Cat's Claw - Uncaria tomentosa Cat's Claw Cat's Claw - Uncaria tomentosa

Database File for:

CAT'S CLAW
(Uncaria tomentosa)

Main databaseCommon nameBotanical nameEthnic usesAction/disorderImages
  
Cat's Claw - Uncaria tomentosa Cat's Claw Uncaria tomentosa Cat's Claw Uncaria tomentosa Cat's Claw Uncaria tomentosa PLANT
IMAGES

Cat's Claw - Uncaria tomentosa Cat's Claw Uncaria tomentosa Cat's Claw Uncaria tomentosa Cat's Claw Uncaria tomentosa
Photos




TECHNICAL DATA
Cat's Claw

  • Traditional Uses

  • Plant Chemicals

  • Tested Activities

  • References

  • TOA-POA Article

  • Free Tech Report





    WEB
    RESOURCES
    Cat's Claw

  • Medline Abstracts

  • PubMed FullText

  • U.S. Patents

  • Purdue Info

  • Ethnobotany DB

  • Phytochem DB

  • W³TROPICOS DB

  • GRIN DB

  • Articles



    WEBSITE LINKS

  • Home Page
  • About the Author
  • Plant Images
  • Rainforest Products
  • Rainforest Gallery
  • Rainforest Facts
  • Article Section
  • Rainforest Links
  • Search Site
  • Conditions of Use











    Free Service

    Español
    Português
    Deutsch
    Italiano
    Français
    Norsk



  • Family: Rubiaceae
    Genus: Uncaria
    Species: tomentosa
    Synonyms: Uncaria surinamensis, Nauclea aculeata, N. tomentosa, Ourouparia tomentosa
    Common Names: Cat's claw, uña de gato, paraguayo, garabato, garbato casha, samento, toroñ, tambor huasca, uña huasca, uña de gavilan, hawk's claw, saventaro
    Parts Used: Vine bark, root


    From The Healing Power of Rainforest Herbs:

    CAT'S CLAW
    HERBAL PROPERTIES AND ACTIONS
    Main Actions Other Actions Standard Dosage
  • stimulates immune system
  • relieves pain
  • Vine Bark
  • reduces inflammation
  • kills viruses
  • Decoction: 1 cup twice daily
  • protects cells
  • detoxifies
  • Capsules: 1-2 g 2-3
  • fights free radicals
  • cleanses blood
  •   times daily
  • cleanses bowel
  • increases urination
  • Fluid Extract: 2-4 ml
  • kills cancer cells
  • lowers blood pressure
  •   twice daily
  • kill leukemia cells
  • reduces cholesterol
  • Tincture: 2-4 ml
  • tones and balances
  • decreases depression
  •   twice daily
        Standardized Extract:
        follow the label instructions

    Cat's claw (U. tomentosa) is a large, woody vine that derives its name from hook-like thorns that grow along the vine and resemble the claws of a cat. Two closely related species of Uncaria are used almost interchangeably in the rainforests: U. tomentosa and U. guianensis. Both species can reach over 30 m high into the canopy. U. tomentosa has small, yellowish-white flowers, whereas U. guianensis has reddish-orange flowers and thorns that are more curved. Cat's claw is indigenous to the Amazon rainforest and other tropical areas of South and Central America, including Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Trinidad, Venezuela, Suriname, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Panama.

    There are other species of plants with a common name of cat's claw (or uña de gato) in Mexico and Latin America; however, they are entirely different plants, not belonging to the Uncaria genus, or even the Rubiaceae family. Several of the Mexican uña de gato varieties have toxic properties.

    TRIBAL AND HERBAL MEDICINE USES

    Both South American Uncaria species are used by the indigenous peoples of the Amazon rainforest in very similar ways and have long histories of use. Cat's claw (U. tomentosa) has been used medicinally by the Aguaruna, Asháninka, Cashibo, Conibo, and Shipibo tribes of Peru for at least 2,000 years. The Asháninka Indian tribe in central Peru has the longest recorded history of use of the plant. They are also the largest commercial source of cat's claw from Peru today. The Asháninka use cat's claw to treat asthma, inflammations of the urinary tract, arthritis, rheumatism, and bone pain; to recover from childbirth; as a kidney cleanser; to cure deep wounds; to control inflammation and gastric ulcers; and for cancer. Indigenous tribes in Piura use cat's claw to treat tumors, inflammations, rheumatism, and gastric ulcers. Other Peruvian indigenous tribes use cat's claw to treat diabetes, urinary tract cancer in women, hemorrhages, menstrual irregularity, cirrhosis, fevers, abscesses, gastritis, rheumatism, tumors, and inflammations as well as for internal cleansing and to "normalize the body." Reportedly, cat's claw has also been used as a contraceptive by several different tribes of Peru (but only in very large dosages). Dr. Fernando Cabieses, M.D., a noted authority on Peruvian medicinal plants, explains that the Asháninka boil 5 to 6 kg (about 12 pounds) of the root in water until it is reduced to little more than 1 cup. This decoction is then taken 1 cup daily during the period of menstruation for three consecutive months; this supposedly causes sterility for three to four years.

    Cat's claw has been used in Peru and Europe since the early 1990s as an adjunctive treatment for cancer and AIDS as well as for other diseases that target the immune system. In herbal medicine today, cat's claw is employed around the world for many different conditions, including immune disorders, gastritis, ulcers, cancer, arthritis, rheumatism, rheumatic disorders, neuralgias, chronic inflammation of all kinds, and such viral diseases as herpes zoster (shingles). Dr. Brent Davis, D.C. has written several articles on cat's claw and refers to it as the "opener of the way" for its ability to cleanse the entire intestinal tract and its effectiveness in treating stomach and bowel disorders (such as Crohn's disease, leaky bowel syndrome, ulcers, gastritis, diverticulitis, and other inflammatory conditions of the bowel, stomach, and intestines). Dr. Julian Whitaker, M.D. reports using cat's claw for its immune-stimulating effects, for cancer, to help prevent strokes and heart attacks, to reduce blood clots, and for diverticulitis and irritable bowel syndrome.

