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Other Names:

Antitumor Angiogenesis Factor (anti-TAF), Bovine Tracheal Cartilage (BTC), Cartilage Trachéal de Bovins, Cartílago Bovino, Catrix, Catrix-S, Collagen Bovine, Collagène Bovin, Glycosaminoglycan Polysulphuric Acid Complex, Processed Bovine Cartila...
See All Names

BOVINE CARTILAGE Overview Information

Cartilage is a substance in the body that provides structural support. Bovine cartilage comes from cows (bovine). People sometimes use bovine cartilage as medicine.

Bovine cartilage is taken by mouth or injected under the skin (given subcutaneously) for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), osteoarthritis, ulcerative colitis, skin conditions such as scleroderma and psoriasis, herpes infection, brain cancer (glioblastoma multiforme), and other cancers.

It is also taken by mouth for allergic reactions caused by chemical toxins.

Bovine cartilage is applied directly to the skin (used topically) for wounds that won’t heal; external hemorrhoids and rectal itching; and skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, and dermatitis caused by poison oak or poison ivy. It is also used for “dry socket,” a painful complication of tooth extraction.

Bovine cartilage is sometimes applied to the anus for internal hemorrhoids and anal tears.

Health providers sometimes give bovine cartilage as a shot (injection into the muscle) for osteoarthritis.

How does it work?

Bovine cartilage might work by providing chemicals needed for rebuilding cartilage in people with osteoarthritis. It might also help reduce swelling and help wounds heal more effectively.

BOVINE CARTILAGE Uses & Effectiveness What is this?

Possibly Effective for:

  • Acne. Applying bovine cartilage to the skin seems to help reduce acne.
  • Rectal tears. Bovine cartilage may help reduce symptoms of rectal tears when applied externally on the rectum.
  • Anal itching. Bovine cartilage may help reduce symptoms of anal itching when applied externally on the rectum.
  • Hemorrhoids. Bovine cartilage may help reduce symptoms of hemorrhoids when applied externally on the rectum.
  • "Dry socket" after tooth extraction. When bovine cartilage is applied externally it seems to help with mandibular alveolitis or “dry socket” after tooth extraction.
  • Osteoarthritis. When bovine cartilage is injected under the skin it may help decrease symptoms of osteoarthritis. However, bovine cartilage does not seem to be beneficial when injected into the muscle.
  • Skin reaction caused by poison oak and poison ivy. Using bovine cartilage cream on the skin seems to help with symptoms of poison oak and poison ivy.
  • Psoriasis. Applying bovine cartilage to the skin or injecting it under the skin for 6 weeks may improve symptoms of psoriasis.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA). When bovine cartilage is injected under the skin it may help reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Wound healing. Research suggests that applying a specific ointment (Catrix 10) containing powdered bovine cartilage to the skin helps reduce skin redness, swelling, and erosion following a laser procedure on the face.

Possibly Ineffective for:

  • Treating osteoarthritis when given in the muscle.

Insufficient Evidence for:

  • Ulcerative colitis.
  • Cancer.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of bovine cartilage for these uses.

BOVINE CARTILAGE Side Effects & Safety

Bovine cartilage is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth, applied to the skin, or administered as a shot into the muscle or below the skin for medicinal purposes. It can cause side effects such as diarrhea, nausea, swelling, local redness, and itching.

There is some concern about the possibility of catching "mad cow disease" (bovine spongiform encephalitis, BSE) or other diseases from products that come from animals. "Mad cow disease" does not appear to be transmitted through cartilage products, but it is probably wise to avoid animal products from countries where mad cow disease has been found.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking bovine cartilage if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

BOVINE CARTILAGE Interactions What is this?

We currently have no information for BOVINE CARTILAGE Interactions


The following doses have been studied in scientific research:


  • For itchiness near the anus (anal pruritus): A 5% cream applied two or more times daily.
  • For acne: A 5% cream applied at least twice daily after washing.
  • For soreness in the gum after a tooth is pulled: Powdered bovine cartilage mixed with salt water to form a paste, packed into the dry socket following tooth extraction.
  • As a stool softener for hemorrhoids and cracked skin around the anus: 2.2 grams of bovine cartilage in the form of a 2% suppository inserted at least three times daily along with 100 mg of dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate (DSS) taken by mouth twice daily.
  • Healthcare providers give bovine cartilage by injection (shot) under the skin for osteoarthritis and psoriasis.
  • Healthcare providers give bovine cartilage by injection (shot) into the muscle for osteoarthritis.

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Conditions of Use and Important Information: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version. © Therapeutic Research Faculty 2009.

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