Botanist's Glossary

Peruvian Liana - Uncaria tomentosa

  • Description
    • Uncaria species (Rubiaceae family) are tropical lianas that can grow to a height of 30 meters and reach a diameter of 20 cm. Peruvian liana is commonly known as "cat's claw", due to the hook-like thorns on the plant that help it to cling to trees. The leaves are large and glossy with tiny spines on the underside, while the flowers form ball-shaped clusters at the tips of branches.
  • Traditions
    • Some tribes from Peruvian Amazonia consider cat's claw to be a sacred plant and believe that it has an action on both the mind and body. It was the second plant to be recognized by the WHO (after cinchona) as one of superior value. It has numerous properties and is an important anti-viral and anti-tumor plant.
  • Properties
    • The part used is the bark. Rich in alkaloids, it stimulates the immune system and has soothing properties. It is used in slimming products as it helps prevent fat storage.