Cat's Claw (Uncaria tomentosa)

cats claw bark

Cat's Claw Overview:

Cat's claw is one of the best immune system herbs available, especially for stimulating T-Cell and neutrophil production. Its effects on the immune system also include antinflammatory activities.

One of the most important developments in cat's claw research is around the area of adjunct cancer therapy. It has several beneficial actions against the cancer growth itself, as well as activities that help manage the side effects of chemotherapy.

+ Indications

  • Low immunity
  • Rheumatism
  • Inflammation
  • Viral infections
  • Herpes zoster (HSV)
  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
  • Bacterial infections
  • Gonorrhea
  • Cold/Flu
  • Neuralgia
  • Gastritis
  • Ulcers
  • Inflammation
  • Crohn's disease
  • Ulcerative cholitis
  • Diverticulitis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Intestinal hyperpermeability (leaky gut syndrome)
  • To reduce blood clots
  • Preventative for strokes
  • Preventative for heart attacks
  • Inflammation
  • Adjunctive treatment for cancer therapy

+ Contraindications

  • Avoid use with blood thinners

Main Herbal Actions:

  • Immunomodulator
  • Antinflammatory
  • Antioxidant
  • Adaptogenic
  • Antiviral
  • Alterative
  • Antihypertensive

Main Uses:

Adjunctive treatment for cancer, poor immune system, HIV infection, rheumatoid arthritis, Herpes zoster infection, Inflammatory bowel disease, Diverticulitis.


Weekly Dose

Part Used

  • Bark, roots, leaves

Family Name

  • Rubiaceae


  • South America, Amazon Rainforest

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Constituents of Interest

  • Oxindole alkaloids
  • Quinolivic acid glycosides
  • Catechins
  • Procyanidins

Common Names

  • Uña De gato
  • Paraguayo
  • Harbato
  • Garbato Casha


  • Unknown


  • Unknown


  • No adverse reactions expected.


  • Unknown

Duration of Use

  • May be used long term.

Botanical Info:

Cat's claw is a woody vine native to the Amazon rainforest. It has characteristic hook-like thorns that curl over like a cats claw.

Cat's claw is contained within the Rubiaceae family of plants which also contains such popular herbs as coffee, Cinchona, and Psychotria.


Clinical Applications Of Cat's Claw:

Cat's claw is best used for conditions related to poor immune function. It has mild antiviral activity, antibacterial activity, and potent immunostimulatory activity. Althoug immunostimulating, it doesn't tend to worsen autoimmune conditions, and is actually an effective treatment for autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.

Cat's claw is a useful adjunctive treatment alongside chemotherapy for various cancer cell lines. Other areas of significant benefit with cat's claw include viral infection from HIV, HSV, and EBV.



Cat's claw has a high level of safety, and few reported side effects. Due to the immunostimulating activity, however, it is not wise to take cat's claw before or after an organ or bone marrow transplant.

Avoid using cat's claw in combination with Warfarin or other blood thinners.


Recommended Products Containing Cat's Claw:

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Cat's Claw Liquid Extract

Herb Pharm

Made from Uncaria tomentosa

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Cat's Claw Capsules


Made from Uncaria tomentosa

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Raw Cat's Claw Bark Powder

Starwest botanicals

Made from Uncaria tomentosa

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