Cat’s claw is a medicinal herb traditionally used to excite the immune system. Studies have shown it may boost immune function, reduce inflammation, and also help with chemotherapy. Read on to discover the potential health benefits and negative consequences associated with this herb.

What Is Cat’s Claw?

Cat’s claw (Uncaria tomentosa) Is a medicinal plant that grows in the Amazonian rainforest and other tropical areas in Central and South America. The use of this herb dates back to the Inca civilization. Indigenous cultures of South America used cat’s claw for cancer, inflammation, viral diseases, ulcers, and to stimulate the immune system.

It gets its name from the thorns, which resemble the claws of cats.

Cat’s claw can refer to Uncaria tomentosa and Uncaria guianensis. Most commercial preparations such as teas, tablets, and capsules comprise U. tomentosa.

Cat's claw for horses - Equine Wellness Magazine

The two different forms of cat’s claw include different active compounds and also have distinct medicinal properties. Uncaria tomentosa comprises more pentacyclic oxindole alkaloids (POAs), while U. Guianensis is wealthier in tetracyclic oxindole alkaloids (TOAs).

TOAs act on the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord), whereas POAs affect the immune system.

TOAs Cancel out the effects of POAs. Therefore it is important when buying and consuming cat’s claw extracts to make certain they have been analyzed for TOA and POA amounts.

Differences Between both forms are conveyed from the chemical structure. Pentacyclic alkaloids are found from the vine bark whereas tetracyclic alkaloids are present in the stem and leaves of the plant.

Main Beneficial Compounds of Cat’s Claw

Cat’s claw is abundant in three major groups of chemical substances: alkaloids, terpenoids, and flavonoids.

Particular chemicals found in kitty’s claw comprise:

  • Mitraphylline: Alkaloid usually found in older leaves. It has potential anticancer effects, causing cell death in sarcoma and breast cancer cells.
  • Rhynchophylline: an alkaloid isolated from the bark. It could assist with convulsions, lightheadedness, numbness, and hypertension.
  • Isopteropodine: an alkaloid isolated from the leaves. It has antifungal properties from (Gram-positive) germs.
  • Uncarine (C, D, and E): a family of alkaloids found in the leaves. They’ve possible anti-cancer properties, causing cell death in leukemia cells.
  • Hirsutine: an alkaloid found in the young leaves. It’s antihypertensive properties, relaxing blood vessels and reducing overall blood pressure.
  • Uncaric acid: a triterpene extracted from the bark. It could be successful against Mycobacterium tuberculosis (H37Rv strain).
  • Quinovic acid: an acid triterpene chemical extracted from the bark. It might reduce heart rate.
    Quinic acid has antioxidant properties, improves DNA repair, also has neuroprotective effects in the mind.
  • Procyanidins: a flavonoid (phenolic compounds found in the leaves, stems, bark, and wood of U. tomentosa). It has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Mechanisms of Action

Cat’s claw:

Decreases inflammatory molecules TNF-α and NF-κB.
Blocks the release of iNos, a molecule that makes free radicals as part of their immune reaction.
Oversaw the launch of COX-1 and COX-2, enzymes that play critical roles in inflammation and pain.

Health Benefits

Possibly Successful for:


Cat’s claw’s anti-inflammatory effects have been commonly used to treat both rheumatoid arthritis and arthritis.

At a clinical trial on 40 rheumatoid arthritis sufferers, a cat’s claw combined with traditional treatments (sulfasalazine/hydroxychloroquine) reduced tender and painful joints.

Another trial of 45 individuals with knee osteoarthritis, one week of cat’s claw decreased pain related to action. In another trial on 95 people, a dietary supplement with 300 mg cat’s claw and 1500 milligrams maca enhanced joint pain, stiffness, and operate as effectively as the more common supplement glucosamine sulfate.

Cat’s claw extract raised IGF-1 Levels in human cartilage cells, which may help to maintain cartilage health and prevent cartilage breakdown. In creature and cell-based studies, cat’s claw blocked IL-1β and other inflammatory molecules which suppress IGF-1 generation.