    PLANT CHEMICALS

    Cat's claw has several groups of plant chemicals that account for much of the plant's actions and uses. First and most studied is a group of oxidole alkaloids that has been documented with immune-stimulant and antileukemic properties. Another group of chemicals called quinovic acid glycosides have documented anti-inflammatory and antiviral actions. Antioxidant chemicals (tannins, catechins and procyanidins) as well as plant sterols (beta-sitosterol, stigmasterol, and campesterol) account for the plant's anti-inflammatory properties. A class of compounds known as carboxyl alkyl esters found in cat's claw has been documented with immunostimulant, anti-inflammatory, anticancerous, and cell-repairing properties.

    Cat's claw contains ajmalicine, akuammigine, campesterol, catechin, carboxyl alkyl esters, chlorogenic acid, cinchonain, corynantheine, corynoxeine, daucosterol, epicatechin, harman, hirsuteine, hirsutine, iso-pteropodine, loganic acid, lyaloside, mitraphylline, oleanolic acid, palmitoleic acid, procyanidins, pteropodine, quinovic acid glycosides, rhynchophylline, rutin, sitosterols, speciophylline, stigmasterol, strictosidines, uncarine A thru F, and vaccenic acid.

    BIOLOGICAL ACTIVITIES AND CLINICAL RESEARCH

    With so many documented traditional uses of this important rainforest plant, it is not surprising that it came to the attention of Western researchers and scientists. Studies began in the early 1970s when Klaus Keplinger, a journalist and self-taught ethnologist from Innsbruck, Austria, organized the first definitive work on cat's claw. Keplinger's work in the 1970s and 1980s led to several extracts of cat's claw being sold in Austria and Germany as herbal drugs, as well as the filing of four U.S. patents describing extraction procedures for the immune-stimulating oxindole alkaloids. These novel oxindole alkaloids fueled worldwide interest in the medicinal properties of this valuable vine of the rainforest. Other independent researchers in Spain, France, Japan, Germany, and Peru followed Keplinger, many of them confirming his research on the immunostimulating alkaloids in the vine and root. Many of these studies published from the late 1970s to early 1990s indicated that the whole oxindole alkaloid fraction, whole vine bark and/or root bark extracts, or six individually-tested oxindole alkaloids, when used in relatively small amounts, increased immune function by up to 50%. These study results were substantiated by Canadian researchers at the University of Ottawa (1999) and by Peruvian researchers (1998), both working with whole vine extract.

    Proprietary extracts of cat's claw have been manufactured since 1999, and clinical studies, funded by the manufacturers of these extracts, have been published showing that these cat's claw products continue to provide the same immune-stimulating benefits as has been documented for almost 20 years.

    But then facts concerning cat's claw's benefits became confusing, as often happens with market-driven research. A manufacturer of a cat's claw extract funded a test tube study about these immune-stimulating alkaloids. The research indicated that, supposedly, two different types (chemotypes) of cat's claw vines are growing in the rainforest, and/or that cat's claw produces "good alkaloids" and "bad alkaloids." It has coined the "good ones" pentacyclic (POA) alkaloids and the "bad ones" tetracyclic (TOA) alkaloids; both are oxindole alkaloids. The research and marketing attempts to suggest that one set of "bad alkaloids" counteracts the immune benefits of the "good alkaloids."

    This research has not been confirmed by independent researchers - that is, those who are not selling cat's claw or being paid by companies selling cat's claw. This research has also not been confirmed in humans or animals. This market-driven research would seek to discount or disprove all the definitive, independent research done over the last three decades in Japan, Peru, Germany, Spain, and the United States (including the four U.S. patents filed by these same researchers). Much of the previous independent research was performed on whole oxindole extracts and whole root or vine extracts (some in humans and animals). This research documented the presence of both types of alkaloids, both of which showed immune stimulant actions. Indeed, some of the "new research" refuted the marketer's original (and independently confirmed) findings! As for the possibility of a "new chemotype": a plant doesn't change its chemical constituency in five years. Again, two species of cat's claw exist - U. tomentosa and U. guianensis; they have a similar chemical makeup but a different ratio of oxindole alkaloids. Admittedly U. tomentosa has declined in the Peruvian rainforest because of overharvesting in the last five to eight years. The lower growing and easier-to-find U. guianensis variety is a common "adulterant" in many large lots of cat's claw bulk material being exported out of South America today.

    In addition to its immunostimulating activity, in vitro anticancerous properties have been documented for these alkaloids and other constituents in cat's claw. Five of the oxindole alkaloids have been clinically documented with in vitro antileukemic properties, and various root and bark extracts have demonstrated antitumorous and anticancerous properties. Italian researchers reported in a 2001 in vitro study that cat's claw directly inhibited the growth of a human breast cancer cell line by 90%, while another research group reported that it inhibited the binding of estrogens in human breast cancer cells in vitro. Swedish researchers documented it inhibited the growth of lymphoma and leukemia cells in vitro in 1998. Early reports on Keplinger's observatory trials with cancer patients taking cat's claw in conjunction with such traditional cancer therapies as chemotherapy and radiation reported fewer side effects to the traditional therapies (such as hair loss, weight loss, nausea, secondary infections, and skin problems). Subsequent researchers have shown how these effects might be possible: they have reported that cat's claw can aid in DNA cellular repair and prevent cells from mutating; it also can help prevent the loss of white blood cells and immune cell damage caused by many chemotherapy drugs (a common side effect called leukopenia).

