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Sacred Herb of the rain forest

The native Indian tribes of Peru consider Cat's Claw to be a sacred herb because of it's seemingly almost unlimited therapeutic applications. Truly it is a treasure beyond measure, re-discovered as the wonder herb of the 21st Century

Cat's Claw - Wonder Herb of the 21st Century

"Una de Gato from the Peruvian rain forest is a favorite for stimulating the immune system. World wide research done on this powerful herb has led scientists to patent many of the single chemicals found in it for use in healing cancer, arthritis, AIDS nd other diseases. However traditional wisdom shows that using the whole plant can be far more powerful than any one isolated ingredient." (Excerpt from the book: "Powerful and Unusual Herbs" from the Amazon and China, published by the World reservation Society).

This Miraculous herb has been used for hundreds, if not thousands, of years by the Ashaninka Indians of Peru to stimulate the immune system and treat a wide variety of health problems. Cat's Claw, scientifically known in Latin as 'Uncaria tomentosa ' and as 'Una de Gato ' in Spanish, is a large woody vine that is found at high elevations in the rain forest. These slow growing vines take 20 years to reach maturity and grow to be more than 100 feet in length. The herb is aptly named because the vines have cat's claw like thorns that attach to the trees enabling the vines to wind round and grow up into the trees. The native Indian tribes traditionally have boiled the inner bark and root of the herb to make a tea concoction and regard una de gato as a sacred medicinal plant. I will use the three names for the herb interchangeably in this summary as appropriate. There are over 60 species of Uncaria which grow throughout the world including one found in the southern United States that is also called Cat's Claw or Una de Gato. It is the Uncaria tomentosa variety which only comes from Peru that has documented medicinal properties. When purchasing Cat's Claw be sure to read the label because many products called Cat's Claw are not Uncaria tomentosa. The inner bark and the root of the plant contain almost identical properties; so in order to protect the plant species, the Peruvian government has made it illegal to harvest or disturb the root of the plant. Cat's Claw is ecologically harvested by cutting the plant three feet from the ground. It then re-grows in three to four years. Spanish product labels suggest the curative properties of Una de Gato to be almost unlimited. People seem to get similar results whether using the tea or capsule form of the herb. When brewed properly the tea is very bitter; for that reason most people prefer the capsules.

The Medicine Woman

Perhaps the first person outside the indigenous Indian culture to use the tea was Don Luis, a 78 year old Peruvian plantation owner. In 1972 Don Luis was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and went home to die by his doctors. One of his sons asked an &old indian medicine woman" for help. She told him to give his father Una de Gato tea. Don Luis drank the tea several times a day. In six months he had no signs of the cancer. He remained robust and healthy, and lived to be 90 years old. In these modern times we have developed a vast variety of pharmaceutical drugs which are mostly derived from chemicals extracted from plants or synthetically prepared to replicate a chemical from a plant. Almost everything we know today about healing the body with chemicals comes from the history and practice of herbal medicine. Often there are serious side effects from the use of drugs. They do not treat the cause of disease, but focus on alleviating symptoms. When using natural foods and herbs the focus is on prevention and treatment of disease by strengthening the body and boosting the immune system through nourishment and detoxification. Newspapers, magazines and television are constantly shocking us with expose's about the side effects, damage and diseases caused by a particular drug. Antibiotic resistant disease has reached epidemic proportions in the world. Many people are now turning back to nature for safe and effective alternatives for protecting and supporting the immune system and treating illness.

Uncaria tomentosa Research

Most popular herbs which have a long tradition of use in Western or Asian cultures have been written up in various books on folk medicine, traditional medicine, or in standard Pharmacopoeia textbooks. Cat's Claw is in a class of herbs without much written history because the natives of the South American rain forests have an oral, not written, tradition. Therefore, there are no writings to document the historical uses of the plant. In his book, Tales of a Shaman's Apprentice, Mark J. Plotkin, Ph.D. states that: "Every time a shaman dies, it is as if a library burned down." Botanical references to Uncaria tomentosa go back as far as the late 1700s. The first chemical study performed on the species was conducted in France in 1952. Una de Gato was "re-discovered by Austrian scientist, Dr. Klaus Keplinger, during a trip to Peru in 1974 when he learned of the herb's effectiveness through an Ashanica Indian working with Doctors in the jungle. Since then world wide chemical, pharmacological, and clinical studies has been conducted by several Peruvian research facilities; the University of Innsbruck in Austria, the University of Munich in Germany, the Hunington Research Center in England, the central Research Institute of Chemistry in Hungary, the University of Milan in Italy, and the University of Naples in Italy. There are currently at least seven clinical studies being conducted around the world at this time.

