The Storey of Cat’s Claw for Dogs

What is Cat’s Claw?

Cat’s claw is a plant. There are two species of cat’s claw, Uncaria tomentosa and Uncaria guianensis, which are of primary interest for use as medicine. Uncaria tomentosa is most commonly used in the U.S., and Uncaria guianensis is typically used in Europe.

Medicine is made from the root and bark. Cat’s claw was ranked as the seventh most popular herb in U.S. sales in 1997. Be careful not to confuse cat’s claw with cat’s foot.

Cat’s claw is most commonly used for improving symptoms of both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. It is also used for various digestive system disorders including swelling and pain (inflammation) of the large intestine (diverticulitis), inflammation of the lower bowel (colitis), inflammation of the lining of the stomach (gastritis), stomach ulcers, hemorrhoids, and leaky bowel syndrome.

Some people use cat’s claw for viral infections including shingles (caused by herpeszoster), cold sores (caused by herpes simplex), and AIDS (caused by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)).Cat’s claw is also used for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), wound healing, parasites, Alzheimer’s disease, asthma, hay fever, cancer (especially urinary tract cancer), a particular type of brain cancer called glioblastoma, gonorrhea, dysentery, birth control, bone pains, and “cleansing” the kidneys.

Some other names for Cat’s Claw are Griffe du Chat, Liane du Pérou, Life-giving Vine of Peru, Samento, Uña de Gato, Uncaria guianensis, Uncaria tomentosa.

What is in Cat’s Claw?

Uncaria tomentosa (Willd. ex Schult.) DC. (Rubiaceae) popularly known as cat’s claw or “Uña de Gato”, is a woody vine native to the Amazon rainforest and widely dispersed through other tropical areas of South and Central America.1,2 Paired hook-like thorns rising from outstanding peduncles have originated its common name.2 The cat’s claw bark has been used in the Asháninka medicine for over two thousand years.2 Hitherto the main bioactive compounds that were recognized are: (I) oxindole alkaloids, mainly tetracyclic (TOA) and pentacyclic oxindole alkaloids (POA);1,2 (II) quinovic acid glycosides (QAG),1,3 and (III) polyphenols (PPH) such as phenolic acids, flavonoids, and proanthocyanidins.1,4 Immunostimulant, antiviral, antitumor, anti-mutagenic, and anti-inflammatory activities have been ascribed to the pentacyclic oxindole alkaloids,1,2,5 but also to flavonoids and proanthocyanidins,68 and quinovic acid glycosides from cat’s claw stem bark.1,9 Owing to the still incipient status of cat’s claw forest management, the stem bark is collected mostly from wild populations.10,11 This would appear to explain the chemical heterogeneity often reported among samples from different geographic origin, climate conditions, and plant growth conditions.2,10,12,13 A further explanation of this heterogeneity probably involves the influence of different types of extraction; including drying and separation procedures used in cat’s claw extracts and derived products. Indeed, previous studies showed that cat’s claw oxindole alkaloid isomerization can take place under mild process conditions such as those found in turbo-extraction, static maceration, and spray drying despite the very transient thermal effect.14,15 Conversely, dynamic maceration and ultrasound-assisted extraction seem to be two techniques of choice aiming to preserve the original cat’s claw oxindole alkaloid profile.14 Exploratory multivariate analyses, such as principal component analysis (PCA) and hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA), have been applied increasingly to establish relevant but sometime hidden relationships between variables and observations in rather complex systems, including plants.1618


  • If your dog or cat has low blood pressure the use of Cat’s Claw may further lower blood pressure;
  • If your dog or cat has leukemia do not give him/her Cat’s Claw;
  • If your dog or cat has lupus, do not give him/her Cat’s Claw;
  • Stop giving Cat’s Claw two (2) weeks prior to a scheduled surgery


  • Medications changed by the liver;
  • Medications for high blood pressure;
  • Medications that decrease the immune system (i.e. corticosteroid medicines, cyclosporine, prednisone, etc.) as Cat’s Claw is an immune system booster and contains natural cortisone.


