Herbs & Plants

Cat’s Claw (Uncaria Tomentosa)

Botanical Name :Uncaria tomentosa

Family: Rubiaceae

Kingdom: Plantae

Division: Magnoliophyta


Order: Gentianales

Genus: Uncaria

Species: U. 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

Plant parts used: bark, root, leaves

Uncaria tomentosa (popularly known in English as Cat’s Claw, in Spanish as Uña de Gato or as indian name Vilcacora) is a woody vine found in the tropical jungles of South and Central America, which derives its name from its claw-shaped thorns. It is used as an alternative medicine in the treatment of a variety of ailments.

Habitat:Cat’s claw is indigenous to the Amazon rainforest, with its habitat being restricted primarily to the tropical areas of South and Central America.
Description:Uncaria tomentosa is a liana deriving its name from hook-like thorns that resemble the claws of a cat. U. tomentosa can grow up to 30m tall, climbing by means of these thorns. The leaves are elliptic with a smooth edge, and grow in opposite whorls of two.There are two species of Cat’s Claw, Uncaria tomentosa and Uncaria guianensis, each having different properites and uses. The two are frequently confused but U. tomentosa is the more heavily researched for medicinal use   and immune modulation, while U. guianensis may be more useful for osteoarthritis. U. tomentosa is further divided into two chemotypes with different properties and active compounds, a fact ignored by most manufacturers that can have significant implications on both its use as an alternative medicine and in clinical trials to prove or disprove its efficacy.

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An Astounding “New” Herb from the Peruvian Rainforests.
by Phillip Steinberg, certified nutritional consultant
For hundreds of years a rather remarkable plant has been revered and used by the indian natives of the Peruvian Amazon to “cure” cancer, arthritis, gastritis, ulcers, and female hormonal imbalances.

Researchers have determined that this plant, uncaria tomentosa, more commonly called “cat’s claw,” contains a wealth of beneficial phytochemical compounds: alkaloids, proanthocyanidins, polyphenols, triterpines, and plant sterols. Because of these compounds, cat’s claw is a powerful cellular reconstitutor, displaying significant antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antitumor, anti-inflammatory, and anti-oxidant properties.

According to the available research and experience of doctors working in Peru, Germany, Austria, and the United States, cat’s claw may be helpful in the treatment of: cancer; arthritis; bursitis; rheumatism; all forms of herpes; allergies; asthma; systemic candidiasis; acne; diabetes; lupus; prostatitis; chronic fatigue syndrome; PMS; irregularities of the female cycle; environmental toxin poisoning; organic depression; and those infected with the HIV virus. Evidence also suggests that cat’s claw may be effective in the treatment of numerous stomach and bowel disorders including.

The most exciting research has been the work of Dr. Klaus Keplinger, an Austrian scientist who has obtained two United States patents for isolating the alkaloids responsible for enhancing phagocytosis. This has resulted in the development of a pharmaceutical which is now being used in Austria and Germany to combat the progression of cancer and AIDS. Unfortunately, the pharmaceutical is not available in the US, but the herb is available both in tea and in capsule form.

Traditionally in Peru, a decoction is made by boiling the bark and/or root for about an hour and then drinking four or more cups of tea per day. When using capsules, three to six grams per day is considered therapeutic. However, as much as 20 grams per day might be used for several weeks at a time to treat very advanced stages of pathology.

Dr. Satya Ambrose, ND, the co-founder of the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine, has been using the bark in capsule form with some of her patients for the past several months. She said that excellent results with Crohn’s disease, ulcers, asthma, and fibromyalgia. It is observed that successes with lupus, lung cancer, prostatitis, and one patient who was able to reverse and overcome Kaposi’s sarcoma, a rare form of skin cancer associated with AIDS.

It is also found that the herb to be effective at knocking out the flu, clearing up sinus, ear, and upper respiratory infections, canker sores, lower back pain associated with arthritis, and eliminating the tired, sore muscles associated with heavy physical work and exercise. I was even able to clear up a case of athlete’s foot by putting the powdered bark between the infected toes. It can cure conjunctivitis by putting drops of the tea in eyes several times over the course of two days.

Because of research and first hand experience in using this wondrous and remarkable herb, it is believed that cat’s claw is an effective natural remedy for many of today’s serious health problems.

