Vilcacora or Uncaria tomentosa is a woody vine found in the tropical jungles of South and Central America. Besides being known as vilcacora, it is called cat’s claw because of its claw-shaped thorns resembling a cat’s claw or uña de gato or in some parts “Sacred Herb”. Vilcacora has been heavily researched and found to have medicinal uses; mainly in the ability to protect cancer cells from maturing.
Cat’s claw having been used many generations in South America, scientific research has only started over 50 years ago by a German scientist. In Peru, the cat’s claw is protected because of the medicinal properties that are in the inner bark and/or roots.
In the early 1970s, Klaus Keplinger, an Austrian scientist, started analyzing the cat’s claw properties. It has been just recently aware of the medicinal properties has reached around the world. Uña de gato is believed to serve as a bridge and balancer between two worlds; the “physical and spiritual”. According to Shamans, in spiritual causes ill health; first the soul then the body, the sacred balance or unity is broken, therefore taking uña de gato helps unify the physical and spiritual worlds. Some uses for cat’s claw have been for cancer, herpes, arthritis, gastritis, gout, wounds, and gastric ulcers. Amazonia, Campo, and Ashaninkas tribes believe if there are greed and/or anger the body develops cancer, asthma is caused by fear, and a lack of understanding of others will cause arthritis. An important note of cat’s claw is that it shouldn’t be taken while on chemotherapy.