Is Cat’s claw and devil’s claw the same thing?

Answered by Jeremy Urbaniak

Cat’s claw and devil’s claw are not the same thing. Although their names may sound similar, they refer to different plants with distinct characteristics and uses.

Cat’s claw, scientifically known as Uncaria tomentosa, is a woody vine native to the Amazon rainforest and other parts of Central and South America. It is named after the thorny hooks that resemble a cat’s claw. Cat’s claw has been used for centuries in traditional medicine for various purposes, including boosting the immune system, reducing inflammation, and treating digestive issues.

On the other hand, devil’s claw, scientifically known as Harpagophytum procumbens, is a plant native to the Kalahari Desert in southern Africa. It derives its name from the peculiar appearance of its fruit, which has claw-like hooks resembling the fingers of a devil. Devil’s claw has a long history of traditional use in Africa for managing pain and inflammation, particularly in conditions such as arthritis and back pain.

While both plants have been used in traditional medicine, they have different botanical classifications and come from different regions of the world. It is important not to confuse the two.

In terms of their medicinal properties, cat’s claw and devil’s claw have different chemical compositions and mechanisms of action. Cat’s claw contains various active compounds, such as alkaloids and polyphenols, that may contribute to its potential health benefits. Devil’s claw, on the other hand, contains harpagosides, iridoid glycosides known for their anti-inflammatory properties.

It is worth noting that the evidence supporting the use of cat’s claw and devil’s claw for specific conditions is limited and often based on traditional knowledge rather than rigorous scientific studies. While these plants have been investigated for their potential therapeutic effects, more research is needed to establish their safety and efficacy.

Cat’s claw and devil’s claw are not the same thing. They are distinct plants with different botanical classifications, origins, and medicinal properties. It is important to understand these differences to avoid confusion and ensure the appropriate use of these herbal remedies.