    Another significant area of study has focused on cat's claw's anti-inflammatory properties. While plant sterols and antioxidant chemicals found in cat's claw account for some of these properties, new and novel plant chemicals called quinovic acid glycosides were documented to be the most potent anti-inflammatory constituents of the plant. This study and subsequent ones indicated that cat's claw (and, especially, its glycosides) could inhibit inflammation from 46% up to 89% in various in vivo and in vitro tests. The results of these studies validated its long history of indigenous use for arthritis and rheumatism, as well as for other types of inflammatory stomach and bowel disorders. It was also clinically shown to be effective against stomach ulcers in an in vivo rat study.

    Research in Argentina reports that cat's claw is an effective antioxidant; other researchers in 2000 concluded that it is an antioxidant as well as a remarkably potent inhibitor of tumor necrosis factor (TNF) alpha production. TNF represents a model for tumor growth driven by an inflammatory cytokine chemical. Other researchers in the United States reported in 2002 that the anti-inflammatory actions of cat's claw are not attributable to immunostimulating alkaloids but rather to another group of chemicals called carboxyl alkyl esters. This would explain why a product comprised of mostly alkaloids showed only modest benefit to arthritis patients in a study by another group that was incidentally selling a special alkaloid preparation of cat's claw. The same group of anti-inflammatory glycoside chemicals also demonstrated in vitro antiviral properties in another earlier study.

    In addition to the immunostimulant alkaloids, cat's claw contains the alkaloids rhynchophylline, hirsutine, and mitraphylline, which have demonstrated hypotensive and vasodilating properties. Rhynchophylline has shown to prevent blood clots in blood vessels, dilate peripheral blood vessels, lower the heart rate, and lower blood levels of cholesterol. Some of the newer research indicates that cat's claw might be helpful to people with Alzheimer's disease; this could be attributable to the antioxidant effects already confirmed or, possibly, to the dilation of peripheral blood vessels in the brain by alkaloids such as rhynchophylline.

    Another research group recently reported that cat's claw's immune-stimulating alkaloids pteropodine and isopteropodine might have other properties and applications. They reported that these two chemicals have shown to have a positive modulating effect on brain neurotransmitters called 5-HT(2) receptors. These receptor sites are targets for drugs used in treating a variety of conditions, including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, chronic pain conditions, and obesity.


    CURRENT PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS

    Cat's claw has grown quite popular in the natural products industry and is mostly taken today to boost immune function, as an all over tonic and preventative to stay healthy, for arthritis and inflammation, for bowel and colon problems, and as an complementary therapy for cancer. The most common forms used today are cat's claw capsules and tablets, both of which have become widely available in most health food stores at reasonable prices. There are also newer (and more expensive) proprietary extracts of cat's claw in tablets and capsules, some backed by research-albeit paid-for research.

    A good-quality, natural cat's claw vine bark with naturally occurring chemicals is the best value, money wise. It contains all the natural chemicals that nature provides in the proper ratio (including immune-stimulating alkaloids, anti-inflammatory glycosides, and antioxidant chemicals), without chemical intervention. Some invasive extraction and manufacturing techniques may only extract one particular type of chemical, or change the complex ratio of naturally occurring chemicals in the plant-which ignores the efficiency and synergy of the plant. Scientists do not fully know how all these complex chemicals work together in harmony. In fact, scientists are still discovering new and novel active chemicals in this plant, even after 20 some-odd years of research on cat's claw. As the market demand has increased for this rainforest plant over the last five years, more companies have gone into the business of harvesting it, and the quality of the bulk materials coming in from South America can be sometimes questionable. Oftentimes, a combination of U. tomentosa and U. guianensis is harvested and sold as "cat's claw" (as, presently, the guianensis species is found more easily). Pick a good quality and trusted label and manufacturer for the best results and the best value.


    CAT'S CLAW PLANT SUMMARY
    Main Preparation Method:
    decoction, fluid extract, or capsules

    Main Actions (in order):
    immune stimulant, anti-inflammatory, antimutagenic (cellular protector), anticancerous, antiulcerous

    Main Uses:

    1. as an immune stimulant and an adjunctive therapy for cancer (to reduce side effects of chemotherapy and protect cells)
    2. as a bowel cleanser and anti-inflammatory for Crohn's, colitis, diverticulitis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and other bowel problems
    3. as an anti-inflammatory for arthritis (all kinds) and muscle pains/strains/injuries
    4. as a general daily tonic (to tone, balance, and strengthen all body functions)
    5. for stomach ulcers and ulcerative colitis and as an ulcer preventative/ stomach and bowel protector)
    Properties/Actions Documented by Research:
    anti-inflammatory, antiulcerous, anticancerous, antidepressant, antileukemic, antimutagenic (cellular protector), antioxidant, antitumorous, antiviral, contraceptive, immune stimulant

    Other Properties/Actions Documented by Traditional Use:
    analgesic (pain-reliever), anticoagulant (blood thinner), antidysenteric, blood cleanser, detoxifier, diuretic, gastrotonic (tones, balances, strengthens the gastric system), hypocholesterolemic (lowers cholesterol), tonic (tones, balances, strengthens overall body functions), wound healer

    Cautions: Do not use before or after an organ or bone marrow transplant since it boosts immune function. May also have a mild blood thinning effect.



