The Catclaw Acacia is a shrub or small tree four to twelve feet high, although it can occasionally reach greater height in ideal growing conditions. It is found in the deserts of the southwest, from about 2,000 to 5,00 feet in elevation. The "catclaws" are shaped just like their namesakes, and spaced irregularly on the branches. The flowers and leaves resemble that of Mesquite, but Mesquite pods do not split when mature, and their thorns are straight.
Useful as a tea for gastrointestinal inflammation caused by nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and even hang-overs, and has some sedative effect. It is an excellent topical astringent wash with antibacterial and hemostatic qualities.
Collect leaves, stems and flowers while green and dry them thoroughly, then crumble into powder for use as a tea or topical application to the skin. For tea, brew in a 1:32 ratio of powder to water. For topical application, prepare in a 1:20 ratio.
Because the overall effect of this herb is to provide a soothing protective coat on skin and mucous membranes, the incidence of undesirable side effects is minimal. Individual idiosyncratic reactions can occur, and use should be discontinued.
Be sure of the identity of the plant before you use it. If a preparation makes you sick or gives you a rash, don't use it, and throw it away! If your condition does not improve, see your doctor. Be sure to let your physician know EVERYTHING that you are taking!