Cat's Claw is endorsed by many of the worlds leading immunologists and herbal doctors. Dr. Donna Schwontkowski, who wrote the wonderful book, "Herbs from the Amazon," stated that Cat's Claw "is the most powerful immune enhancing herb of all the herbs native to the Peruvian Amazon." In his article titled, New World Class Herb for A.K. Practice, Dr. Brent Davis, D.C., describes his research which began in 1988 and his subsequent clinical evaluations of the herb, continuing to the present. Dr. Davis states that "Uncaria tomentosa is a world class herb which has the power to arrest and reverse deep seated pathologies allowing a more rapid return to health." Many authorities feel that Cat's Claw has so many therapeutic applications that it appears to far surpass other well known herbs such as Echinacea, Golden seal, Pau d'arco, Siberian ginseng, and other natural products such as Citrus seed extract, and Caprylic and Lauric acids.

Amazing Pharmacology

Cat's Claw targets the immune system, the intestinal system nd the cardiovascular system. Dr. Keplinger was issued 2 patents for isolating six oxindole alkaloid compounds found in the root of the plant. Alkaloids are organic nitrogenous compounds which have a wide range of pharmacological and biological therapeutic functions in the body. The unique alkaloids in Cat's Claw are proven to enhance the immune system and appear to have a profound effect on the ability of the white blood cells to engulf and digest harmful micro-organisms and foreign matter. One Cat's Claw alkaloid named rynchophylline, has demonstrated an ability to enhance the circulation of the blood and reduce the build up of platelets in the arteries, which reduces clot formation and could help in the prevention of strokes and heart attacks.

Cat's Claw has also been found to contain quinovic acid glycosides, triterpenes, polyphenols, proanthocyanidins and plant sterols. Glycosides are important sugars for the functioning of the heart and blood stream and have specific anti-viral properties. Tests found three glycosides in Cat's Claw to have specific anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties not found in any other plant. The Triterpenes tested in Cat's Claw prove to have highly anti-inflammatory properties and to boost T cell activity. The triterpenes also have antioxidant, anti-tumor, anti- ulcer and anti-allergy properties. Plant sterols possess antinflammatory, and anti-tumor properties, may serve as precursors to hormonal production and have been reported to be helpful in controlling cholesterol levels. Polyphenols and Proanthocyanidins are flavanol extracts thought to be the most powerful antioxidants and free radical scavengers known. Proanthocyanidins , also commonly known as "Pycnogenol" and OPC are generally extracted from grape seed and pine bark. Proanthocyanidins are 50 times more powerful than vitamin E and 20 times more powerful than Vitamin C as free radical scavengers.

Antioxidant Potential

Cellular damage due to free radicals is thought to be the major factor in the cause of many diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular, arthritis, diabetes, stroke and cataract. Oxygen free radicals serve a purpose in the body by burning bacteria and refuse matter. In places they don't belong and out of control, free radicals become toxic molecules which damage the body through a process known as oxidative stress. Our bodies are constantly bombarded with free radical generating substances from air and water pollutants, sunlight, radiation, drugs, alcohol, tobacco smoke, pesticides, chemicals, solvents and fried foods, etc. Oxidation in our bodies is like rust or rot; it is literally decay eating away at our very being.

The Plant sterols, triterpenes, proanthoycyanidins, and polyphenols, all contribute to the antioxidant capabilities of Cat's Claw. Smoking is one of the worst causes of oxidative stress in the body. Researchers at the University of Milan in 1992, conducted a study on smokers and found Cat's Claw to have antiutagenic activity. This means it has the ability to protect the cells from mutating, which is what happens when cancer develops. The researchers concluded that: "This plant shows anti-mutagenic activity in smokers, confirming its high antioxidant potential."

Apparently, the abundant Phytochemicals found in Cat's Claw work synergistically to biologically enhance the function of each individual component thereby creating a host of therapeutic benefits not found in any other known plant.


