Scientific Researches

Alpha-Herb - What Science Knows

Alpha-Herb is made of a plant from the Uncaria (Uncaria genus) and comes from the family of Rubiaceae. It is a plant that is native to Southeast Asia and can mostly be found in countries like Indonesia and Malaysia. 

Many of the traditional medicinal uses of Uncaria include treatments for wounds and ulcers, fevers, gastrointestinal illnesses and bacterial/fungal infections. It also had been widely used as an astringent medicine for the treatment of spongy gums, tooth acne, diarrhoea and sore throat.

Studies have shown that Uncaria mostly consists of the notable flavan monomer, which contains (+)-catechin, (+)-epicatechin and alkaloids. Catechin and epicatechin are antioxidants, which are compounds that eliminate harmful free radicals that damage the body. 

Since the mid-19th century, scientists have been actively studying Uncaria for various health benefits. In fact, the US Trademark and Patent Office currently has two applications for anti-aging skin care products that are based on Uncaria extract, one of which has been granted a patent. We will review these patents as well as several other studies that demonstrate the health benefits of this unique plant.

Because of the ever-developing research efforts to demonstrate the healing benefits of Uncaria, it is listed and registered in the database of FDA and US National Library of Medicine substance registration system under UNII: 3NJQ5D8S6N For details click here.

One of the first scientific studies of Uncaria has been commissioned by The Cavendish Laboratory of University of Cambridge. In 1902, the study was published in the Journal Of Chemical Society. The article outlines the characteristics of  the antioxidant catechin, which is an active and beneficial ingredient in the plant. For more details about how catechin plays an important role in the healing benefits of Uncaria, the study can be found here.

In 2005, the United States Patent and Trademark Office granted a patent for an external skin care composition that contains the extract of Uncaria. The extract is included in the product to enhance the moisturizing function and barrier function of the skin because it has an excellent skin-smoothing effect. 


The product uses the extract of Uncaria to accelerate ceramide production in skin, which results in smoother and softer skin.


Grant applicant KAO CORP, Japan. Application number US6878378B1. Link 


Another patent application to USPTO was submitted by Japanese company Shinji Inomata. 


In this application, the applicant is seeking to get a patent for an Anti-Aging agent based on extract of Uncaria. This invention relates to an anti-aging agent that has an elastase inhibiting action and is capable of maintaining the tautness and elasticity of the skin, giving the skin a glowing youthful state. The anti-aging agent of the present invention can be suitably used for virtually all cosmetics in a safe and effective way.

Details of this invention can be found here.

In 1967, scientists from the University of Birmingham and the University of Singapore made further research into the biosynthesis of the antioxidant catechin. The Uncaria plant was included in the study as it contains the highest amounts of catechin compared to other natural sources. 

The full study can be accessed here.

Alkaloids and flavonoids are available in high concentration in the Uncaria plant. Naturally, this has attracted the attention of many scientists over the years and has resulted in multiple studies conducted about Uncaria. These studies analysed the effects of Uncaria as an anticonvulsive, antiinflammatory, antimutagenic, antioxidant, cytoprotective, hypotensive, and immunoregulatory substance. A detailed paper that outlines the various literature and studies about Uncaria in this capacity can be requested here.

A group of scientists from one of the biggest laboratories in the USA, Unigen, have conducted an in vivo study on the analgesic and anti-Inflammatory effects of the extract of Uncaria and Morus alba in treating joint problems as related to Osteoarthritis. The compound was administered orally, though the effects on joint pain were monitored closely


The researchers concluded that the natural analgesic and anti-inflammatory agents of a botanical compound found in Uncaria can indeed be used in treating Osteoarthritis. Furthermore, this compound could potentially be considered as an alternative natural therapy for the treatment of Osteoarthritis and/or its associated symptoms. 


It is reasonable to assume that it is the analgesic property that allows men to last longer in bed.


The full study is available here. Research was published in 2015.

In the Department of Oral Biology at the University of Malaya conducted a study of Uncaria, along with a few other plants, to determine how useful these plants can be for oral healthcare. As Uncaria has been historically used in traditional medicine for treating gum and tooth problems, it is only natural that scientists from the same region became interested in the scientific evaluation of its effects. 


