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Cat's Claw

Scientific Name(s)

Uncaria tomentosa, Uncaria guianensis

Common Name(s)

cat's claw, uña de gato

  • How is this product usually used?
  • What is this product used for?

      Cat's claw has been used for different purposes, including:

      • colitis
      • osteoarthritis
      • rheumatoid arthritis
      • diverticulitis
      • peptic ulcer
      • gastritis
      • Alzheimer's disease
      • herpes zoster
      • herpes simplex
      • HIV
      • birth control
      • asthma
      • gonorrhea
      • cancer (especially urinary tract cancer)
      • dysentery

      Your health care provider may have recommended this product for other conditions. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.

  • What else should I be aware of?

      Studies suggest that cat's claw (a specific freeze-dried extractextractto get, separate, or isolate a desired active ingredient) may help improve symptoms of osteoarthritis. Other studies suggest that a combination of cat's claw and maca is effective at reducing pain and stiffness, as well as improving function. It is important to ask your doctor or pharmacist if this supplement is right for you before starting it.

      A specific form of cat's claw (containing a type of chemical called pentacyclic oxindole alkaloids, but free of tetracyclic oxindole alkaloids) appears to modestly improve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis when taken together with traditional rheumatoid arthritis medications such as sulfasalazine or hydroxychloroquine.

      There is currently no reliable evidence available for the effectiveness of cat's claw for other uses. More rigorous studies are needed.

      Cat's claw appear to be well-tolerated when taken by mouth for short term use. There are some reports of dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

      Cat's claw can slow blood clotting. When it is taken with other medications that can affect your body's ability to clot blood, cat's claw can increase the chance of bleeding.

      Women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant should avoid using cat's claw because of its past use as a contraceptive.

      There may be an interaction between cat's claw and the following medications:

      • blood-pressure-lowering medications (e.g., furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide, metoprolol, ramipril, valsartan, amlodipine)
      • blood thinning medications (e.g., warfarin, clopidogrel, ASA)
      • immunosuppressants (e.g., cyclosporine, azathioprine, prednisone)
      • HIV medications (e.g., amprenavir, nelfinavir, ritonavir, saquinavir)
      • medications that are affected by certain liver enzymes (e.g., ketoconazole, itraconazole, triazolam, lovastatin)

      Before taking any new medications, including natural health products, speak to your physician, pharmacist, or other health care provider. Tell your health care provider about any natural health products you may be taking.


      *All medications have both common (generic) and brand names. The brand name is what a specific manufacturer calls the product (e.g., Tylenol®). The common name is the medical name for the medication (e.g., acetaminophen). A medication may have many brand names, but only one common name. This article lists medications by their common names. For information on a given medication, check our Drug Information database. For more information on brand names, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

  • Source(s)

All material © 1996-2019 MediResource Inc. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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