The various compounds in the cat’s claw supposedly act with each other to achieve these effects.

Mitraphylline blocks the release of inflammatory molecules like IL-1, IL-4, and IL-17, and TNF-alpha.

Other pentacyclic Oxindole alkaloids cause the release of a currently unidentified immune regulating factors that might reduce arthritic joint pain.

Quinic acid decreases inflammatory molecules such as NF-κB.

Even though Limited, the present evidence suggests that the cat’s claw can help with the symptoms of both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. You might discuss with your doctor if it could be useful as adjuvant therapy on your case. Never assume the cat’s claw in place of what your physician recommends or prescribes for arthritis.

Insufficient Proof for:

1) Viral Infection

In a study of 31 volunteers with chilly Sores (herpes labialis), cat’s claw was more effective in reducing symptoms such as swelling, skin reddening, and pain compared to prescription antifungal medication Acyclovir.

In cell-based research, the cat’s claw extract prevented the spread of the herpes virus by preventing it from attaching to cells.

In Another trial on 261 people, immunostimulation using a pure product containing a cat’s claw along with other herbal extracts decreased the incidence of rectal warts (caused by infections with the human papillomavirus) following a surgical procedure.

Cat’s Claw also prevented immune cells from becoming infected with the dengue virus and decreased inflammatory cytokines TNF-alpha and IFN-alpha.

Even though The results are promising, two clinical trials and a few creatures and cell-based research cannot be regarded as sufficient evidence to support using the cat’s claw for viral ailments. Further clinical investigation is needed.

2) Add-On to Anticancer Therapy

In a study of 40 breast cancer sufferers undergoing chemotherapy, 300 milligrams cat’s claw extract prevented a decrease in white blood cells (neutropenia) and repaired DNA damage. However, the same dose was ineffective in a different trial on 43 individuals with colorectal cancer.

At a clinical trial on 51 individuals with advanced cancer, the cat’s claw decreased fatigue and improved quality of life.

In rats who received chemotherapy, the cat’s claw increased white blood cell count and assisted repair damaged DNA.

Cat’s Claw also stimulates the development of progenitor cells in mice, which may replace damaged cells and reduce the damaging effects of chemotherapy.

Again, 3 clinical trials (with mixed results) and some animal research are insufficient to claim that a cat’s claw can help combat cancer. Larger, more robust clinical trials are necessary.

3) Stomach and Gut Infection

Cat’s claw can cleanse the digestive tract and is promised to treat inflammatory gut ailments including:

Clinical analysis on 50 people with gum inflammation, a gel with a cat’s claw was effective as an antifungal (miconazole) at lowering the counts of infectious yeasts.

Cat’s claw protected against stomach inflammation in rats and prevented TNF-α production and cell death.

Bacterial toxins also induce the release of inflammatory molecules such as NF-κB and TNF-α. Cat’s claw blocked the release of these inflammatory compounds in mice.

Inflammation of the intestine is also caused by toxic free radicals (peroxynitrite). Cat’s claw tore free of radicals and reduced cell death caused by gut bacterial toxins.

Even though Only a small trial investigated the cat’s claw for gum disease, its effects on inflammation of the digestive tract have only been tested in animals. Further clinical research is required to confirm these preliminary findings.

4) Boosting the Immune System

Cat’s claw may enhance the immune system by increasing the levels of crucial immune cells (T helper and B cells) as well as the action of granulocytes.

A small trial on 23 healthy volunteers, a cat’s claw extract enhanced the immune effects of a vaccine against pneumococcal infections. The infusion increased the relative abundance of immune cells (lymphocytes) and prolonged the antibody titer response of the vaccine.

Again, Only a small clinical trial and a few animals and cell-based research have investigated this possible advantage of the cat’s claw. More clinical trials larger populations are justified.

5) High Blood Pressure

Two Different traditional Chinese medicines with cat’s claw and other herbs (Jiangzhuo Qinggan and Qian Yang He Ji) lowered blood pressure in clinical trials on almost 300 people. However, another remedy combining the cat’s claw and potato orchid (Gastrodia) was unsuccessful and utilized as the negative control in a different trial on 79 people.

