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Useful Tropical Plants

Uncaria guianensis

(Aubl.) J.F.Gmel.

Rubiaceae

+ Synonyms

Nauclea aculeata (Willd.) Willd.

Nauclea guianensis (Aubl.) Poir.

Ourouparia guianensis Aubl.

Uncaria aculeata Willd.

Uncaria spinosa Raeuschel

Uruparia versicolor Raf.

Common Name: Cat's Claw

Uncaria guianensis
Flowering stem
Photograph by: Alfredo F. Fuentes
Creative Commons License
Uncaria guianensis Uncaria guianensis Uncaria guianensis Uncaria guianensis Uncaria guianensis

General Information

Cat's claw is an evergreen, spiny climbing shrub scrambling into other plants and attaching itself by means of its stout, recurved spines[
646
Title
New Crops FactSheets
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/default.html
Publisher
Purdue University
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A website dedicated to giving information on potential new agricultural crops.
].
Cat’s claw is a popular medicinal herb, mainly gathered from the wild or semi-cultivated, and traded in many countries[
646
Title
New Crops FactSheets
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/default.html
Publisher
Purdue University
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A website dedicated to giving information on potential new agricultural crops.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References


Range

S. America - Paraguay, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, the Guyanas; north to Trinidad.

Habitat

Found mainly in secondary forest[
646
Title
New Crops FactSheets
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/default.html
Publisher
Purdue University
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A website dedicated to giving information on potential new agricultural crops.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *  *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitEvergreen Climber
Height0.00 m
Cultivation StatusSemi-cultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details

A plant of mainly low elevations in the tropics, where it can be found at elevations up to 1,000 metres.
Succeeds in fairly sunny positions, as on forest edges[
646
Title
New Crops FactSheets
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/default.html
Publisher
Purdue University
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A website dedicated to giving information on potential new agricultural crops.
]. Prefers a pH in the range 4.4 - 6.2[
646
Title
New Crops FactSheets
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/default.html
Publisher
Purdue University
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A website dedicated to giving information on potential new agricultural crops.
].
The stems are only large enough to harvest when they are 8 years or more old. Generally, it is recommended that the vine is cut at 20 - 100cm above the ground and left to regenerate[
646
Title
New Crops FactSheets
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/default.html
Publisher
Purdue University
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A website dedicated to giving information on potential new agricultural crops.
].

Edible Uses

The stems are a source of a potable sap that is used to quench thirst and as a restorative drink[
646
Title
New Crops FactSheets
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/default.html
Publisher
Purdue University
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A website dedicated to giving information on potential new agricultural crops.
]. A watery, astringent taste[
646
Title
New Crops FactSheets
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/default.html
Publisher
Purdue University
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A website dedicated to giving information on potential new agricultural crops.
].

Medicinal

Cat's claw has a long history of traditional use, being employed in the treatment of a range of conditions including inflammations (especially rheumatism), arthritis, urinary tract infections and gastric ulcers. It has also been used as a blood purifier; to cleanse the kidneys; to recover from childbirth or treat menstrual irregularities; as a treatment for asthma
Applied externally, it is used as a wash for wounds in order to promote healing, to cleanse the skin of impurities etc[
646
Title
New Crops FactSheets
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/default.html
Publisher
Purdue University
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A website dedicated to giving information on potential new agricultural crops.
].
The plant is widely used in modern herbal medicine, where it is primarily valued for its stimulatory effect upon the immune system[
646
Title
New Crops FactSheets
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/default.html
Publisher
Purdue University
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A website dedicated to giving information on potential new agricultural crops.
]. The part most commonly used is the stem bark[
646
Title
New Crops FactSheets
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/default.html
Publisher
Purdue University
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A website dedicated to giving information on potential new agricultural crops.
].
Cat's claw has many modern applications, which is a common trait of herbs with immune stimulatory activity, and includes: disease prevention, cancer, recovery from chemotherapy side effects, recovery from childbirth, urinary tract infections, wounds, fevers, haemorrhages, and weakness. Applications for cat’s claw which have had some clinical research include viral infections, pain and symptoms of Herpes infections, and for inflammatory conditions, such as Rheumatoid arthritis[
646
Title
New Crops FactSheets
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/default.html
Publisher
Purdue University
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A website dedicated to giving information on potential new agricultural crops.
].
Research has shown that the plant is anti-inflammatory, immune system stimulant, cytoprotective and antioxidant[
646
Title
New Crops FactSheets
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/default.html
Publisher
Purdue University
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A website dedicated to giving information on potential new agricultural crops.
].

The plant is astringent[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
]. An infusion of the whole plant is drunk to remedy dysentery.
The plant is burned and powdered, then used on wounds. It is made into a gargle to remedy mouth ulcers[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].

The leaves are used in the treatment of tuberculosis, coughs and colds[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].

The plant contains tannins[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].

Other Uses

The wood is a pale pinkish brown; straight-grained; coarse-textured; light in weight[
453
Title
Woods of Northeastern Peru
Publication
 
Author
Williams L.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
Field Museum Press; Chicago.
Year
1936
ISBN
 
Description
Gives information on the properties of the wood of well over 1,000 species of woody plants from northeastern Peru. Can be downloaded from the Internet.
].The stems are used in making furniture[
646
Title
New Crops FactSheets
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/default.html
Publisher
Purdue University
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A website dedicated to giving information on potential new agricultural crops.
].

Propagation

Seed - it has a very short viability and needs to be sown as soon as it is ripe[
646
Title
New Crops FactSheets
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/default.html
Publisher
Purdue University
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A website dedicated to giving information on potential new agricultural crops.
].
Stem cuttings about 20cm long[
646
Title
New Crops FactSheets
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/default.html
Publisher
Purdue University
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A website dedicated to giving information on potential new agricultural crops.
]. If the soil of the forest is moist enough, the cuttings are said to be easy to reproduce by directly inserting them into the forest floor. If the conditions are right, the roots develop soon after transplanting[
646
Title
New Crops FactSheets
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/default.html
Publisher
Purdue University
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A website dedicated to giving information on potential new agricultural crops.
].

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