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Uncaria tomentosa

Common name:  Cat’s Claw

Family: Rubiaceae 

Part used: Inner bark of roots & stems

Constituents:

  • Oxindole alkaloids: isopteropodine, pteropodine, mitraphylline, isomitraphylline, uncarine F, speciophylline, 3-isoajmalicine, 19-epi-3-isoajmalicine, uncarine B
  • Plant sterols: beta sitosterol (80%), stigmasterol, campesterol
  • Polyphenols: Catechin tannins,  epicatechin, proanthrocyanidins & Flavonoids
  • Quinovic acid glycosides
  • Polyhydroxylated triterpenes

Medicinal actions:

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antioxidant
  • Anti-neoplastic (Antileukemic)
  • Antimicrobial (Anti-viral)
  • Hypotensive
  • Immune stimulant
  • Vulnerary
Medicinal uses: 
  • Primary traditional uses in Peru are as an anti-inflammatory, contraceptive and anti-cancer remedy.
  • An immune stimulant especially used in viral infections, including HIV.
  • Useful in a variety of inflammatory diseases including gastric ulcers, diarrhea and GI tumors, gonorrhea, arthritis and rheumatism, acne, diabetes, diseases of the urinary tract and cancer.
Pharmacology:
  • Oxindole alkaloids have demonstrated immune-stimulant activity (anti-leukemic) and stimulation of phagocytosis in vitro.
  • Plant sterol are hypolipidemic & have anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Quinovic acid glycosides & flavonoids have potent anti-inflammatory activity.

Pharmacy: 

  • Capsules: 350-500 mg QD-BID
  • Decoction: 20-30 g boiled in 1 quart water for 3 hours until volume is reduced by 1/3, TID.
  • Tincture: (1:5, 605) 1- 2 ml BID
Toxicity:
  • Aside from mild nausea, it appears to have few side effects.
  • There is one case report of acute renal failure in an adult with systemic lupus erythematosus who took cat’s claw.
Contraindications:
  • Pregnancy, lactation or in children less than three years old
  • Patients undergoing grafts and organ transplants, hemophiliacs, and use caution in SLE (lupus).

Interactions: 

  • Typically not recommended for those taking insulin, thymus extracts, vaccines, immune globulin or sera.
  • Potential synergistic effects with anti-hypertensive medications.

 

 

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About Marisa Marciano

Naturopathic Herbalist

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