We can learn more about Cat’s Claw from link 1 , link2

Principal active biochemicals are six oxindole alkaloids and a number of others: ajmalicine, akuammigine, campesterol, catechin, 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-F, and vaccenic.

The oxindole alkaloids significantly enhance the ability of white blood cells to attack, engulf, and digest harmful microbes or foreign bodies.

Documented Properties& Actions: Analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antimutagenic, antioxidant, antiproliferative, antitumorous, antiviral, cytoprotective, cytostatic, cytotoxic, depurative, diuretic, hypotensive, immunostimulant, immunomodulatory

Medicinal uses
The parts used medicinally include the inner bark and root, taken in the form of capsules, tea and extract.

U. tomentosa is used in nootropic drugs, as well as in treatment of cancer and HIV infection. It contains several alkaloids that are responsible for its overall medical effects, as well as tannins and various phytochemicals. The chemotype of the plant determines the dominant type of alkaloid it produces, and thus its properties in vivo. One chemotype has roots which produce mostly the pentacyclic alkaloids that are responsible for the immune-strengthening effects desired by most consumers. The second chemotype produces tetracyclic oxindole alkaloids known as rhynchophylline and isorhynchophylline which counteract the immune-strengthening actions of the pentacyclic alkaloids, reduces the speed and force of the heart’s contraction, and in high doses produce ataxia, lack of coordination and sedative effects. Since U. tomentosa comes in at least these two different chemotypes, without chemical testing it is impossible to know which chemical compounds will predominate in a plant collected randomly from a natural setting.

Some ingredients appear to act as anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anticancer agents.[6] As an herbal treatment, Cat’s Claw is used to treat intestinal ailments such as Crohn’s disease, gastric ulcers and tumors, parasites, colitis, gastritis, diverticulitis and leaky bowel syndrome, while manufacturers claim that U. tomentosa can also be used in the treatment of AIDS in combination with AZT, the treatment and prevention of arthritis and rheumatism, diabetes, PMS, chronic fatigue syndrome, prostate conditions, immune modulation, Lyme disease and systemic lupus erythematosus. A 2005 review of the scholarly literature on Cat’s Claw indicates there is supporting evidence toward its use in treating cancer, inflammation, viral infection and vascular conditions, and for its use as an immunostimulant, antioxidant, antibacterial and CNS-related agent.

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., refers to cat’s claw 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). .

Indigenous use
The indigenous peoples of South and Central America have used U. tomentosa for medicinal purposes for two thousand years or more. Researchers have investigated the use of the plant by the Asháninka tribe of Peru, who use the plant as a general health tonic, contraceptive, anti-inflammatory agent for the gastrointestinal tract, and as a treatment for diarrhea, rheumatic disorders, acne, diabetes, cancer and diseases of the urinary tract.

Individuals allergic to plants in the Rubiaceae family and different species of Uncaria may be more likely to have allergic reactions to Cat’s Claw.Reactions can include itching, rash and allergic inflammation of the kidneys. In one documented case, kidney failure occurred in a patient with Lupus erythematosus but it is not known if this was due to an allergic reaction or another cause.

There are other plants which are known as cat’s claw (or uña de gato) in Mexico and Latin America; however, they are entirely different plants, belonging to neither the Uncaria genus, nor to the Rubiaceae family. Some of the Mexican uña de gato varieties are known to have toxic properties.

Uña de Gato,”cat’s claw”, is a thorny liana vine reputed to be a remarkably powerful immune system booster and effective in treating a wide array of maladies including cancer, systemic candidiasis, genital herpes, and AIDS (SIDA).

Uña de Gato also has anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, and anti-oxidant properties. It has proven useful in treating arthritis, bursitis, allergies and numerous bowel and intestinal disorders. Anecdotal evidence indicates effectiveness in relieving side effects of chemotherapy.

Wild populations of this woody vine are threatened in some areas by harvesters who dig out the root out rather than simply cutting the vine and allowing regrowth. This is a foolish practice since new growth occurs rapidly when Uña de Gato vine is cut. It grows prolifically under cultivation.

Uncaria tomentosa, reputedly the most effective of several uña de gato species, is endemic to the Peruvian Amazon and is gaining international attention for its documented curative qualities.

You may click to see:->an article  from Herb Library on Cat’s Claw

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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