Traditionally in Peru, Una de Gato has been used to treat: asthma, astritis, arthritis, dysentery, tumors, skin problems, urinary tract inflammations, infections and female hormonal imbalances. Today preliminary reports show the herb has also demonstrated the ability to protect against and/or have therapeutic action for treating: inflammation, viral infections, yeast infections (including systemic candidiasis), respiratory infections, organic depression, Epstein Barr, PMS, several types of cancer, cirrhosis, allergies, neurobronchitis, herpes, lupus, diabetes, bursitis, rheumatism, phlebitis, edemia, hypoglycemia, prostrate problems, acne, fibromyalgia, HIV, environmental toxins and pollutants, and a variety of stomach and bowel disorders.

Death Begins In The Colon

A poorly functioning and toxic colon can be related to many degenerative diseases including cancer. Colon/rectal cancer is the number one cancer for men and women in the U.S. More Americans are hospitalized due to diseases of the digestive system and colon than for any other disorder. In fact, we spend over 50 billion dollars a year in hospitals for surgical procedures and other treatments! What's the cause of these problems? The average American eats a diet high in fats, sugars, processed and cooked foods, and a diet low in fiber and enzymes. Add to that lots of stress and little exercise and you have the recipe for major problems. The Merck Manual, which is the medical industry's standard text for the diagnosis and treatment of disease reveals that diverticulosis of the colon has increased dramatically over the last 40 years. In fact, it states that in 1950 only 10 % of the population had this disease, in 1987 it had risen to 50 % , and the 1994 edition stated that by old age every person would have many diverticula. Diverticula are herniated pouch like sacs that form at weak points in the wall of the colon and are caused by sluggish or constipated bowels. There are no symptoms. However, the pockets can fill with up to 20 pounds of old fecal matter which is very toxic. Poisons from this toxic waste can be reabsorbed into the blood stream, and it is thought by many to be an underlying cause of sickness and disease. This is one reason many health professionals say "Death begins in the colon."

We now know beyond a shadow of a doubt that to stay healthy person will eat lots of fiber and enzyme rich food, drink lots of pure water and have one bowel movement for every major meal. (at least two a day) They should be large, soft and float. If he bowel movement is a sinker or a stinker, that is a sign of an unhealthy bowel. Please read the book, &Tissue Cleansing through Bowel Management," by Bernard Jensen D.C., Nutritionist. You will be astounded by this essential information.

The Opener of The Way

Dr. Brent Davis refers to Cat's Claw as the "opener of the way" and stated that "Uncaria tomentosa has the ability to break through severe intestinal derangements that no other available products can touch. " Cat's Claw has demonstrated an ability to cleanse and detoxify the entire intestinal tract and help people suffering from many different stomach and bowel disorders, including: diverticulitis, chron's disease, colitis, gastritus, leaky bowel syndrome, hemorrhoids, ulcers, fistulas, and parasites. Many health professionals believe that when intestinal flora is out of balance the immune system is also compromised. According to Dr. Davis, Cat's Claw can also contribute to restoring the friendly intestinal flora. Cleansing of the entire gastrointestinal tract, with special emphasis on the colon, should be the first step in any health improvement program.


There have been numerous articles written about Cat's Claw being used to prevent and overcome various cancers. Preliminary reports show that Cat's Claw has been linked with providing relief from nausea and other side effects of chemotherapy, and with the remission of brain and other tumors. Reports also indicate that it helps fight infections in AIDS patients and has decreased the size of visible tumors and cysts in as little as two weeks. It appears to help patients who are chemically sensitive and can help to enhance emotional stability even in extremely stressful situations. Cat's Claw is being widely used and tested in Europe as potential treatment for various cancers and AIDS. The herb has been scientifically proven to contain anti-carcinogenic, and anti-tumor compounds and because of its ability to act as an antioxidant it may scavenge for carcinogenic substances which an cause the formation of cancerous cells. Specific scientific studies for anti-leukemic effects on cells showed that all of the oxindole alkaloids, except one, inhibited the growth of certain leukemic cells. Based on these studies, Cat's Claw should be considered as a viable treatment for people with acute leukemia.