    Traditional Preparation: For general immune and prevention benefits, practitioners usually recommend 1 g daily of vine powder in tablets or capsules. Therapeutic dosages of cat's claw are reported to be as high as 20 g daily and average 2-3 grams two or three times daily. Generally, as a natural aid for arthritis and bowel and digestive problems 3-5 g daily is recommended, if a good product is obtained. Alternatively, a standard vine bark decoction can be used much the same way indigenous people of the Amazon use it. The dosage for a standard decoction for general health and maintenance is 1/2-1 cup of a decoction once daily and up to 1 cup three times daily in times of special needs. Adding lemon juice or vinegar to the decoction when boiling will help extract more alkaloids and fewer tannins from the bark. Use about 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar per cup of water. For standardized and/or proprietary extract products, follow the label instructions.


    Contraindications:

    • Cat's claw has been clinically documented with immunostimulant effects and is contraindicated before or following any organ or bone marrow transplant or skin graft.
    • Cat's claw has been documented with antifertility properties and is contraindicated in persons seeking to get pregnant. However, this effect has not been proven to be sufficient for the product to be used as a contraceptive, and it should not be relied on for such.
    • Cat's claw has chemicals that can reduce platelet aggregation and thin the blood. Check with your doctor first if you are taking coumadin or other blood-thinning drugs and discontinue use one week to ten days prior to any major surgical procedure.
    • Cat's claw vine bark requires sufficient stomach acid to help break down the tannins and alkaloids during digestion and to aid in absorption. Avoid taking bark capsules or tablets at the same time as antacids. Avoid taking high tannin (dark-colored) liquid extracts and tinctures directly by mouth and dilute first in water or acidic juice (such as orange juice).
    • Large dosages of cat's claw (3-4 gram dosages at a time) have been reported to cause some abdominal pain or gastrointestinal problems, including diarrhea (due to the tannin content of the vine bark) in some people. The diarrhea or loose stools tend to be mild and go away with continued use. Discontinue use or reduce dosage if diarrhea persists longer than three or four days.

    Drug Interactions:

    • Due to its immunostimulant effects, cat's claw should not be used with medications intended to suppress the immune system, such as cyclosporin or other medications prescribed following an organ transplant. (This theory has not been proven scientifically.)
    • Based upon in vivo rat studies, cat's claw may protect against gastrointestinal damage associated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen.
    • Cat's claw may potentiate coumadin and blood-thinning drugs.




    WORLDWIDE ETHNOMEDICAL USES
    Colombia for dysentery, gonorrhea
    French Guiana for dysentery
    Peru for abscesses, AIDS, arthritis, asthma, blood cleansing, bone pains, cancer, cirrhosis, diabetes, diarrhea, disease prevention, dysentery, fevers, gastric ulcers, gastritis, gonorrhea, hemorrhages, herpes, immune disorders, inflammations, intestinal affections, menstrual irregularity, kidney cleansing, prostatitis, rheumatism, shingles, skin disorders, stomach disorders, ulcers problems, urinary tract disorders, tumors, wounds
    Suriname for dysentery, intestinal disorders, wounds




    The above text has been printed from The Healing Power of Rainforest Herbs by Leslie Taylor, copyrighted © 2004
    All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage or retrieval system, including websites, without written permission.

    † The statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information contained in this plant database file is intended for education, entertainment and information purposes only. This information is not intended to be used to diagnose, prescribe or replace proper medical care. The plant described herein is not intended to treat, cure, diagnose, mitigate or prevent any disease. Please refer to our Conditions of Use for using this plant database file and web site.




    Third-Party Published Research

    All available third-party research on cat's claw can be found at PubMed. A partial listing of the published research on cat's claw is shown below:


    Immunostimulant & Immunomodulatory Actions:
    Domingues, A., et al. "Prevention of experimental diabetes by Uncaria tomentosa extract: Th2 polarization, regulatory T cell preservation or both?" J Ethnopharmacol. 2011 Sep 1;137(1):635-42.
    Domingues, A., et al. "Uncaria tomentosa aqueous-ethanol extract triggers an immunomodulation toward a Th2 cytokine profile." Phytother Res. 2011 Aug;25(8):1229-35
    Erowele, G., et al. "Pharmacology and therapeutic uses of cat's claw." Am. J. Health Syst. Pharm. 2009 Jun 1; 66(11): 992-5.
    Reis, S., et al. "Immunomodulating and antiviral activities of Uncaria tomentosa on human monocytes infected with Dengue Virus-2." Int. Immunopharmacol. 2008; 8(3): 468-76.
    Holderness, J., et al. "Select plant tannins induce IL-2Ralpha up-regulation and augment cell division in gammadelta T cells." J. Immunol. 2007 Nov; 179(10): 6468-78.
    Groom, S., et al. "The potency of immunomodulatory herbs may be primarily dependent upon macrophage activation." J. Med. Food. 2007 Mar; 10(1): 73-9.
    Spelman, K., et al. "Modulation of cytokine expression by traditional medicines: a review of herbal immunomodulators." Altern. Med. Rev. 2006 Jun; 11(2): 128-50.
    Eberlin, S., et al. “Uncaria tomentosa extract increases the number of myeloid progenitor cells in the bone marrow of mice infected with Listeria monocytogenes.” Int. Immunopharmacol. 2005; 5(7-8):1235-46.
    Deharo, E., et al. ”In vitro immunomodulatory activity of plants used by the Tacana ethnic group in Bolivia.” Phytomedicine. 2004 Sep; 11(6): 516-22.
    Lamm, S., et al, “Persistent response to pneumococcal vaccine in individuals supplemented with a novel water soluble extract of Uncaria tomentosa, C-Med-100." Phytomedicine. 2001; 8(4): 267–74.
    Sheng Y, et al., “Treatment of chemotherapy-induced leukopenia in a rat model with aqueous extract from Uncaria tomentosa.” Phytomedicine. 2000; 7(2): 137–43.
    Lemaire, I., et al. “Stimulation of interleukin-1 and -6 production in alveolar macrophages by the neotropical liana, Uncaria tomentosa (una de gato).” J. Ethnopharmacol. 1999; 64(2): 109–15.
    Marina, M. D. “Evaluacion de la actividal immunoestimulante de Uncaria tomentosa (Willd.) DC. Una de gato en ratones albinos." Biodiversidad Salud. 1998; 1(1): 16–19.
    Keplinger, H., et al. “Oxindole alkaloids having properties stimulating the immunologic system and preparation containing same.” United States patent 5,302,611; April 12, 1994
    Wagner, H., et al. “Die Alkaloide von Uncaria tomentosa und ihre Phagozytose-steigernde Wirkung." Planta Med. 1985; 51: 419–23.
    Hemingway, S. R. and J. D. Phillipson. “Alkaloids from South American species of Uncaria (Rubiaceae)." J. Pharm. Pharmacol. 1974 suppl.; 26: 113p.

