2. Cat’s Claw
Cat’s Claw grows in the Amazon, as well as other parts of Central and South America. It is a woody vine, with ends shaped like a cat’s claw — hence, its name origin.
In the past, indigenous tribes in Peru and the Amazon used this vine to treat inflammation, rheumatism, gastric ulcers, and tumors. Shamans are also known to use Cat’s Claw to treat spiritual illness. They believe it removes disturbances between the body and spirit that cause disease.
Today, you can find Cat’s Claw down your local pharmacy’s supplement aisle. The bark and root are used to make extract which is found in capsules, liquid, and tea forms. While it is frequently used as a dietary supplement to aid in many health conditions (such as viral infections, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, arthritis, gastritis, and more), recent research has also shown it to impact and possibly improve brain activity.
But, how does it work exactly?
Studies show that Cat’s Claw increases BDNF, the brain-derived neurotrophic factor, tames NMDA activity, and repairs damaged DNA. BDNF plays a critical role in the growth and maintenance of nerve cells. Individuals with lower levels of BDNF may experience major depression, OCD, schizophrenia, and dementia.
On the other hand, NMDA is part of learning and memory processing. Yet, higher amounts of NMDA are linked to learning and memory impairments. Thus, it’s critical to keep these levels stable. These combined factors create an environment in your hippocampus for optimal neurogenesis. In turn, learning, memory, and mood factors vastly improve. It might be worth a stop at your next pharmacy run to check out this natural herb.