from using this supplement. There appears to be potential risk with interactions. CFIDS is an autoimmune disease and herbalists recommend it should not be used by people  with this type of disease.

In terms of marketing hype, it is described as

  • "is a very rare form of the Peruvian medicinal plant called Cat’s Claw," - rarity does not mean better for treatment.
  • "is over 100 times more effective than regular cat's claw" - no studies provided to support this claim.

In terms of web-lore, it is alleged to be better than antibiotics (and much more alternative-politically correct -- no published studies, including in alternative medicine, supports this). It is widely used in Mexico.

Active chemicals:

  • pentacyclic oxindole alkaloid (POA)
  • tetracyclic oxindole alkaloids (TOA)
  • quinovic acid glycosides
  • pyroquinovic acid glycosides
  • Sterols: "beta-sitosterol (60%), stigmasterol, and campesterol".

Medline Studies (as of 2004-06-27)

Most of the studies were focused on Cancer and Aids.

  • for "Saventaro" - one records found
  • for "Samento" - no records found
  • for "Una de Gato" - 14 records
    • A review in Alternative Medicine is available - possible conflict of interest as it was produced by Thorne Research, a supplement manufacturer, cites:
      • "There are no randomized controlled trials on human subjects utilizing uña de gato;"
      • "Uña de gato has broad therapeutic potential," - that is NOT DEMOSTRATED, hoped for.
      • "longterm use should be avoided in patients with autoimmune disorders"
      • "uña de gato have antihypertensive effects, it may potentiate the action of antihypertensive drugs and their concurrent use should be avoided."
        • WARNING: many CFIDers are on antihypertensive drugs.
    • "Recent studies have shown that the tetracyclic alkaloids exert antagonistic effects on the action of the pentacyclic alkaloids. Mixtures of these 2 types of drugs are therefore unsuitable for medicinal uses." -- translation: raw Cat's Claw should not be used (since it has both POA and TOA)
    • "is an effective anti-inflammatory agent"
  • for "Uncaria tomentosa" - 41 records found
    • "both species of cat's claw provide effective antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities, Uncaria guianensis is more potent... the presence of oxindole or pentacyclic alkaloids did not influence the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of cat's claw."
  • for "Cat's Claw" - 32 records found
     

Warnings:

  • "Use caution if you are taking lovastatin (Mevacor), ketoconazole (Nizoral), itraconazole (Sporanox), fexofenadine (Allegra), and triazolam (Halcion). "
  • "Some, but not all, herbalists recommend against using the herb in any condition which may be adversely affected by an overstimulating the immune system. These might include autoimmune disorders, such as lupus or multiple sclerosis."

Sources

  • "C-Med 100" appears to be the most predictable for content and cited in many studies.
  • "Two species of cat's claw are harvested for medicinal purposes, Uncaria guianensis, used mainly in Europe, and Uncaria tomentosa, commonly imported into the United States... In Germany and Austria, the standardized extract of cat's claw is available only by physician's prescription, and it is used almost solely to stimulate a patient's immune system. "
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