    Anti-inflammatory Actions:
    Akhtar, N., et al. "Current nutraceuticals in the management of osteoarthritis: a review." Ther Adv Musculoskelet Dis. 2012 Jun;4(3):181-207.
    Rojas-Duran, R., et al. "Anti-inflammatory activity of Mitraphylline isolated from Uncaria tomentosa bark." J Ethnopharmacol. 2012 Oct 11;143(3):801-4.
    Allen-Hall, L., et al. "Uncaria tomentosa acts as a potent TNF-alpha inhibitor through NF-kappaB." J. Ethnopharmacol. 2010 Feb 17;127(3):685-93.
    Zeng, K., et al. "Synthesis and biological evaluation of quinic acid derivatives as anti-inflammatory agents." Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett. 2009 Sep 15; 19(18): 5458-60.
    Erowele, G., et al. "Pharmacology and therapeutic uses of cat's claw." Am. J. Health Syst. Pharm. 2009 Jun 1; 66(11): 992-5.
    Amaral, S., et al. "Plant extracts with anti-inflammatory properties--a new approach for characterization of their bioactive compounds and establishment of structure-antioxidant activity relationships." Bioorg. Med. Chem. 2009 Mar; 17(5): 1876-83.
    Yuan, D., et al. "Anti-inflammatory effects of rhynchophylline and isorhynchophylline in mouse N9 microglial cells and the molecular mechanism." Int. Immunopharmacol. 2009 Dec; 9(13-14):1549-54.
    Pero, R. "Method of preparation and composition of a water soluble extract of the bioactive component of the plant species Uncaria for enhancing immune, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor and DNA repair processes of warm blooded animals." United States Patent No. 7,595,064. September 29, 2009
    Hardin, S. R. "Cat's claw: An Amazonian vine decreases inflammation in osteoarthritis." Complement. Ther. Clin. Pract. 2007 Feb; 13(1): 25-8.
    Allen-Hall, L., et al. "Treatment of THP-1 cells with Uncaria tomentosa extracts differentially regulates the expression if IL-1beta and TNF-alpha." J. Ethnopharmacol. 2007 Jan; 109(2): 312-7.
    Badilla, B., et al. "Edema induced by Bothrops asper (Squamata: Viperidae) snake venom and its inhibition by Costa Rican plant extracts." Rev. Biol. Trop. 2006 Jun; 54(2):245-52.
    Miller, M. J., et al. "The chrondoprotective actions of a natural product are associated with the activation of IGF-1 production by human chondrocytes despite the presence of IL-1beta." BMC Complement. Altern. Med. 2006 Apr; 6: 13.
    Miller, M. J., et al. "Early relief of osteoarthritis symptoms with a natural mineral supplement and a herbomineral combination: a randomized controlled trial [ISRCTN38432711]." J. Inflamm. 2005 Oct; 2:11.
    Valerio, L. G., et al. "Toxicological aspects of the South American herbs cat's claw (Uncaria tomentosa) and Maca (Lepidium meyenii): a critical synopsis." Toxicol. Rev. 2005; 24(1): 11-35.
    Setty, A. R., et al. "Herbal medications commonly used in the practice of rheumatology: mechanisms of action, efficacy, and side effects." Semin. Arthritis Rheum. 2005; 34(6): 773-84.
    Sheng, Y., et al. “An active ingredient of Cat's Claw water extracts: identification and efficacy of quinic acid.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 2005 Jan 15; 96(3):
    Aguilar, J. L., et al. “Anti-inflammatory activity of two different extracts of Uncaria tomentosa (Rubiaceae).” J. Ethnopharmacol. 2002; 81(2): 271–76.
    Sandoval, M., et al., “Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities of cat’s claw (Uncaria tomentosa and Uncaria guianensis) are independent of their alkaloid content." Phytomedicine. 2002; 9(4): 325–37.
    Mur, E., et al. “Randomized double blind trial of an extract from the pentacyclic alkaloid-chemotype of Uncaria tomentosa for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.” J. Rheumatol. 2002 Apr; 29(4): 678–81.
    Sandoval-Chacon, M., et al. “Anti-inflammatory actions of cat’s claw: the role of NF-kappaB.” Aliment. Pharmacol. Ther. 1998; 12(12): 1279–89.
    Recio, M. C., et al. “Structural requirements for the anti-inflammatory activity of natural triterpenoids.” Planta Med. 1995; 61(2): 182–85.
    Aquino, R., et al. “Plant metabolites. New compounds and anti-inflammatory activity of Uncaria tomentosa." J. Nat. Prod. 1991; 54: 453–59.
    Cerri, R., et al. “New quinovic acid glycosides from Uncaria tomentosa." J. Nat. Prod. 1988; 51: 257–61.

