Uncaria tormentosa is a medicinal plant belonging to the Rubiaceae family. It is native to the rainforests of Amazonia and central America and is called also cat’s claw because of its hook-like thorns needed by the plant to climb on the trees. Used as a remedy since ancient times thanks to its healthy action, now the properties of uncaria are recognized also by scientists (Reis et al, Int Immunopharmacol, Mar 2008 – de Paula et al, J Altern Complement Med, Jan 2015). In particular, according to the scientific studies, the plant has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties and shows an immunomodulatory effect, this means that the remedy acts by strengthening the immune system and by helping the body to develop defenses against aggressions. The researchers have observed indeed that the cat’s claw is able to stimulate the production of interleukin 1, a protein of the immune system that is produced to fight against virus and bacteria (Allen et al, Pharmacognosy Res, Jul sep 2017). Moreover, uncaria is also antioxidant, healing and acts as a painkiller. Thanks to these characteristics the plant is useful to counteract cold and flu, cold sores, weak immune system, but also ulcers, wounds, arthrosis and rheumatoid arthritis. In particular, a study (Mur et al, J Rheumatol, Apr 2002) has shown that the use of uncaria for a period of 6 months in case of rheumatoid arthritis has determined a reduction in pain and in swelling of the joints. You can find uncaria in herbalist’s and chemist’s shops in the form of dry extract or hydroalcoholic extract. Dry extract can be taken without food in the dose from 250 to 500 mg per day to should be divided into two doses, while the hydroalcoholic extract may be taken in the dose of 50 drops two times per day in a little water, without food. Avoid during pregnancy and breastfeeding, an excess of the remedy may cause diarrhea.
Able to strengthen the immune system, useful to prevent or counteract cold, flu and cold sores, shows an anti inflammatory and painkilling action helpful in case of rheumatism and arthrosis.