Cat’s Claw

Cat’s Claw (Unicaria tomentosa) Bark Extract (3% Oxindole Alkaloids) – 100 mg 

What is Cat’s Claw Bark Extract?

Uncaria tomentosa, commonly known as Cat’s Claw, belongs to the Rubiaceae family. Its name comes from its hooked thorns, which resemble the claws of a cat. Cat’s claw is a vine native to Central and South America, the bark of which has been used in traditional medicine to treat various conditions such as gastric, inflammatory disorders, infections, cancer, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s disease. 

What does it help with in the body? 

Uncaria tomentosa has been used in the treatment of various conditions like urinary tract infection (UTI), gastric ulcers, arthritis, viral infection, and various types of inflammation in the body. They are known to have a strong anti-DNV effect by lowering infected cell rates and cytokine activities, reducing the production of IFN-α, IL-10, and TNF-α. 

What have the studies shown?

Cat’s Claw is marketed as a dietary supplement to support the body’s natural defenses, for digestive and joint health, and as a general health tonic.

Cat’s Claw may help to boost your immune system while helping fight infections more effectively while simultaneously calming an overactive immune system. In lab experiments, compounds from Cat’s Claw stimulated specific immune cells known as phagocytes and T-helper cells. Other lab studies suggest Cat’s Claw may enhance DNA repair, or reduce inflammation and some chemotherapy side effects. 

A small study in 27 men found that consuming 700 mg of cat’s claw extract for 2 months increased their number of white blood cells, which are involved in combating infections. Another small study in four men given cat’s claw extract for six weeks noted the same results.

Cat’s Claw’s anti-inflammatory properties could be responsible for its immune benefits, and these also may relieve symptoms of osteoarthritis. In one study in 45 people with osteoarthritis in the knee, taking 100 mg of cat’s claw extract for 4 weeks resulted in reduced pain during physical activity. No side effects were reported. 

In an eight-week study, a supplement of cat’s claw and maca root — a Peruvian medicinal plant — reduced pain and stiffness in people with osteoarthritis. In addition, participants needed pain medication less frequently. 

Cat’s Claw may help to alleviate symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). Rheumatoid arthritis is a long-term autoimmune condition that causes warm, swollen, painful joints. It is increasing in prevalence in the United States, where it affects more than 1.28 million adults. For example, a study in 40 people with rheumatoid arthritis determined that 60 mg of cat’s claw extract per day alongside regular medication resulted in a 29% reduction in the number of painful joints compared to a control group. Although these results are promising, the evidence is weak.

Cat’s claw contains several powerful compounds — such as phenolic acids, alkaloids, and flavonoids — that may promote health.

However, there is currently not enough research to support many of its supposed benefits, including for the following conditions:

  • cancer
  • viral infections
  • anxiety
  • allergies
  • high blood pressure
  • gout
  • stomach and bowel disorders
  • asthma
  • ovarian cysts
  • AIDS

Due to the lack of research, it’s unclear whether cat’s claw is an effective or safe treatment option for any of these ailments.

What are some contraindications?

While side effects of Cat’s Claw are rarely reported, available information to determine its overall safety is currently insufficient.

The high levels of tannins in Cat’s Claw may cause some side effects — including nausea, stomach upset, and diarrhea — if consumed in large amounts.

It is generally advised that the following groups of people should avoid or limit cat’s claw:

  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women. Cat’s Claw is not considered safe to take during pregnancy or breastfeeding due to a lack of safety information.
  • People taking certain medications. As Cat’s Claw may interfere with some drugs, such as those for blood clotting, you should speak to your doctor before taking it.  


For more information about Caw’s Claw: 

Compare to: Pure Encapsulations – Cat’s Claw ($43)