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
Cat's claw is an evergreen, spiny climbing shrub scrambling into other plants and attaching itself by means of its stout, recurved spines[
Cat’s claw is a popular medicinal herb, mainly gathered from the wild or semi-cultivated, and traded in many countries[
S. America - Paraguay, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, the Guyanas; north to Trinidad.
Found mainly in secondary forest[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Semi-cultivated, Wild
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[
]. Prefers a pH in the range 4.4 - 6.2[
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[
The stems are a source of a potable sap that is used to quench thirst and as a restorative drink[
]. A watery, astringent taste[
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[
The plant is widely used in modern herbal medicine, where it is primarily valued for its stimulatory effect upon the immune system[
]. The part most commonly used is the stem bark[
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[
Research has shown that the plant is anti-inflammatory, immune system stimulant, cytoprotective and antioxidant[
The plant is astringent[
]. 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[
The leaves are used in the treatment of tuberculosis, coughs and colds[
The plant contains tannins[
The wood is a pale pinkish brown; straight-grained; coarse-textured; light in weight[
].The stems are used in making furniture[
Seed - it has a very short viability and needs to be sown as soon as it is ripe[
Stem cuttings about 20cm long[
]. 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[
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