Griffe du Chat, Liane du Pérou, Life-giving Vine of Peru, Peruvian Liana, Samento, Uña de Gato, Uncaria guianensis, Uncaria tomentosa.


Overview Information

Cat's claw is a vine. It grows in the rainforest in South and Central America. Two species of cat's claw are used as medicine. Uncaria tomentosa is most commonly used in the U.S. Uncaria guianensis is used in Europe. Medicine is made from the root and bark. Be careful not to confuse cat's claw with cat's foot.

Cat's claw is most commonly used for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). It is also used for cancer, viral infections, and other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): Some experts warn that cat's claw may interfere with the body's response against COVID-19. There is no strong data to support this warning. But there is also no good data to support using cat's claw for COVID-19.

How does it work?

Cat's claw contains chemicals that might stimulate the immune system, kill cancer cells, and fight viruses.


Uses & Effectiveness?

Possibly Effective for

  • Osteoarthritis. Taking a specific cat's claw (Uncaria guianensis) extract by mouth appears to relieve knee pain that occurs during physical activity. But it does not seem to decrease knee swelling or pain when resting.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Taking a specific cat's claw (Uncaria tomentosa) extract appears to improve symptoms of RA. When taken in combination with other RA medications for 24 weeks, cat's claw seems to reduce the number of painful and swollen joints.

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Cancer. Early research suggests that 100 mg of cat's claw extract taken three times daily for at least 8 weeks may help reduce tiredness and improve quality of life in some people with solid tumors.
  • A sexually transmitted infection that can lead to genital warts or cancer (human papillomavirus or HPV).
  • Alzheimer disease.
  • Asthma.
  • Birth control.
  • Brain tumor.
  • Chickenpox.
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
  • Cold sores (herpes labialis).
  • A type of inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn disease).
  • Diarrhea.
  • Eczema (atopic dermatitis).
  • Genital herpes.
  • Gonorrhea.
  • Hay fever.
  • Hemorrhoids.
  • Diseases caused by parasites.
  • Scaly, itchy skin (psoriasis).
  • Shingles (herpes zoster).
  • Stomach ulcers.
  • Swelling (inflammation) of the stomach (gastritis).
  • A type of inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis).
  • Wound healing.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate cat's claw for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

When taken by mouth: Cat's claw is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when taken short-term. It may cause headache, dizziness, and vomiting in some people.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy: There is some concern that cat's claw is POSSIBLY UNSAFE during pregnancy when taken by mouth. Avoid using.

Breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if cat's claw is safe to use when breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Auto-immune diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE), or other similar conditions: Cat's claw might cause the immune system to become more active. This could increase the symptoms of auto-immune diseases. If you have one of these conditions, it's best to avoid using cat's claw without consulting with your healthcare provider.

Bleeding disorders: Cat's claw might slow blood clotting. There is concern that cat's claw might increase the risk of bruising or bleeding in people with bleeding disorders.

Low blood pressure: There is some evidence that cat's claw might lower blood pressure. If your blood pressure is already low, this might be a problem.

Leukemia: Cat's claw might worsen this condition. Don't use it if you have leukemia.

Surgery: There is a concern that cat's claw might make blood pressure control difficult during surgery. Stop taking cat's claw at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.



Moderate Interaction

Be cautious with this combination

  • Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) substrates) interacts with CAT'S CLAW

    Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver.

    Cat's claw might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking cat's claw along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of some medications. Before taking cat's claw, talk to your healthcare provider if you are taking any medications that are changed by the liver.

    Some medications changed by the liver include lovastatin (Mevacor), ketoconazole (Nizoral), itraconazole (Sporanox), fexofenadine (Allegra), triazolam (Halcion), and many others.

  • Medications for high blood pressure (Antihypertensive drugs) interacts with CAT'S CLAW

    Cat's claw seems to decrease blood pressure. Taking cat's claw along with medications for high blood pressure might cause your blood pressure to go too low.

    Some medications for high blood pressure include captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), losartan (Cozaar), valsartan (Diovan), diltiazem (Cardizem), Amlodipine (Norvasc), hydrochlorothiazide (HydroDiuril), furosemide (Lasix), and many others.

  • Medications that decrease the immune system (Immunosuppressants) interacts with CAT'S CLAW

    Cat's claw might increase the immune system. By increasing the immune system cat's claw might decrease the effectiveness of medications that decrease the immune system.

    Some medications that decrease the immune system include azathioprine (Imuran), basiliximab (Simulect), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), daclizumab (Zenapax), muromonab-CD3 (OKT3, Orthoclone OKT3), mycophenolate (CellCept), tacrolimus (FK506, Prograf), sirolimus (Rapamune), prednisone (Deltasone, Orasone), corticosteroids (glucocorticoids), and others.



The following doses have been studied in scientific research:


  • For osteoarthritis: 100 mg daily of a specific freeze-dried cat's claw extract.
  • For rheumatoid arthritis (RA): 60 mg daily in three divided doses of a specific cat's claw extract.

View References


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