Posted by Bangzkie Thursday, February 16, 2012
Uncaria tomentosa (popularly known in English as Cat's Claw, although that name is also used for various other plants; in Spanish as Uña de Gato (Cat's Claw) or as Indian name Vilcacora) is a woody vine found in the tropical jungles of South and Central America, which derives its name from its claw-shaped thorns. It is used as an alternative medicine in the treatment of a variety of ailments. Other common names include: hawk's claw, pot hook, and sparrowhawk nail.
Medicinal uses: U. tomentosa is used in nootropic drugs, as well as in treatment of cancer and HIV infection. It contains several alkaloids that are responsible for its medical effects, as well as tannins and various phytochemicals.The chemotype of the plant determines the dominant type of alkaloid it produces, and thus its properties in vivo. One chemotype has roots which produce mostly the pentacyclic alkaloids that are responsible for the immune-strengthening effects desired by most consumers. The second chemotype produces tetracyclic oxindole alkaloids known as rhynchophylline and isorhynchophylline which counteract the immune-strengthening actions of the pentacyclic alkaloids, reduces the speed and force of the heart's contraction, and in high doses produce ataxia, lack of coordination and sedative effects.Since U. tomentosa comes in at least these two different chemotypes, without chemical testing it is impossible to know which chemical compounds will predominate in a plant collected randomly from a natural setting.
Native use: The indigenous peoples of South and Central America have used U. tomentosa for medicinal purposes for two thousand years or more. It is often added to Ayahuasca. Researchers have investigated the use of the plant by the Asháninka tribe of Peru, who use the plant as a general health tonic, contraceptive, anti-inflammatory agent for the gastrointestinal tract, and as a treatment for diarrhea, rheumatic disorders, acne, diabetes, cancer and diseases of the urinary tract.In Brazilian traditional medicine it is used against dengue to reduce inflammation