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October 23, 2022 5 min read

When it comes to Peruvian food, not everything is big, succulent dishes and recipes that make your mouth water and your tummy growl. There is a big part in Peruvian culture that believes natural resources can be used for medicinal purposes.

Let’s not forget early civilizations in Peru had only their plants to fight diseases and treat ailments, and some of them proved to be so efficient that their use caught on and kept being a part of natural remedies until modern times. 

Among hundreds of natural remedies we can findPeruvian Uña de Gato, used to fight symptoms, illnesses and ailments since ancient times in this country. Keep reading to find out exactly what it does and how it can improve your everyday lifestyle. 


What is Peruvian Uña de Gato?

Native from the virgin jungles of Peru,Peruvian Uña de Gato is a climbing plant scientifically called Uncaria Tomentosa. The plant Uña de Gato is grown in very high areas regarding sea level, in very clayey and sandy soil. The best months to cultivate Peruvian Uña de Gato are May and June, and the part of this plant that is most often used is the bark. 

As you can imagine, the Uña de Gato was and still is grown by indigenous tribes that like to seize what Mother Earth provides them and cure their people with it. 

The una de Gato, also called "cat's claw," a woody plant belonging to the Rubiaceae Family that can reach up to 30 meters in height, is also known as the Rubiaceae family. The claw-shaped leaves at the base of the leaf give it its name. Traditional medicine uses this plant to treat bone, gastrointestinal, and joint pains, as well as women who have just given birth.

The una de Gato is made up of flavonoids and proanthocyanidins like epicatechin. Triterpenes and sterols (campesterol and stigmasterol) are also found in this plant. Cat's claw also contains indolic compounds (hirsutin, corynanthine, and akuammingin) and oxindole alkaloids.

The plant is hypotensive, anti-inflammatory, and anti-rheumatic. The plant's inner bark is an immunostimulant and acts on macrophages and lymphocytes.
The Una de Gato can be used to treat arthritis and other conditions and skin and digestive problems.

It is not recommended that this plant be used by women who are pregnant or wish to become pregnant, as it contains contraceptive and abortion properties.

What does it look like

Peruvian Uña de Gato plant is a large liana with thick, square branches filled with curved spines. It’s leaves are oval shaped, they are about ½” long, and they have a velvet- like texture. They do have a fruit, tiny capsules of about 2 inches long; but as we mentioned before the part of Uña de Gato that we use is the bark of the plant.

Once it is extracted and dried out, you’ll identify Uña de Gato as a brown or red piece of bark, it kind of looks like cinnamon sticks but in bigger chunks. You can find Peruvian Uña de Gato in more commercial presentations such as powder, powder concentrate andtea bags.  

Benefits of Peruvian Uña de Gato

Now to the good part. There are several benefits that can come from consumingPeruvian Uña de Gato. This bark has very strong properties that can help cancer diagnosis, because of its alkaline components it reduces chemical proliferation of cancer cells. Not only can Uña de Gato help prevent cancer, it can help people during chemotherapy to reduce its symptoms.

Regarding Alzheimer's, it is said that alkaloids inPeruvian Uña de Gato improves brain development. Its anti inflammatory properties are great to treat gastrointestinal problems and arthritis, among other diseases. 

But one of the most benefits of consuming Uña de Gato as a medicine or as a superfood, is its capacity to repair DNA. The effects of this plant (or the plant’s bark) extend in a cellular level and help preserve the integrity of the body’s DNA.

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Arthritis Relief

According to New York University's Langone medical center, una de gato could help with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid joint pain. In a study published in the April 2002 issue of "The Journal of Rheumatology," it was found that una de gato supplementation for 24 weeks decreased the number of painful joints by twice the effectiveness of a placebo.

The number of swollen joints also declined after another 28 weeks. In addition, researchers found that unade gato was well tolerated and safe with very few side effects.


The University of Texas at El Paso suggests that una de gato may help treat gastritis due to its anti-inflammatory properties. In a May 2002 issue, Phytomedicine published a study in which una de Gato and flavonoid compounds were supplemented for three days in laboratory animals.

It found that this significantly reduced inflammation and prevented early cell death and cell damage in the stomach lining. These benefits may also benefit humans, but further research is needed.

Cancer Prevention

A study that showed Una de Gato's anti-cancer properties was published in the December 2010 issue "Phytomedicine." Una de Gato extracts proved effective against multiple cancer types in tissue culture studies, including breast, cervical, and colon.

In a study published in the November 2009 issue "Anticancer Research," it was found that unade gato extract inhibited thyroid cancer resistance to conventional chemotherapy and radiation. In addition, Una de Gato alkaloids promoted early cell death. Finally, researchers found that a cat's claw could be used as a natural substance to treat endocrine cancers.


Immune Booster

Some infectious diseases, such as HIV, may be prevented or treated with Una de Gato. For example, CoxHealth notes that Una de Gato's immune-modulating properties may help prevent white blood cells from falling in HIV patients and protect them against opportunistic infection. In a test tube study, una de gato inhibited the growth of several pathogens common to infected teeth. It was published in the September 2010 "The Journal of Oral Science."

Red Blood Cell Benefits

According to a study published by Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology in March 2012, una de gato may protect red blood cells against damage. Una de Gato extract was shown to prevent lipid oxidation and preserve the integrity of red blood cell membranes in a test tube. Researchers concluded that the protective effects were due to una degato polyphenol antioxidants attached to the membranes.


How can I consume it? 

Now that you know a few of the countless and , frankly amazing, benefits ofPeruvian Uña de Gato; you’re probably wondering exactly what is the best way to get it in your system. This bark is best absorbed by the body when you consume it directly by eating it, unlike other natural remedies which work through the skin of by breathing their scent.

You can take the bark and boil it so it releases a concentrate that you can later drink. You can also find powder or powder concentrate to mix with water, but it will leave a grainy texture because it’s not easy to fully dissolve.

The best way to consume Peruvian Uña de Gato is inside a tea bag, this way the preparation is easier and you can even add some honey to enjoy the taste. Find Peruvian Uña de Gato tea clickinghere. 

If you have some of the ailments we mentioned above or if you’re into natural remedies and super foods to help you improve your health altogether, don’t think twice and givePeruvian Uña de Gato a try!