Cat’s Claw for Immunity and Recovery - Medicinal Herbs Podcast Series

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Scientific Name: Schisandra chinensis

Constituents:

  • Dibenzocyclooctene Lignans: schisandrin, schisandrin A, schisandrin B, schisandrin C, γ-schisandrin (racemic form of schisandrin B), gomisin A & gomisin N
  • Polysaccharides
  • Flavonoids
  • Indole alkaloids
  • α-Cubebenoate
  • Phytosterols (beta-sitosterols & stigmasterol)
  • Volatile oils (sesquiterpenes)
  • Nutrients (Vitamins C & E)

Medicinal actions:

  • Adaptogen
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antioxidant
  • Astringent
  • Cardiac tonic
  • Hepatoprotective
  • Immunomodulator
  • Nervine Tonic (Neuroprotective)
  • Reproductive Tonic

Mechanism of Action & Pharmacology:

  • Lignans are hepatoprotective, and have phytoestrogenic and immunomodulating effects. Have shown an ability to alleviate the provocation of corticosterone in stressed mice and decrease oxidative damage while increasing anti-oxidative capability of hepatocytes.
  • Hepatoprotective properties may involve antioxidant activity within the liver (e.g. sustaining hepatic GSH, ascorbic acid and α-tocopherol levels and enhancing GSH redox status), facilitation of GSH regeneration via GRD catalyzed and NADPH-mediated reaction, inhibition of the activation of the hepatotoxin and the binding of the metabolites to liver microsomes.
  • Gomisin N has been shown to produce beneficial sedative and hypnotic effects, possibly mediated by the modification of the serotonergic and GABAergic system.
  • α-Cubebenoate (a novel anti-inflammatory compound) has shown an inhibition of the production of NO and PGE2 in vitro in peritoneal macrophages and immunomodulating effects.

Pharmacy:

  • Decoction
  • Tincture
  • Capsules
  • As food in jam, syrups etc.

Safety & Toxicity Concerns:

  • High doses may cause mild digestive disturbances (reduces appetite, heartburn, nausea, indigestion, headaches, skin rash).
  • Avoid in pregnancy (except to assist during labour)

Interactions:

  • May increase drug levels of immunosuppressives, midazolam and talinolol.
  • Theoretically may accelerate medication clearance from the body due to hepatic effects.

 

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