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Uncaria is a genus of plants known colloquially as "Gambier", "Cat's Claw" or "Uña de Gato", which are found in Asia, Africa, and South America. There are about 34 species. Malaysian Gambier (U. gambir) is a large tropical vine with typical rubiaceous leaves, which are opposite and about 10 cm long. At the base of the leaves is a cat-like claw, so the South American U. tomentosa is called Uña de Gato. There is also a Chinese species, U. sinensis. The flowers also originate at the base of the leaves; each pair of leaves may have a pair of globular inflorescences.

Gambier is used in Malaysia for chewing with areca and betel[?], for tanning[?], and for dyeing. Cat's claw and the Chinese species are used medicinally. Cat's claw has two varieties depending on whether the alkaloids have four rings or five; the five-ring alkaloid variety is medicinal and is called "savéntaro" by the Asháninka[?].

In Lojban: http://www.lojban.org/wiki/index.php/gambire

Table of contents


Kingdom Plantae
Subkingdom Tracheobionta
Division Magnoliophyta -- angiosperms, flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida -- dicotyledons
Subclass Asteridae
Order Rubiales
Family Rubiaceae or Naucleaceae
Genus Uncaria

Synonyms and common names

Gambier, cat's claw, uña de gato


as of 2002-06-01


  • U. elliptica
  • U. gambir
  • U. guianensis
  • U. macrophylla
  • U. procumbens = Harpagophytum procumbens
  • U. rhynchophylla
  • U. sinensis
  • U. tomentosa

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