    Anticancerous & Antitumor Actions:
    Santos Araújo Mdo, C., et al. "Uncaria tomentosa-Adjuvant Treatment for Breast Cancer: Clinical Trial." Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:676984.
    Farias, I., et al. "Uncaria tomentosa for Reducing Side Effects Caused by Chemotherapy in CRC Patients: Clinical Trial." Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:892182.
    Anter, J., et al.. "Antigenotoxicity, cytotoxicity, and apoptosis induction by apigenin, bisabolol, and protocatechuic acid." J Med Food. 2011 Mar;14(3):276-83.
    Gurrola-Díaz, C., et al. "Inhibitory mechanisms of two Uncaria tomentosa extracts affecting the Wnt-signaling pathway." Phytomedicine. 2011 Jun 15;18(8-9):683-90.
    Pilarski, R., et al. "Anticancer activity of the Uncaria tomentosa (Willd.) DC. preparations with different oxindole alkaloid composition." Phytomedicine. 2010 Dec 1;17(14):1133-9.
    Dreifuss, A., et al. "Antitumoral and antioxidant effects of a hydroalcoholic extract of cat's claw (Uncaria tomentosa) (Willd. Ex Roem. & Schult) in an in vivo carcinosarcoma model." J Ethnopharmacol. 2010 Jul 6;130(1):127-33
    García Giménez, D., et al. "Cytotoxic effect of the pentacyclic oxindole alkaloid mitraphylline isolated from Uncaria tomentosa bark on human ewing's sarcoma and breast cancer cell lines." Planta Med. 2010 Feb; 76(2):133-6.
    Rinner, B., et al. "Antiproliferative and pro-apoptotic effects of Uncaria tomentosa in human medullary thyroid carcinoma cells." Anticancer Res. 2009; 29(11): 4519-28.
    Erowele, G., et al. "Pharmacology and therapeutic uses of cat's claw." Am. J. Health Syst. Pharm. 2009 Jun 1; 66(11): 992-5.
    Pilarski, R., et al. "Antiproliferative activity of various Uncaria tomentosa preparations on HL-60 promyelocytic leukemia cells." Pharmacol. Rep. 2007 Sep-Oct; 59(5): 565-72.
    Chen, A., et al. "Induction of apoptosis by Uncaria tomentosa through reactive oxygen species production, cytochrome c release, and caspases activation in human leukemia cells." Food Chem. Toxicol. 2007; 45(11): 2206-18.
    García Prado, E., et al. "Antiproliferative effects of mitraphylline, a pentacyclic oxindole alkaloid of Uncaria tomentosa on human glioma and neuroblastoma cell lines." Phytomedicine. 2007; 14(4): 280-4.
    Gonzales, G.F., et al. "Medicinal plants from Peru: a review of plants as potential agents against cancer." Anticancer Agents Med. Chem. 2006 Sep; 6(5): 429-44.
    De Martino, L., et al. "Proapoptotic effect of Uncaria tomentosa extracts." J. Ethnopharmacol. 2006 Aug; 107(1): 91-4.
    Bacher, N., et al. "Oxindole alkaloids from Uncaria tomentosa induce apoptosis in proliferating, G0/G1-arrested and bcl-2-expressing acute lymphoblastic leukaemia cells." Br. J. Haematol. 2006 Mar; 132(5): 615-22.
    Riva, L., et al. “The antiproliferative effects of Uncaria tomentosa extracts and fractions on the growth of breast cancer cell line." Anticancer Res. 2001; 21(4A): 2457–61.
    Muhammad, I., et al. “Investigation of Una de Gato I. 7-Deoxyloganic acid and 15N NMR spectroscopic studies on pentacyclic oxindole alkaloids from Uncaria tomentosa." Phytochemistry. 2001; 57(5): 781–5.
    Sheng, Y., et al. “Induction of apoptosis and inhibition of proliferation in human tumor cells treated with extracts of Uncaria tomentosa." Anticancer Res. 1998; 18(5A): 3363–68.
    Salazar, E. L., et al. “Depletion of specific binding sites for estrogen receptor by Uncaria tomentosa." Proc. West. Pharmacol. Soc. 1998; 41(1): 123–124.
    Stuppner, H., et al. “A differential sensitivity of oxindole alkaloids to normal and leukemic cell lines.” Planta Med. (1993 suppl.); 59: A583.
    Rizzi, R., et al. “Mutagenic and antimutagenic activities of Uncaria tomentosa and its extracts." J. Ethnopharmacol. 1993; 38: 63–77.
    Peluso, G., et al. “Effetto antiproliferativo su cellule tumorali di estrattie metaboliti da Uncaria tomentosa. Studi in vitro sulla loro azione DNA polimerasi.” 11 Congreso Italo-Peruano de Etnomedicina Andina, Lima, Peru, October 27–30, 1993, 21–2.
    Rizzi, R., et al. “Bacterial cytotoxicity, mutagenicity and antimutagenicity of Uncaria tomentosa and its extracts. Antimutagenic activity of Uncaria tomentosa in humans." Premiere Colloque Européan d'Ethnopharmacologie, Metz, France, March 22–24, 1990.

