Otoba Bark Extract and Cat's Claw Tinctures

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Otoba Bark and Cat's Claw tinctures in Lyme disease by Marty Ross MD image

"I updated this article on August 17, 2018 based on the latest. It also includes information about my favorite source."

Marty Ross MD

About Otoba Bark Extract and Cat’s Claw for Lyme Disease

In a chronic Lyme disease treatment, otoba bark extract and cat's claw

  • kill the various forms of borrelia (the Lyme germ),
  • decrease and eliminate biofilms,
  • treat dormant Lyme germs that are unresponsive to prescriptive antibiotics, and
  • prevent Lyme disease relapse.

My Experience with Otoba Bark and Cat’s Claw for Lyme Disease

I have quite a bit of success using the herbs otoba bark (otoba parvifolia) extract and cat's claw (uncaria tomentosa) tinctures, even when prescriptive antibiotics are no longer working. I find this combination helps improve the symptoms of Lyme disease 85 of 90% of the time. This is the same chance of success I see with prescription antibiotics.

I added these two herbs into my treatments in August of 2010 based on a research paper published in the July 2010 Townsend Letter. In the paper, Eva Sapi, PhD and her research group showed that otoba bark extract and cat's claw treat the various forms of the Lyme germ and reduce biofilm colonies.

Biofilms are slime layers that cover Lyme germs, blocking treatment. For more information see Biofilms: Lyme Disease Gated Communities.

When I first started to work with otoba bark and cat's claw, I introduced them into the treatments of my patients that had plateaued on prescriptive antibiotics at a good level of health. During these plateaus, I had tried various prescriptive regimens targeted at all three forms of the lyme germs and treated for biofilms with lumbrokinase to move the treatments forward, without success. Many of these patients had energy levels of 80% of normal with minimal body pain and good cognition. For these patients, I offered otoba bark extract and cat's claw as a means of preventing recurrence off of prescriptive antibiotics, and to possibly move the treatments forward. I started the each of these herbs as tinctures at 10 drop 2 times a day and added 1 drop per dose per day till each patient was at 20 drops 2 times a day.

To my surprise, I observed that nearly 90 percent of patients I placed on this protocol had marked improvements in fatigue by the follow up appointments at 2 months. Some reported significant die-off reactions. Eventually based on my patients’ observed and reported successes, I started to work with otoba bark and cat's claw in the middle of treatment courses, and now at the initiation of treatments.

I am pleased for my patients because, across the board, I see good benefits. In the beginning and middle of treatments, I am finding success with these two herbal tinctures that compare with those of prescriptive antibiotic regimens.  At the end of treatments or when a patient has plateaued, I am finding that these two herbs also move treatments forward. I also use these herbs in some of my relapse prevention programs. See Finished? And How To Prevent Relapse. for more information.

Working with these two herbs, I changed my opinion about the benefit of herbal antimicrobials. In the past I recommended teasel, cumanda, andrographis, and cat's claw in various combinations and in rotations similar to those found in the Cowden Protocol. In my practice I found success with herbal antimicrobials about 60% of the time. This compares with the 85 to 90% chance of improvement that I observe with prescription antibiotic protocols. Naturally, when given a choice between the herbs and prescriptive antimicrobials with these observed success rates, most of my patients elected prescriptive regimens.

Now I recommend otoba bark and cat’s claw in combination as a front-line treatment. I also use it in the middle and to wrap up treatments. When discussing antibiotic options, I recommend these herbs as an equally effective option to prescription antibiotics.

Method of Action of Otoba Bark and Cat’s Claw

So what is going on here? Based on the work of Sapi et al, I think this combination effectively kills the various forms of Lyme borrelia while it breaks up biofilms. Sapi's work shows that cat's claw and otoba have a synergistic effect, where the sum of the killing is greater than the individual effects of each herb.

My success in moving plateaued treatments forward even suggest that these herbs can kill germs in dormant or persister phases too, where prescriptive antibiotics do not work.

Dosage of Otoba Bark and Cat’s Claw in Lyme Disease

Over time, because of strong Herxheimer die-off reactions, I have changed how I start the regimen. I suggest starting treatments at 5 drops 2 times a day of each herb and increasing the dose every 2 days by 1 drop per dose till a patient is taking 30 drops 2 times a day. If you experience a die-off reaction at any dose, do not increase the dose till the die-off reaction has improved. With this approach I am finding limited die-off reactions.

Take these herbs together without food. But they can be taken with other supplements and medications. Do not have them beginning 30 min before eating until 2 hours after eating.

One more thing, one manufacturer of these two herbal tinctures recommends that they are taken at least 15 minutes apart from each other. I do not find this matters, and I have patients take both of these together all of the time.

Source of Otoba Bark and Cat’s Claw Tinctures

I use to recommend Nutramedix brand for these products. Now, I recommend WildCraft Herbs products. The WildCraft Herb’s products appear stronger based on my clinical experience using both brands. You can find the WildCraft Herbs products here at Marty Ross MD Supplements.

The extracts are stronger because WildCraft Herbs uses more plant in making the liquid extracts. They use a ratio of 1 part plant to 3 parts alcohol. They also use a higher concentration of alcohol in their extractions, which pulls more active ingredients into the liquid tincture. I also recommend WildCraft Herbs over Nutramedix, due to significant price difference.


Datar A, Kaur N, Patel S, Luecke D, Sapi E. In vitro effectiveness of samento and banderol herbal extracts on the different morphological forms of Borrelia burgdorferi. Townsend Lett 2010;7: 1–4.


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