Traditionally used for cancer tumors, urinary
infections, and many other common ailments
Uña de Gato
[ pentacyclic alkaloid chemotype ]
Ground Root & Inner Bark
of Uña de Gato (Cat's Claw)
Code 320 -- Price: $9.95
Ground bark: 85 gr. (net wt)
Makes 4 Gallons of Tea
(Using 20 g. or ≅ 2/3 cup
to make one gallon)
Uña de Gato Capsules : Code 320C -- $6.50
(100 x 270 mg. veggie capsules)
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Summarized Description: Cat's Claw is one of our traditionals. The term "Cat's claw" is the common name for a several plants, so for the purposes of this page (and the representation of the product sold), it is meant to refer to the root and inner back of Peruvian U. tormentosa of the "pentacyclic variety," which is widely believed to be more medicinally active.
Leslie Taylor claims that "Cat's claw (U. tormentosa) has been used medicinally by the Arguaruna, Ashaninka, Cashibo, Conibo, and Shipibo tribes in Peru for at least 2,000 years" (1) -- a claim that Dr. James Duke finds dubious (2). In my work work with shamans, herbalists, and "curenderos" in both Ecuador and Peru, however, I can testify to its importance. One widely respected shaman and herbalist in Provincia de Napo who I became friends with in 2008 told me that few herbalists in his area of the Ecuadorean Amazon do not employ this plant as one of their tools for treating a wide variety of cancers.
at's Claw is powerful traditional from the Amazon, used as a healing agent by the indigenous to treat a wide variety of health conditions (see below).
Use & ProtocolI. Preparation --- if you can boil water, you can make this product: Professional herbalists will recognize this as a standard decoction.
Warnings / ContraindicationsDespite a lack of in-depth studies, Duke states, "I think it as innocuous as coffee," adding a reference that "like other immunostimulants . . . should be avoided in such immune disorders as HIV, MS, and tuberculosis." (3) Though widely used throughout the tribes that prize this plant, Duke also notes that Cat's Claw has not been shown to be safe for children and lactating or pregnant women.
Also reported by Duke: "McGuffin et al. (1997) cite Ken Jones who contraindicates for patients receiving organ transplants or skin grafts, hemophiliacs prescribed fresh blood plasma; simultaneous administration of certain vaccines, hormone therapies, insulin, thymus extracts; not for children under 3 years. Gruenwald et al. (2000) warn of precipitous drops in estradiol and progesterone serum levels, following 8 weeks of use. Extracts prevent estrogen from binding to estrogen receptors on breast cancer cells. As of July 2007, the FDA Poisonous Plant Database listed two titles alluding to toxicity of this species." (4)
Taylor's only cited contraindication is skin contact, which "may cause dermatitis and produce an allergic response." (5)
Shelf-LifeThis product is dehydrated, so its functional shelf-life is well in excess of two years.
Medicinal ActivitiesFurther information for practitioners: World-famous botanist Dr. James Duke attributes the following activities to this plant (p. 728-729; see hardcopy cover at right), drawn from the extant literature. (See his graduation for "level of efficacy" on our amazon traditionals page; followed by Duke's bibliographic abbreviations (in capital letters), which we identify on a separate page.)
IndicationsFurther information for practitioners: Duke provides the following indications for this plant:
All the materials used to make our Ajo Té are wild-crafted and harvested from deep in the the provinces of Pastaza and Moreno Santiago, near the Peruvian border. There are no cultivated varieties. Click photo to enlarge.
Dosages &Duke provides a "food pharmacy potential" score for this plant of, "FNFF=!" ("Survival food . . . questionable"). This makes sense as no one I have encountered in South America uses it as a food source. Kingberg notes that Cat's Claw is not even found in any register of Peruvian healing plants (despite its many, obvious medicinal properties), as it is regarded as a "religious plant" -- despite not being used as an entheogenic. (6)
Dosages and protocols vary widely according to indication and culture. Duke notes: "Bark decoction used to wash deep wounds, 2X/day (MCK). 20g root bark / liter of water (HH3); one gram root / cup tea, 3X/day (SKY); 30 grams powdered root / 800 ml. water simmered to 500 ml. (PH2); one tsp. decoction (SF); one cup decoction, 2X/day (RAI); 2-4 ml. tincture, 2X / day (RAI); one to two ml. tincture 1-2x/day (SKY); 1-2 (500 mg.) bark capsules, 3x/day (NH); 2 (505mg.) StX capsules/day (NH); 20-60 mg. StX. Fernando Cabieses seems to believe the folk conceptive dosage; boiling 11-13 pounds root until it is reduced to one cup (pretty tricky)." (7)
[ We don't recommending using this plant as a contraceptive. Cow's Foot is far more commonly used for this purpose.]
Here are other ethnobotanical uses cited by Duke (8):
How Uña de Gato
Is Sold Locally
Uña de Gato is revered for its its medicinal properties throughout Ecuador and Peru. The image above (enlarge) shows a package label as the product may be found throughout both countries.
A translation of the label reads as follows:
"Medicinal Plant from Our Amazon: UÑA DE GATO.
"It is one of the medicinal plants of Peru known worldwide whose curative powers are extraordinary. [Analyzed by Klaus Keplinger]."
Following user instructions, the common indications for its use are given: "For lung cancer, pneumococcal bronchitis, rheumatism, allergies, internal tumors, cyst, impacted gallbladder, ulcers, scars, and has been known to cure cases of AIDS. [Product of Peru]