    Cellular Protective & Antioxidant Actions:
    Zhang, L., et al. "Quinic Acid Could Be a Potential Rejuvenating Natural Compound by Improving Survival of Caenorhabditis elegans under Deleterious Conditions." Rejuvenation Res. 2012 Sep 24
    Bukowska, B., et al. "Uncaria tomentosa extracts protect human erythrocyte catalase against damage induced by 2,4-D-Na and its metabolites." Food Chem Toxicol. 2012 Jun;50(6):2123-7.
    Farias, I., et al. "Uncaria tomentosa stimulates the proliferation of myeloid progenitor cells." J Ethnopharmacol. 2011 Sep 1;137(1):856-63.
    Guthrie, O., et al. "Carboxy alkyl esters of Uncaria tomentosa augment recovery of sensorineural functions following noise injury." Brain Res. 2011 Aug 17;1407:97-106.
    Bors, M., et al. "Protective activity of the Uncaria tomentosa extracts on human erythrocytes in oxidative stress induced by 2,4-dichlorophenol (2,4-DCP) and catechol." Food Chem Toxicol. 2011 Sep;49(9):2202-11.
    de Fátima, F., et al. "[Uncaria tomentosa and acute ischemic kidney injury in rats]." Rev Esc Enferm USP. 2011 Mar;45(1):194-8
    Filip, A., et al. "Photochemoprevention of cutaneous neoplasia through natural products." Exp. Oncol. 2009 Mar; 31(1): 9-15.
    Amaral, S., et al. "Plant extracts with anti-inflammatory properties--a new approach for characterization of their bioactive compounds and establishment of structure-antioxidant activity relationships." Bioorg. Med. Chem. 2009 Mar; 17(5): 1876-83.
    Paniagua-Pérez, R., et al. "Antigenotoxic, antioxidant and lymphocyte induction effects produced by pteropodine." Basic Clin. Pharmacol. Toxicol. 2009; 104(3): 222-7.
    Chen, A., et al. "Induction of apoptosis by Uncaria tomentosa through reactive oxygen species production, cytochrome c release, and caspases activation in human leukemia cells." Food Chem. Toxicol. 2007; 45(11): 2206-18.
    Mammone, T., et al. "A water soluble extract from Uncaria tomentosa (Cat's Claw) is a potent enhancer of DNA repair in primary organ cultures of human skin." Phytother. Res. 2006; 20(3): 178-83.
    Kuras, M., et al. "Changes in chromosome structure, mitotic activity and nuclear DNA content from cells of Allium Test induced by bark water extract of Uncaria tomentosa (Willd.) DC." J. Ethnopharmacol. 2006 Sep; 107(2): 211-21.
    Pilarski, R., et al. "Antioxidant activity of ethanolic and aqueous extracts of Uncaria tomentosa (Willd.) DC." J. Ethnopharmacol. 2006 Mar; 104(1-2): 18-23.
    Cisneros, F. J., et al. “An Uncaria tomentosa (cat's claw) extract protects mice against ozone-induced lung inflammation.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 2005 Jan; 96(3): 355-64.
    Goncalves, C., et al. “Antioxidant properties of proanthocyanidins of Uncaria tomentosa bark decoction: a mechanism for anti-inflammatory activity.” Phytochemistry. 2005; 66(1): 89-98.
    Romero-Jimenez, M., et al. “Genotoxicity and anti-genotoxicity of some traditional medicinal herbs.” Mutat. Res. 2005 Aug; 585(1-2): 147-55.
    Pilarski, R., et al. “Antioxidant activity of ethanolic and aqueous extracts of Uncaria tomentosa (Willd.) DC.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 2005 Sep 29;
    Sheng, Y., et al. “DNA repair enhancement of aqueous extracts of Uncaria tomentosa in a human volunteer study." Phytomedicine. 2001; 8(4): 275–82.
    Sheng, Y., et al. “Enhanced DNA repair, immune function and reduced toxicity of C-Med-100, a novel aqueous extract from Uncaria tomentosa." J. Ethnopharmacol. 2000; 69(2): 115–26.
    Sandoval, M., et al. “Cat’s claw inhibits TNFalpha production and scavenges free radicals: role in cytoprotection.” Free Radic. Biol. Med. 2000; 29(1): 71–8.
    Desmarchelier, C., et al. “Evaluation of the in vitro antioxidant activity in extracts of Uncaria tomentosa (Willd.) DC." Phytother. Res. 1997; 11(3): 254–256.
    Chan-Xun, C., et al. “Inhibitory effect of rhynchophylline on platelet aggregation and thrombosis.” Acta Pharmacologica Sinica 1992; 13(2): 126–30.

