This herb contains an alkaloid called mitraphylline that binds to the same mu-opioid receptors in the brain as mitragynine and is also present in kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) and cat’s claw (Uncaria tomentosa)
Mitraphylline, an oxindole derivative, is an active alkaloid in the leaves of the tree Mitragyna speciosa, commonly known as kratom. it also occurs to a significant amount in the bark of Uncaria tomentosa (Cat's Claw) along with a number of isomericalkaloids.
Cat’s claw (Uncaria tomentosa) is a medicinal plant that grows in the Amazonian rainforest and other tropical areas in Central and South America. The use of the herb dates back to the Inca civilization. Indigenous cultures of South America used cat’s claw for inflammation, cancer, viral infections, ulcers, and to stimulate the immune system
It gets its name from its thorns, which resemble the claws of cats.
Main Beneficial Compounds of Cat’s Claw
Cat’s claw is rich in three major groups of chemical compounds: alkaloids, terpenoids, and flavonoids
Specific compounds found in cat’s claw include:
Mitraphylline: an alkaloid usually found in older leaves. It has potential anticancer effects, causing cell death in sarcoma and breast cancer cells [4, 8].
Rhynchophylline: an alkaloid isolated from the bark. It may help with convulsions, lightheadedness, numbness, and hypertension [9, 10].
Isopteropodine: an alkaloid isolated from the leaves. It has antimicrobial properties against (Gram-positive) bacteria [9, 11].
Uncarine (C, D, and E): a family of alkaloids found in the leaves. They have potential anti-cancer properties, inducing cell death in leukemia cells [4, 12].
Hirsutine: an alkaloid found in the young leaves. It has antihypertensive properties, relaxing blood vessels and reducing overall blood pressure [4, 13].
Uncaric acid: a triterpene extracted from the bark. It may be effective against Mycobacterium tuberculosis (H37Rv strain) [14, 15].
Quinovic acid: an acid triterpene compound extracted from the bark. It may reduce heart rate [16, 17].
Quinic acid has antioxidant properties, enhances DNA repair, and has neuroprotective effects in the brain [18, 19, 20].
Procyanidins: a flavonoid (phenolic compounds found in the leaves, stems, bark, and wood of U. tomentosa). It has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer properties [21, 22].
Stomach and Gut Inflammation
Cat’s claw can cleanse the digestive tract and is claimed to help treat inflammatory gut disorders including
Pregnant or breastfeeding women. Cat’s claw is not considered safe to take during pregnancy or breastfeeding due to a lack of safety information
300–500 mg for capsules, taken in 2–3 separate doses throughout the day
Test tube studies indicate that cat's claw may stimulate the immune system, help relax the smooth muscles (such as the intestines), dilate blood vessels (helping lower blood pressure), and act as a diuretic (helping the body eliminate excess water).
Cat's claw also has antioxidant properties, helping the body eliminate particles known as free radicals that damage cells. Scientists believe free radicals to contribute to health problems, including heart disease and cancer. Antioxidants can help neutralize free radicals and may reduce, or even help prevent, some of the damage they cause.
Some early studies suggest cat's claw may kill tumor and cancer cells in test tubes.