In this study, it was demonstrated that Uncaria exhibited the highest antioxidant activity by strongly inhibiting 50 percent of DPPH radicals and was as potent as ascorbic acid. As a result, scientists concluded that an herb mixture where Uncaria was the main component can be used as an alternative source of antioxidants for therapeutic purposes in oral healthcare. 


The full study is available here.

In 2012, the International Journal of Green Pharmacy published another in vitro study by Jamia Hamdard from a research institute in India. Again, scientists were interested in the antioxidant potential and antiradical property of Uncaria extract. 


The study came to the conclusion that Uncaria extract exhibits significant antioxidant activity and can be used as a potential source of a natural antioxidant. 

The study is available here.

In 2003, scientists from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth in the USA sought to further elaborate on the alkaloid properties of Uncaria plants, including Uncaria. The study examined and discussed potential new areas of Uncaria plants, with particular emphasis on bioactivities related to antiinflammatory properties, stimulation of the immune system, effects on the central nervous system and cardiovascular diseases.

The full study is available here.

Another very practical study of the Uncaria plant was done in 2004 by The University of New South Wales, Sydney and Prince of Songkla University, Thailand. Here, the scientists looked specifically at using Uncaria as a treatment of diarrhoea, haemorrhagic colitis and other diseases caused by Escherichia coli (EHEC) bacteria. Essentially, the aim of the study was to find a natural alternative to antibiotic. 


This study demonstrated that Uncaria and a few other plants included in the study  indeed have strong antibacterial activity against all strains of Escherichia coli tested and related diseases: diarrhoea, haemorrhagic colitis, etc.


The two studies are available here and here.

In 2010, the University of Hiroshima, Japan and Andalas University, Indonesia conducted a study of antioxidative activity and antioxidant content of Uncaria plants, including Uncaria. 


The researchers of the study concluded that Uncaria, along with three other types of the same plant family, contain antioxidants that were effective and safe in eliminating harmful free radicals. 


The full study is available here.

In 2011, the Universiti Sains Malaysia conducted another study on Uncaria to analyse the flavonoid contents and antioxidant activity of the herb, as well as the most effective method for extraction and preparation. 


In this study, it was demonstrated that water-based extraction, a method similar to what is used to prepare Alpha-Herb, is the second most efficient extraction method, only after the more harmful ethyl acetate extraction method. 


The full study is available here.

In 2013, the Bogor Agricultural University of Indonesia researched the most effective and efficient ways to determine the antioxidant content in Ucaria G extract. The study carefully examined ways of determining the overall catechin content of a plant substance by using various methods, including FT-NIR spectroscopy and chemometric tools. 

The full study is available here.

Another interesting study about Uncaria was conducted by the University of Sriwijaya, Indonesia in 2016. 


In this study, scientists confirmed that 50 percent extract of Uncaria significantly reduced the decline of micropores in enamel as well as the decline of calcium’s weight. It was also found to be effective in lowering colonies of Streptococcus mutans, which cause dental plaque. The study concluded that 60 percent extract of Uncaria has equal effects to big-pharma medicine, such as Cefadroxil 500 mg. 

To access this study, click here.



Uncaria extract has been used in traditional medicine throughout Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan, China, and Thailand for centuries. 


The characteristics of Uncaria has attracted the attention of scientists for years, as early as 1902 when the first known scientific study by the University of Cambridge was conducted. In recent decades, more and more studies emerge that demonstrate the unique benefits of this plant. 


The application of plant benefits can be summarized into following categories: 


Generally, many studies demonstrate high antioxidative and anti inflammatory characteristics of the plant with a remarkably potent ability to scavenge free radicals. 


Several studies showed that Uncaria extract is effective in oral healthcare through maintaining healthy gums, enamel and fighting plaque.


Two laboratories from Japan applied for a US patent as an anti-aging remedy based on the extract of Uncaria. 


A study from the Universiti Sains Malaysia showed that the water-based extract method, which is the method for making Alpha-Herb, is the second most efficient method after ethyl acetate solvent, which is not the safest method for extraction 


The plant extract as a natural analgesic and anti-inflammatory agent of botanical compound can be used in treating joint problems, such as Osteoarthritis.


And finally, it has been shown that the extract of this plant has anti-aging qualities and can be used in cosmetics. 


P.S. There are many other studies covering the Uncaria plant. The list of these studies is available upon request.