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2.  Keplinger, K.; Laus, G.; Wurm, M.; Dierich, M. P.; Teppner, H.; J. Ethnopharmacol. 1999, 64, 23. [ Links ]

3.  Pavei, C.; Kaiser, S.; Verza, S. G.; Borré, G. L.; Ortega, G. G.; J. Pharm. Biomed. Anal. 2012, 62, 250. [ Links ]

4.  Pavei, C.; Kaiser, S.; Borré, G. L.; Ortega, G. G.; J. Liq. Chromatogr. Relat. Technol. 2010, 33, 1. [ Links ]

5.  Kaiser, S.; Dietrich, F.; De Resende, P. E.; Verza, S. G.; Moraes, R. C.; Morrone, F. B.; Battastini, A. M. O.; Ortega, G. G.; Planta Med. 2013, 79, 1413. [ Links ]

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8.  Lenzi, R. M.; Campestrini, L. H.; Okumura, L. M.; Bertol, G.; Kaiser, S.; Ortega, G. G.; Gomes, E. M.; Bovo, F.; Zawadzki-Baggio, S. F.; Stevan-Hancke, F. R.; Maurer, J. B. B.; Food Res. Int. 2013, 53, 767. [ Links ]

9.  Dietrich, F.; Kaiser, S.; Rockenbach, L.; Figueiró, F.; Bergamin, L. S.; Cunha, F. M.; Morrone, F. B.; Ortega, G. G.; Battastini, A. M. O.; Food Chem. Toxicol. 2014, 67, 222. [ Links ]

10.  Torrejón, G. D.; Martín, J. J. G.; Loayza, D. G.; Alanoca, R.; Revista de la Sociedad de Química del Perú 2010, 76, 271. [ Links ]

11.  Torrejón, G. D.; Uña de gato y producción sostenible, 1st ed., Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina Publifor: Lima, 1997. [ Links ]

12.  Laus, G.; Brossner, D.; Keplinger, K.; Phytochemistry 1997, 45, 855. [ Links ]

13.  Luna-Palencia, G. R.; Huerta-Heredia, A. A.; Cerda-García-Rojas, C. M.; Ramos-Valdivia, A. C.; Biotechnol. Lett. 2013, 35, 791. [ Links ]

14.  Kaiser, S.; Verza, S. G.; Moraes, R. C.; De Resende, P. E.; Barreto, F.; Pavei, C.; Ortega, G. G.; Quim. Nova 2013, 36, 808. [ Links ]

15.  Pavei, C.; Borré, G. L.; Kaiser, S.; Ortega, G. G.; Lat. Am. J. Pharm. 2011, 30, 608. [ Links ]

16.  Brereton, R. G.; Chemometrics: Data analysis for the laboratory systems and chemical plants, 1st ed., John Wiley & Sons Ltda: Chichester, 2003. [ Links ]

17.  Hair, J. F.; Anderson, R. E.; Tatham, R. L.; Black, W. C.; Análise multivariada de dados, 5th ed., Bookman: Porto Alegre, 2005. [ Links ]

18.  Gad, H. A.; El-Ahmady, S. H.; Abou-Shoer, M. I.; Al-Azizi, M. M.; Phytochem. Anal. 2013, 24, 1; Besten, M. A.; Nunes, D. S.; Wisniewski, A. J.; Sens, S. L.; Granato, D.; Simionatto, E. L.; Scharf, D. R.; Dalmarco, J. B.; Quim. Nova 2013, 36, 1096; Martins, G. F.; Pereira, M. D. P.; Lopes, L. M. X.; da Silva, T.; Vieira e Rosa, P. T.; Barbosa, F. P.; Messiano, G. B.; Krettli, A. U.; Quim. Nova 2014, 37, 281. [ Links ]

19.  Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Country Pasture/Forage Resource Profiles. accessed on December 2013. [ Links ]

20.  Kaiser, S.; Verza, S. G.; Moraes, R. C.; Pittol, V.; Peñaloza, E. M. C.; Pavei, C.; Ortega, G. G.; Ind. Crops Prod. 2013, 48, 153. [ Links ]

21.  United States Pharmacopeia, 37th ed., U.S. Pharmacopeia: Rockville, 2014. [ Links ]

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23.  Zhou, J.; Zhou, S.; J. Ethnopharmacol. 2010, 132, 15. [ Links ]

24.  Laus, G.; Keplinger, D.; J. Chromatogr. A 1994, 662, 243. [ Links ]

25.  Shellard, E. J.; Houghton, P. J.; Planta Med. 1974, 25, 80. [ Links ]

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