We have previously reported that the C-Med 100 extract of the plant Uncaria tomentosa induces prolonged lymphocyte half life and hence increased spleen cell number in mice receiving the extract in their drinking water. Further, the extract induces cell proliferation arrest and inhibits activation of the transcriptional regulator nuclear factor kappaB (NF-kappaB) in vitro. We now report that mice exposed to quinic acid (QA), a component of this extract, had significantly increased number of spleen cells, thus recapitulating the in vivo biological effect of C-Med 100 exposure. Commercially supplied QA (H(+) form) did not, however, inhibit cell proliferation in vitro, while the ammonia-treated QA (QAA) was a potent inhibitor. Both QA and QAA inhibited NF-kappaB activity in exposed cells at similar concentrations. Thus, our present data identify QA as a candidate component for both in vivo and in vitro biological effects of the C-Med 100 extract.