Murad Firm and Tone Serum ($75 for 6.75 oz) tackles cellulite with cat's claw as the active ingredient. Since I wake up most morning's to a cat's claw tapping me on the nose (my cat, Esmee, is not subtle in her demands for food), I was intrigued. Here the cat's claw in question is a plant and it is one those super shrubs that has to live up to claims that it can cure almost anything, from arthritis to AIDS (and probably world poverty, too).

As a cellulite 'cure' it is gaining in popularity and turns up in spa treatments and other cellulite busting creams such as one by Clarins. Murad says it will reduce the appearance of cellulite by over 60%.

The posh name for cat's claw is uncaria tomentosa and it is indigenous to the Amazon rainforest. A lot more medical research is needed before cat's claw can be used with any confidence. According to Aetna InteliHealth, there are some animal and human studies that suggest it is an effective anti-inflammatory (claims that it helps against cancer and AIDS seem to be based on shakier evidence). A 2002 study published in Phytomedicine claims it is demonstrably useful as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.

As you might expect, there are no independent studies of uncaria tomentosa's impact on cellulite. There is a tenuous link to be made that inflammation encourages fluid retention leading to cellulite formation. Ergo an anti-inflammatory might help. I don't think I'm really convinced yet.