As a dietary supplement, bovine cartilage is usually made from the tracheal (windpipe) cartilage of bovines. The dietary supplement VitaCarte® is the commercially available preparation of Catrix®, an experimental powdered preparation that is taken in capsules.
The foremost researcher on the medicinal use of bovine cartilage was the late John F. Prudden, MD, who published the 1974 paper "The Acceleration of Wound Healing with Cartilage. I."
Early evidence suggests that Catrix® may be beneficial for psoriasis and treatment-resistant breast cancer. However, there are scant scientific data available on the medical use of bovine cartilage. Additional research is needed to determine its safety and effectiveness.
Bovine cartilage has also been suggested as a potential treatment for acne, alveoalgia, anal fissure, hemorrhoids, osteoarthritis, pruritus ani (irritated skin around the anus), rash from poison oak or poison ivy, and rheumatoid arthritis. According to secondary sources, bovine cartilage may have anti-inflammatory and immunomodulating actions. However, human research in these areas is lacking.
The commercial preparation Catrix® Wound Dressing was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1998, but it is not marketed in the United States. However, there is American availability of dermatologic preparations that contain the same powdered preparation of bovine cartilage as Catrix® Wound Dressing: Catrix® 10 Ointment, Catrix® 5 Rejuvenation Cream, and Catrix® Lipcare.
The FDA does not list bovine cartilage on its Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) list.
Antitumor angiogenesis factor, bovine mucopolysaccharide-cartilage complex, bovine tracheal cartilage, Catrix®, Catrix®-S, collagen bovine, cow cartilage, glycosaminoglycan polysulfuric acid complex, metastatin, mucopolysaccharide-cartilage complex, processed bovine cartilage, psoriacin, psoriacin-T, Rumalon®, VitaCarte®.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
An experimental oral preparation of bovine tracheal cartilage (Catrix®), commercially available as VitaCarte®, has been tested as a potential treatment for cancer. However, based on available evidence, it is unclear if this use is safe or effective.
Skin care (laser resurfacing adjunct)
It has been proposed that bovine cartilage may help reduce inflammation and edema and enhance wound healing when applied to the skin. Limited early evidence suggests that Catrix® 10 Ointment may help heal facial skin after laser resurfacing. However, additional research is needed before conclusions can be made.