Cat’s claw contains a compound known as hirsutine that reduces blood pressure. It functions as a calcium channel blocker in the heart and blood vessels, which slows the heart rate also relaxes blood vessels.

Because The sole clinical trials analyzed herbal mixes containing cat’s claw and other extracts (with mixed results), we can’t establish if the effects observed were due to this specific ingredient, More clinical trials with cat’s claw alone are needed to shed some light on this possible use.

Animal and Cellular Research (Lack of Proof)

No Clinical evidence supports the use of cat’s claw for some of the conditions listed within this section. Below is a list of the existing creature and cell-based research, which should guide further investigational efforts. On the other hand, the research shouldn’t be interpreted as encouraging any health advantage.


Cat’s claw has been traditionally utilized to treat diabetes.

Its infusion reduced blood glucose levels and inflammation and prevented diabetes in mice whose insulin-releasing cells (beta-cells) were damaged.

Protecting Red Blood Cells

Cat’s claw shielded red blood cells (RBCs) from harm due to toxins and reduced oxidative stress. Additionally, it prevented cell death and oxidative stress in RBCs exposed to dyes.

Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory

Procyanidins and other polyphenols in the cat’s claw scavenged and remove amino acids in cell-based studies.

Cat’s claw also blocked the production of this inflammatory cytokine TNF-α and prevented cell death.

Side Effects and Precautions, Limitations & Dosage

This list does not cover all potential side effects. Contact your doctor or pharmacist if you see any other side effects.

Phone Your own physician for medical advice about side effects. In the US, you may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at In Canada, you may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.

Cat’s claw is generally considered secure. The main side effects reported in clinical trials were generally mild and contained:

  • Dizziness
  • Upset stomach
  • Skin rash
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea

Pregnant girls should prevent with cat’s claw because of the herb’s potential to cause diplomatically.

Because the cat’s claw appears to enhance the immune response by boosting the activity of immune cells, this supplement may increase the symptoms of autoimmune diseases. Individuals with autoimmune conditions should be particularly careful with the cat’s claw and never take it without discussing it with their own physicians.

Cat’s claw diminished molecules that activate clotting (IL-1α, 1β, 4, 17, and TNF-α). People with blood clotting disorders or blood thinners should avoid the cat’s claw to reduce the possibility of bleeding and bruising.

When Cat’s claw was used in conjunction with some HIV treatments like protease inhibitors (atazanavir, ritonavir, and saquinavir), it raised their toxicity.


Few High-quality clinical trials along with cat’s claw have been conducted in people. More studies are needed to affirm its health advantages.

Cat’s Claw was occasionally analyzed as part of multi-herbal complexes, which makes its particular contribution to the consequences observed difficult to quote.


Since Cat’s claw is not approved by the FDA for any conditions, there is absolutely no official dose. Users and nutritional supplement manufacturers have created unofficial dosages based on trial and error. Discuss with your doctor if the cat’s claw may be useful in your circumstance and the dose you should take.

Clinical Trials have found between 80 — 350 mg of cat’s claw extract. These extracts normally contained a certain amount of pentacyclic oxindole alkaloids, rather than tetracyclic oxindole alkaloids.

Experiences with Cat’s Claw

The Opinions expressed in this section are only those of cat’s claw users, that might or might not have scientific or medical training. Their testimonials don’t represent the opinions of us. We don’t endorse any specific solution, service, or therapy.

Can Not consider consumer experiences as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care providers due to something you’ve read on our website. We understand that studying person, real-life encounters can be a very helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or therapy from a qualified health care provider.

Many users reported satisfactory results when using cat’s claw for arthritis, digestive inflammation, and infections.

A Physician claimed using cat’s claw 150 patients during the previous 4 years and receiving better results than with any other available products.

1 user noted that the cat’s claw raised the seriousness of the headache and fatigue, which they connected to some die-off effect.