Cardiovascular Disease

Heart disease is the number one killer in Western countries. The proper functioning of the heart and a complete and unhindered blood flow is the most essential physiological function of the body. Again, looking at the phytochemicals in Cat's Claw, we find an abundance of proven cardiovascular protectors. The alkaloid compounds may reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack. For instance, research shows the rynchophylline alkaloid to have the ability to inhibit platelet aggregation and thrombosis. It would therefore lower blood pressure, increase circulation, inhibit the formation of plaque on the arterial walls and the formation of blood clots in the brain, heart and arteries. The antioxidants work to scavenge for free radicals, which frequently damage arterial walls. Plant sterols help control cholesterol. All in all, it looks as though Cat's Claw should be considered a powerful substance for the use in preventing heart attacks and strokes.


Krallendon is the German product name of a standardized extract of uncaria tomentosa. It has been successfully used for the past six years in clinical studies, either as an isolated treatment or in conjunction with AZT to treat HIV positive and AIDS patients. It as been found to impede the multiplication of the HIV virus, to activate the immune system and to stop the development of cancerous cells. Three groups were studied. The first group was HIV positive and treated for five years. The disease was prevented from progressing in almost all patients. The second group exhibited the first sign of AIDS and were treated for six years. In almost all patients the abnormal blood values were improved within one year and the patients lost the symptoms of clinical illness. "This good condition has been maintained to this day." The third group has been treated for one year with Krallendom and AZT. Abnormal blood values were improved, clinical symptoms were lessened and the secondary infections of AZT were prevented in almost all patients.


Cat's Claw has been used by the Peruvian Indians for centuries and as shown no known toxicity when investigated in Europe. Available research suggests it not be taken during pregnancy or when nursing until more is known about the herb. In rare instances people may experience what appears to be an undesirable side effect; diarrhea. However, that is generally an indication that Cat's Claw is working well. To relieve it simply take less of the herb. Based on the available information, it is suggested that for prevention and antioxidant protection, a dose of one to three grams be taken daily in divided doses, when using capsules, or one or two cups of strong tea. Therapeutic doses recommended are three to six grams daily of the capsules or three or four cups of the tea. (1000 milligrams = 1 gram). It has been noted that as much as 20 grams daily for several weeks has been used by people with advanced stages of disease pathology.

Our immune systems go to extraordinary lengths on a daily basis to protect us from viruses, fungi, bacteria, cancer cells, environmental toxins and pollutants found in our food, air and water. Generally we are a mega-stressed society and our diets are poor. Add to that the fact that our soils are depleted of minerals and the food we do eat is sadly lacking in nutritional value. Now more than ever before in history, we must look at supplementing our diets in order to remain strong and healthy or regain our health. Cat's Claw is an herb that is proving it can fortify the immune system and help prevent or reverse premature aging and health problems of many kinds. The herb is treasured by health professionals worldwide because it has demonstrated such a wide variety of applications.

Cat's Claw is a sacred herb bringing hope, health and healing to people all over the world. It has the potential to greatly enhance your life. It may even save your life.