    Actions on the Brain, Memory & Alzheimer's:
    Snow, A., et al. "Compounds, compositions and methods for the treatment of amyloid diseases and synucleinopathies such as Alzheimer's disease, type 2 diabetes, and Parkinson's disease." United States Patent No. 7,514,583 April 7, 2009
    Castillo, G., et al. "Methods of isolating amyloid-inhibiting compounds and use of compounds isolated from Uncaria tomentosa and related plants." United States Patent No. 7,314,642 January 1, 2008.
    Frackowiak, T., et al. "Binding of an oxindole alkaloid from Uncaria tomentosa to amyloid protein (Abeta1-40)." Z. Naturforsch C. 2006 Nov-Dec; 61(11-12): 821-6.
    Jurgensen, S., et al. “Involvement of 5-HT2 receptors in the antinociceptive effect of Uncaria tomentosa.” Pharmacol. Biochem. Behav. 2005 Jul; 81(3): 466-77.
    Kang, T. H., et al. “Pteropodine and isopteropodine positively modulate the function of rat muscarinic M(1) and 5-HT(2) receptors expressed in Xenopus oocyte.” Eur. J. Pharmacol. 2002 May; 444(1-2): 39-45.
    Mohamed, A. F., et al. “ Effects of Uncaria tomentosa total alkaloid and its components on experimental amnesia in mice: elucidation using the passive avoidance test.” J. Pharm. Pharmacol. 2001; 52(12): 1553–61.
    Roth, B. L., et al. “Insights into the structure and function of 5-HT(2) family serotonin receptors reveal novel strategies for therapeutic target development.” Expert Opin. Ther. Targets 2001 Dec; 5(6): 685-695.
    Castillo, G. "Methods of isolation of amyloid inhibitory ingredients within Uncaria tomentosa." US Patent No 7,029,710, April, 18, 2006.
    Castillo, G. " Methods of isolating amyloid-inhibiting compounds and use of compounds isolated from Uncaria tomentosa and related plants." US Patent No. 6,929,808, August 16, 2005.
    Castillo, G., et al. “Pharmaceutical compositions containing Uncaria tomentosa extract for treating Alzheimer's disease and other amyloidoses." Patent-Pct. Int. Paol. 1998; 00 33,659: 67pp.

    Antimicrobial Actions:
    Herrera, D., et al. "In vitro antimicrobial activity of phytotherapic Uncaria tomentosa against endodontic pathogens." J Oral Sci. 2010 Sep;52(3):473-6.
    Chen, X., et al. "Effects of rhynchophylline and isorhynchophylline on nitric oxide and endothelin-1 secretion from RIMECs induced by Listeriolysin o in vitro." Vet. Microbiol. 2009 Nov 26.
    Reis, S., et al. "Immunomodulating and antiviral activities of Uncaria tomentosa on human monocytes infected with Dengue Virus-2." Int. Immunopharmacol. 2008; 8(3): 468-76.
    Ccahuana-Vasquez, R., et al. "Antimicrobial activity of Uncaria tomentosa against oral human pathogens." Braz. Oral Res. 2007 Jan-Mar; 21(1): 46-50.
    Kloucek, P., et al. “Antibacterial screening of some Peruvian medicinal plants used in Calleria District.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 2005 Jun; 99(2): 309-12.
    Garcia, R., et al. “Antimicrobial activity of isopteropodine.” Z. Naturforsch. 2005; 60(5-6): 385-8.
    Aquino, R., et al. “Plant metabolites. Structure and in vitro antiviral activity of quinovic acid glycosides from Uncaria tomentosa and Guettarda platypoda." J. Nat. Prod. 1989; 4(52): 679–85.

    Actions Against Endometriosis:
    Nogueira, N., et al. "Experimental endometriosis reduction in rats treated with Uncaria tomentosa (cat's claw) extract." Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2011 Feb;154(2):205-8.

    Toxicity Studies & Reviews:
    Bors, M., et al. "Evaluation of the effect of Uncaria tomentosa extracts on the size and shape of human erythrocytes (in vitro)." Environ Toxicol Pharmacol. 2012 Mar;33(2):127-34.
    Bors, M., et al. "Studies of biological properties of Uncaria tomentosa extracts on human blood mononuclear cells." J Ethnopharmacol. 2012 Aug 1;142(3):669-78.
    Erowele, G., et al. "Pharmacology and therapeutic uses of cat's claw." Am. J. Health Syst. Pharm. 2009 Jun 1; 66(11): 992-5.
    Pilarski, R., et al. "Evaluation of biological activity of Uncaria tomentosa (Willd.) DC. using the chicken embryo model." Folia Biol. (Krakow). 2009; 57(3-4): 207-12..
    Kuras, M., et al. "Effect of Alkaloid-Free and Alkaloid-Rich preparations from Uncaria tomentosa bark on mitotic activity and chromosome morphology evaluated by Allium Test." J. Ethnopharmacol. 2009; 121(1): 140-7.

    Antifertility Action:
    Nogueira Neto, J., et al. "Contraceptive effect of Uncaria tomentosa (cat's claw) in rats with experimental endometriosis." Acta Cir Bras. 2011;26 Suppl 2:15-9.

    Possible Drug Interactions:
    Quilez, A., et al. "Uncaria tomentosa (Willd. ex. Roem. & Schult.) DC. and Eucalyptus globulus Labill. interactions when administered with diazepam." Phytother Res. 2012 Mar;26(3):458-61.
    Cosentino, C., et al. "Reversible worsening of Parkinson disease motor symptoms after oral intake of Uncaria tomentosa (cat's claw)." Clin. Neuropharmacol. 2008 Sep-Oct; 31(5): 293-4.
    López Galera, R., et al. "Interaction between cat's claw and protease inhibitors atazanavir, ritonavir and saquinavir." Eur. J. Clin. Pharmacol. 2008; 64(12): 1235-6.
    Moreno, S., et al. "Effect of oral ingestion of an extract of the herb Uncaria tomentosa on the biodistribution of sodium pertechnetate in rats." Braz. J. Med. Biol Res. 2007; 40(1): 77-80.



    * The statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information contained in this plant database file is intended for education, entertainment and information purposes only. This information is not intended to be used to diagnose, prescribe or replace proper medical care. The plant described herein is not intended to treat, cure, diagnose, mitigate or prevent any disease. Please refer to our Conditions of Use for using this plant database file and web site.




    © Copyrighted 1996 to present by Leslie Taylor, Milam County, TX 77857.
    All rights reserved. Please read the Conditions of Use, and Copyright Statement for this web page and web site.
    Last updated 12-28-2012