Uncaria tomentosa plant health benefit and side effects, benefit for inflammation and arthritis, joint pain

Uncaria tomentosa (Willd.) DC., is a large woody vine native to the Amazon and Central American rainforests. It has been used by indigenous peoples since ancient times and studies indicate it can influence the immune system and has anti-inflammatory, cytotoxic and antioxidant activities.

NOW foods Cat's Claw "5000" - This supplement is a natural extract of the highest quality inner bark of authentic Uncaria tomentosa, an exciting herbal discovery from the Peruvian Rainforest. Also called Una de Gato, cat's claw herb has been used for hundreds of years by the native Ashanica Indians.

Cat's Claw "5000" is a concentrated water and alcohol extract standardized to contain a minimum of 3% total alkaloids (calculated as mitraphylline) and 15% total polyphenols.

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Uncaria tomentosa plant for dengue fever
Immunomodulating and antiviral activities of Uncaria tomentosa on human monocytes infected with Dengue Virus-2.
Int Immunopharmacol. 2008. Reis SR, Valente LM, Sampaio AL, Siani AC, Gandini M. Laboratório de Imunologia Viral, Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Brazil.
 Several inflammatory mediators that are implicated in vascular permeability and shock are produced after dengue virus infection by monocytes, the primary targets for virus replication. Here we assessed the immunoregulatory and antiviral activities from Uncaria tomentosa derived samples, which were tested in an in vitro dengue virus infection model. Our results indicate the antiviral and immunomodulating in vitro effects from Uncaria tomentosa pentacyclic oxindole alkaloids displayed novel properties regarding therapeutic procedures in Dengue Fever and might be further investigated as a promising candidate for clinical application.

Uncaria tomentosa plant as a treatment for leukemia
Antiproliferative activity of various Uncaria tomentosa preparations on HL-60 promyelocytic leukemia cells.
Pharmacol Rep. 2007. Pilarski R.
Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, Polish Academy of Sciences, Noskowskiego Poznań, Poland.
The woody Amazonian vine Uncaria tomentosa (cat's claw) has been recently more and more popular all over the world as an immunomodulatory, antiinflammatory and anti-cancer remedy. This study investigates anti-proliferative potency of several cat's claw preparations with different quantitative and qualitative alkaloid contents on HL-60 acute promyelocytic human cells by applying trypan blue exclusion and 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide reduction assay (MTT). By standardization and statistical comparison of the obtained results pteropodine and isomitraphylline are indicated to be most suitable for standardization of medical cat's claw preparations.

Uncaria tomentosa and Parkinson's disease
Reversible worsening of Parkinson disease motor symptoms after oral intake of Uncaria tomentosa (cat's claw).
Clin Neuropharmacol. 2008. Cosentino C, Torres L. Movement Disorders Unit, Instituto de Ciencias Neurologicas, Ancash, Lima 1, Peru.
Uncaria tomentosa, also known as cat's claw, isa Peruvian Rubiaceae species widely used in traditional medicine for the treatment of a wide range of health problems. There is no report about the use, safety, and efficacy of Uncaria tomentosa in neurological disorders. We describe reversible worsening of motor signs in a patient with Parkinson disease after oral intake of Uncaria tomentosa, and some possible explanations are discussed.

Thyroid cancer
Antiproliferative and pro-apoptotic effects of Uncaria tomentosa in human medullary thyroid carcinoma cells.
Anticancer Res. 2009; Rinner B, Li ZX, Haas H, Siegl V, Sturm S, Stuppner H, Pfragner R. Department of Pathophysiology and Immunology, Medical University of Graz, Heinrichstrasse Graz, Austria.
Medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC), a rare calcitonin-producing tumor, is derived from parafollicular C-cells of the thyroid and is characterized by constitutive Bcl-2 overexpression. The tumor is relatively insensitive to radiation therapy as well as conventional chemotherapy. To date, the only curative treatment is the early and complete surgical removal of all neoplastic tissue. In this study, the antiproliferative and pro-apoptotic effects of fractions obtained from Uncaria tomentosa (Willd.) DC, commonly known as uña de gato or cat's claw were investigated. Cell growth of MTC cells as well as enzymatic activity of mitochondrial dehydrogenase was markedly inhibited after treatment with different fractions of the plant. Furthermore, there was an increase in the expressions of caspase-3 and -7 and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) fraction, while bcl-2 overexpression remained constant. In particular, the alkaloids isopterpodine and pteropodine of U. tomentosa exhibited a significant pro-apoptotic effect on MTC cells, whereas the alkaloid-poor fraction inhibited cell proliferation but did not show any pro-apoptotic effects. These promising results indicate the growth-restraining and apoptotic potential of plant extracts against neuroendocrine tumors, which may add to existing therapies for cancer.

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