Bibliography/References/expert citations/ Recommended Reading
1. Aquino, De Simone, & Pizza. "Plant metabolics, Structure and in Vitro Antiviral Activity of Quinovic Acid Glycosides from Uncaria tomentosa etc. Journal of Natural Products, 52:679-685 No. 4. Jul-Aug 1989.
2. Aquino, De Feo, De Simone, Vincirri & Pizza. "Plant Metabolites: New compound and anti-inflammatory activity of Uncaria tomentosa." Journal of Natural Products, 53:559-64, May-June 1990.
3. Aquino, De Simone, Vincirri. "New Polyhydroxylated Triterpenes from Uncaria Tomentosa." 53/3: 559-64. May-June 1990.
4. Blumenthal. "Rain forest herb gets scientific and industry attention." Whole Foods Magazine, Oct. 1995 pp. 62-78
5. Cat's Claw: Medicinal Properties of this Amazon Vine." Nutrition Science, July-August 1995.
6. Cerri, Aquino, De Simone, & Pizza. New Quniovic acid Glyosides from Uncaria tomentosa." Journal of Natural Products, 51:257-6 1, Mar.-Apr. 1988.
7. Chen, Jin, Zhong, Yue, Chen, and Zhou. "Inhibitory Effect of Rhynchophylline on Platelet Aggregation and Thrombosis." Shanghai College of Traditional Medicine. Acta Pharmacologica Sinica. 13:2: 126-30, 1992.
8. Gerber, "Vibrational Medicine. (book) Bear & Co. 1988
9. Keplinger, Wagner & Kreutzkamp. Oxindole Alkaloids Having Properties
Stimulating the Immunological System." United States patent No. 4,844,901, July, 1989 revised July 1990
10. Davis, B. "A New World Class Herb for A.K. Practice: Uncaria Tomentosa a.k.a. Una de Gato. Collected papers of the International College of Applied Kinesiology. Phytotherapy Research Laboratories, Summer of 1992.
11. DeMatta, Monachf, Ferrari, Mari-Bettolo. Alkaloids and Procyanidins of an Uncaria SP. From Peru." Department De Pharmacologia, Universivad National Mayor San Marcos, Lima Peru. Fellow I.I.L.A.-C.N.K. 1975
12. Duke. "Una de Gato." The Business of Herbs. May-June, 1994.
13. Hostettmann, Lea. "Biologically Active Natural Products." Clarendon Press, Oxford 1987
14. Laus, Keplinger. "Separation of Steriosomeric oxindole alkaloids from Uncaria tomentosa by high performance liquid chromatography." Immodal Pharmaka, Volders, Austria. Revised edition. Nov. 1993.
15. Maxwell. Witch Doctors Apprentice, "Hunting for Medicinal Plants in the Amazonian." Citadel Press, 1990
16. Pelletier. "The Nature and Definition of an Alkaloid." The University of Georgia, Department of Chemistry. 1:6
17. Plotkin. "Tales of a Shaman's Apprentice." Penguin Books, 1993.
18. Rizza, Re, Bianchi, De Feo, Stivala & De Simone. "Mutagenic and Antimutagenic Activities of Uncaria Tomentosa and its Extracts." Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 38:63-77, Jan. 1993.
19. Schwontkowski. "Herbal treasures from the Amazon." Part 1, Healthy and Natural Journal, 1:64-65, Oct. 1994.
20. Senatore, et al. "Phytochemical and biological research on Uncaria tomentosa." Boll Soc Ital Buil Sper, 65:517-20, 1989
21. Steinberg. "The Townsend Letter for Doctors." 144: 442-443 May 1994
22. Steinburg. "Uncaria tomentosa, (Cat's Claw) Wonder Herb from the Amazon."New Editions, Feb. 1995.
23. Steinburg. "A Wondrous Herb from the Peruvian Rain Forest. "Newlife. April-May 1994.
24. Stuppner, Sturm, Geisen, Zillian, Konwalinka. A Differential Sensitivity of Oxindole Alkaloids to Normal and Leukemic Cell Lines. Acta Pharmacologica Sinica. Mar. 13(2) 1992.
25. Summary of Translation of Sections Concerning HIV and AIDS; From The Immodal Krallendom Booklet for Doctors and Patients. Immodal Pharmaka, Volders, Austria.
26. ibid. "Therapy of HIV Patients in the CDC AI and CDC B2 Stages of the Disease."
27. "Una de Gato" Wellness Advocate, Vol, 511 Feb. 1995
28. Wagner, Kreutzkamp, Juric. "The Alkaloids of Uncaria Tomentosa and their Phagocytosis-increasing Effect." Planta Medica, 51: 419-23 1985.
29. Whitaker. "Take Una de Gato for all-Around immunity." Health and Healing, Tomorrow's Medicine Today. May 1995.
30. Powerful and Unusual Herbs from the Amazon and China. Order from the World Preservation Society, 236 Island Shores Drive, West Palm Beach, FL 33413 (407) 965-5996 $3.75 plus $2.00 S&H
31. Tissue Cleansing through Bowel Management. Order from. Bemard Jensen D.C., Route 1, Box 52 , Escondido, Ca 92502 (619) 749-2717 $11.00
32. Herbs of the Amazon; Traditional and Common Uses. by Dr. Donna Schwontkowski. Science Student Brain Trust Publishers, May, 1995.
Cat's Claw A Documentation. 200 pages of research; includes printed newspaper, magazine, and Journal articles, two U.S. patent documents, clinical rials and research documents including translated documents from Germany, Austria, Peru, and France. $17.95 includes S&H Order from, Hormones from Heaven, P.O.Box 21075, Jeiser OR 97307-1075, (503) 463-0175, fax (503) 463-6358, Faxed Checks, Visa & Mastercard accepted.

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