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Cat’s Claw

Veterinarian Reviewed on January 10, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Uncategorized

Cat’s Claw Dry Bark “Una de Gato”


Cat’s Claw Dry Bark (Uncaria tomentosa) is also called Una de Gato in Spanish which means cat’s nail. It is a woody vine which is a native plant in the tropical jungles of South and Central America. It is also called hawk’s claw, pot hook or sometimes sparrowhawk nail.

It is used as an alternative medicine to treat various illnesses and diseases. It has hook like thorns that resembles the claws of a cat thus owing its name Cat’s Claw Dry Bark. The plant has leaves that have a smooth edge and that always grows in pairs. The Cat’s Claw dry bark and roots are used for medicinal purposes which are usually dried or made into an extract to form capsules, tablets and teas.

History and Origin

The origin of the Cat’s Claw Dry Bark’s name is basically because of the plant’s appearance; it looks like a cat’s claw. The natives of South and Central America have used Cat’s Claw Dry Bark for thousands of years. The Ashaninka of Peru uses Cat’s Claw Dry Bark as a tonic to promote optimum health and physical virility.
The people of the Amazon basin have used Cat’s Claw Dry Bark as an effective treatment to enhance the immune system and some tribes have believed that this herb has special “powers” to cure Arthritis, dysentery, ulcers and many kinds of infections.

Ancient Uses

The Cat’s Claw Dry Bark has been a widely accepted medication in the ancient peoples and tribes of the Amazon. The Cat’s Claw Dry Bark is very potent and was primarily used in the treatment of many different types of diseases and infections.

Modern Uses

In modern times Cat’s Claw Dry Bark has been prescribed in Germany and Austria as an immune system stimulant to test the response of cancer patients who are weakened by chemotherapy or radiation.
Cat’s Claw Dry Bark is also known to treat tumors and stubborn infections such as sinusitis and tonsillitis. It is also known to treat pain that is associated with joint pain and arthritis. Other specialists are looking into the possibility of Cat’s Claw Dry Bark for the treatments of AIDS related symptoms. It is also being used in the treatment of tuberculosis, multiple sclerosis and most recently rheumatoid arthritis.

The use of Cat’s Claw Dry Bark for the treatment of autoimmune disorders such as lupus is being studied and hopefully as a cure for the illness as well.

Side Effects

Although Cat’s Claw Dry Bark has many medicinal benefits, you should not take it if you are pregnant or breastfeeding since its effect is not yet known on the unborn or breastfeeding infant. Cat’s Claw Dry Bark is also known to bring miscarriage.
If you have any medical condition, it is wise to talk to your doctor first before taking Cat’s Claw Dry Bark since it may affect drug interactions as well as retard other drug effects. Cat’s Claw Dry Bark may have many health benefits but it is always a good practice to talk to your doctor or herbalist before using it for any condition.

Suggested Products

Cat’s Claw Dry Bark (Unicaria tomentosa)

Read also: Poria Cocos

Our Expert

Paulina Nelega, RH
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan

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