Answers For YOUR Health

      Using Mother Nature's Gifts
Common Sense and Modern Medicine

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Cat's Claw -- Una De Gato

Cat's claw, also know as Una de Gato, is, in my opinion, a must have for everyone. It is useful in cleaning the intestinal tract, enhancing the power of white blood cells, and is both an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Guess that is why it is so helpful in dealing with colds and flu.

Early research has show that Cat's Claw is helpful for people with AIDS, arthritis, cancer, tumors, and ulcers.

Good quality Una De Gato is made from the inner bark only.

The chemical and nutrient content is from plant sterols, polyphenols, proanthocyanidins, oxindole alkaloids, quinovic acid glycosides and triterpenes.

Oh my gosh, what does all that mean.

  • Anti-inflammatory,  
  • anti-ulcer,  
  • anticancerous,
  • antidepressant,  
  • antileukemic,  
  • antimutagenic,  
  • antioxidant,  
  • antitumorous,  
  • antiviral,  
  • cellular protector,
  • contraceptive,  
  • immune stimulant.

Other Properties/Actions Documented by Traditional Use:

  • Analgesic,
  • anticoagulant,
  • antidysenteric,
  • depurative,
  • detoxifier,
  • diuretic,
  • gastrototonic,
  • hypocholesterolemic

A vine that grows in the highland rainforest's of Peru,una de gato may take more than two decades to mature. It is known to climb trees more than 100 feet tall.

It also grows thorns resembling the claws of a cat (hence its name). In order to protect this highly valued herb, the Peruvian government restricts harvesting of the root. Only the inner bark is harvested, leaving the root untouched and able to regenerate for many years to come. The inner bark provides all the beneficial alkaloid found in una de gato.

from Amazon herbs

  • Immune stimulant and adjunctive therapy for cancer (to reduce chemotherapy side effects and protect cells).
  • Bowel cleanser and anti-inflammatory for Crohn's, colitis, diverticulitis, IBS, and other bowel problems.
  • Anti-inflammatory for arthritis (all kinds), and muscle pains/strains/injuries.
  • General daily tonic (immune modulator, antimutagenic, cellular protector, antioxidant).
  • Ulcers (stomach ulcers, ulcerative colitis, and as a ulcer preventative/ stomach and bowel protector).

Cautions: Do not use before or after an organ or bone marrow transplant. Might thin the blood.

Pregnant women should not take Cats Claw.

Scientific name: Uncaria tomentosa

Sometimes known as: Paraguayo, Garabato, Garbato casha, Samento, Tambor huasca, Aun huasca, Una de gavilan, Hawk's claw

Some quotes from the "authorities". increased attention is being placed upon "Nature's Pharmacy", the botanical or herbal nutrients that offer so much hope.

In referring to cat's claw, Newsweek reported that this "rain forest herb has been long used to treat asthma, ulcers, and cancer. ("Nature's Biggest Sellers", Newsweek, November 6, 1995, page 68) In an article in Newlife, this herb was described as having so many therapeutic uses that it far surpasses such well known botanicals as Echinacea, Golden Seal, Astragalus, Siberian Ginseng, as well as Reishi and Shiitake mushrooms. ("Cat's Claw - A Wonder Herb from the Peruvian Rain Forest, Newlife, February, 1995)

Excerpted from the book: Herbs of the Amazon - Traditional and Common Uses, by Dr. Donna Schwontkowski, Doctor of Chiropractic:

"Una de Gato is considered one of the most important botanicals in the rain forest. In Peru, Una de Gato tea is used as a medicinal herb with almost unlimited curative properties. This herb is a powerful cellular rejuvenator. It has been used for the treatment of gastritis (inflammation of the stomach), ulcers, cancer, arthritis, rheumatism, irregularities of the female cycle, and acne. It is also used to treat organic depression. External applications of Una de Gato include the treatment of wounds, fungus, fistulas and hemorrhoids. European research shows that Una de Gato activates the immune system by increasing lymphocytic (white blood cell) activity."

Excerpted from the book: Traditional Uses of Rainforest Botanicals by John Easterling:

 "It is considered one of the most important botanicals in the Rainforest. By supporting and enhancing immune system function, Una de Gato is indicated in a broad spectrum of conditions including all types of infections. Urarina tribesman of Peru tell stories of Una de Gato curing tumors. Una de Gato was one of the plants researched by the National Institute for Health as an anti-cancer agent. Studies from various laboratories indicate it normalizes the immunoglobins by activating T-lymphocytes and macrophages."

Excerpted from the book: Powerful and Unusual Herbs from the Amazon and China, Published by the World Preservation Society:

"Una de Gato from the Peruvian rain forest is a favorite for stimulating the immune system. World wide research done on this powerful herb has led scientists to patent many of the single chemicals found in it for use in healing cancer, arthritis, AIDS, and other diseases. However, traditional wisdom shows that using the whole plant can be far more powerful than any one isolated ingredient."

To play devils advocate I am also including an article against Cats claw. Please note the dates on this article 1991 and l995. A lot has changed in 10 years.

Cat's Claw Not Effective against Cancer William T. Jarvis, Ph.D.
Una de Gato (the English translation of which is cat's claw), can involve either of two herbs whose scientific names are Uncaria tomentosa and Uncaria guianensis. It is being quacked as "a wondrous herb from the Peruvian rain forest," thus capitalizing upon the current fascination with rain forest explorations. Reports in the fringe literature typically state that the herb is used to treat cancer by people in Peru and then add scientific-sounding information.

A scientific report in the Journal of Natural Products (1991;54:453-9) states that researchers isolated six new quinovic acid glycosides from cat's claw samples. Oral doses inhibited edema (swelling) but showed no significant anti-inflammatory action on experimentally induced edema in a rat's paw.

Because of anecdotal reports of cat's claw use as a folk remedy for cancer, the National Cancer Institute has tested samples. In 1995, an official at NCI's Natural Products Branch informed me that cat's claw had been put through the cancer and AIDS screens but did not show sufficient activity to warrant further testing. Investigation Drugs Branch fax 11/08/95

Additional Resources
Cat's claw. Lawrence Review of Natural Products April, 1996
Cerri. New quinovic acid glycosides from Uncaria tomentosa J Natural Products 1988;51:257-
Duke J. The Herb Report: Una De Gato The American Herb Association 1994;10
Uncaria tomentosa Amazonian Ethnobiological Dictionary p.172
Tyler V. The Honest Herbal, Haworth, 1993.
© 1996 National Council Against Health Fraud. With proper citation, this article may be reproduced for noncommercial purposes


Opinions, speculation, it is enough to make your head spin.

Bottom line, it will not hurt you to take Cats claw, and it may just do you a world of good.



The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated this page's information. The products described are intended solely as food supplements to enhance general health, and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Nothing listed here should be considered as medical advice for dealing with a given problem. You should consult your health care professional for individual guidance for specific health problems.

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