Uncaria tomentosa - (Willd. ex Schult.) DC.
Common Name Cat's Claw
Family Rubiaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Typical of primary forest, but also found in disturbed forest and rarely in secondary forest[646 ].
Range S. America - Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, the Guyanas; Caribbean - Trinidad;
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating  
Tender Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

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Uncaria tomentosa Cat

Uncaria tomentosa Cat
Vangeliq.petrova wikimedia.org
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of climber
Uncaria tomentosa is an evergreen Climber growing to 25 m (82ft) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10. Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Cinchona globifera Pav. ex DC. Nauclea aculeata Kunth Nauclea polycephala A.Rich. ex DC. Nauclea sur

Edible Uses
The stems are a source of a potable sap that is used to quench thirst and as a restorative drink[331 , 646 ]. A watery, astringent taste[646 ].
Medicinal Uses
Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

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[646 ]. Applied externally, it is used as a wash for wounds in order to promote healing, to cleanse the skin of impurities etc[646 ]. The plant is widely used in modern herbal medicine, where it is primarily valued for its stimulatory effect upon the immune system[646 ]. The part most commonly used is the stem bark[646 ]. 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 ]. Research has shown that the plant is anti-inflammatory, immune system stimulant, cytoprotective and antioxidant[646 ]. The whole plant is used in a gargle to remedy mouth ulcers[348 ].


Other Uses
Other Uses: The stems are used in making furniture[646 ].
Cultivation details
A plant of mainly low elevations in the tropics, where it can usually be found at elevations up to 300 metres. Grows best in dappled shade[646 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.2 - 7.7[646 ]. In some parts of the Atlantic coast of Central America the plant is reported to become a troublesome weed in banana plantations[331 ]. 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 ].
Seed - it has a very short viability and needs to be sown as soon as it is ripe[646 ]. Stem cuttings about 20cm long[646 ]. 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 ].
Other Names
bejuco de agua, cat's claw, cat's thorn, cat's-claw, cat`s claw, cat’s claw, cortex uncariae, deixa, garabato, garabato amarillo, garabato colorado, garra gavilán, hank's clay, jipotatsa, katzenkralle, kug kukjaqui, micho-mentis, paotati-mosha, paraguyayo, rangaya, saventaro, toroñ, tsachik, tua juncara, una-de-gato, uncariae tomentosae cortex, uncariae tomentosae radix, uncucha, unganangi, unha de gato, uña de gato, uña de gato colorada, uña de gato de altura, uña de gato, corteza, uña-de-gato.
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

In some parts of the Atlantic coast of Central America the plant is reported to become a troublesome weed in banana plantations[331 ].
Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed
Related Plants


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Expert comment
(Willd. ex Schult.) DC.
Botanical References
Links / References
For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.
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Subject : Uncaria tomentosa  

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