Uncaria tomentosa (Willd. ex Schult.) DC. and Uncaria guianensis (Aubl.) J.F. Gmell

  • Izaskun UrdanibiaEmail author
  • Peter Taylor
Part of the Medicinal and Aromatic Plants of the World book series (MAPW, volume 5)


The jungles of Central and South America contain two predominant species of cat’s claw (Uña de Gato), Uncaria tomentosa (Willd. ex Schult.) DC. and Uncaria guianensis (Aubl.) J.F. Gmell, which are used in traditional medicine mainly for their anti-inflammatory properties. However, a wealth of compounds have been isolated from these two vines of the Rubiaceae family, including alkaloids, flavonoids and terpenoids, showing a wide range of activities: anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative, hypotensor, antiviral, smooth muscle relaxant, antispasmodic, gastrointestinal mucosa protector, antiarrhythmic, anticonvulsant, analgesic, anti-leishmaniosis, cytostatic, cytotoxic, hypoglycaemizing, anticholestatic, antihistaminic, hepatoprotective, diuretic, antiulcer, immunostimulating and sedative effects. Some of these activities have been confirmed in both in vitro and in vivo models.


Uncaria tomentosa Uncaria guianensis Cat’s claw Medicinal plant Peru Inflammation Cancer 



Pentacyclic Oxindole Alkaloids


Tetracyclic Oxindole Alkaloids


Nuclear Transcription Factor


Tumour Necrosis Factor alpha




Prostaglandin E2


Nitric Oxide




inducible Nitric Oxygen Synthase


Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase


Matrix Metalloproteinases


Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor



We would like to thank Ilsa Coronel for her help in the preparation of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Experimental MedicineVenezuelan Institute for Scientific Research (IVIC)CaracasVenezuela

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