Mistletoe Therapy

Mistletoe (also known as Viscum album) is one of the most widely used unconventional cancer treatments in Europe and has been used as early as the 1930’s. Results of a national survey conducted in Germany in l995 by the Society for Biologic Cancer Defense found that mistletoe preparations were the most frequently prescribed biologic drug (80%) followed by trace elements, vitamins, enzymes, and xenogenic (tissues from other species) peptides like thymus preparations.

Another survey of 125 hospitalized cancer patients in two clinics found that 90 (72%) had used unconventional methods and that the most frequently used unconventional therapy was mistletoe (43.2%) followed by immune stimulants, vitamins, and trace elements. The German Cancer Information service in Heidelberg reports that about 20% of their estimated 60,000 calls over the past 6 years are about unconventional therapies, and that 23.9% of the queries in one series of documented calls were about mistletoe.

As a consequence, several progressive European countries are covering the cost of Mistletoe for its use in cancer care.

Mistletoe extract has been in the news in North America since actress Suzanne Somers announced that she is using it as an adjunctive therapy to fight breast cancer following lumpectomy and radiation. Some medical experts have claimed that there is limited scientific evidence to support taking this natural approach.

However, a major groundbreaking study was published in the May issue of the peer-reviewed journal Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. The study showed that individuals who took mistletoe extract in addition to their standard medical treatment for cancer lived 40% longer.

This work followed 35,000 participants for over thirty years. Of the 35,000 patients studied, 5,000 developed cancer. A rigorous design with 300 pairs matched for tumor type, stage and conventional treatment received, demonstrated that those cancer patients who also had mistletoe showed 40% longer survival. Other studies confirmed low toxicity and favorable impact on the patients’ quality of life.

Research indicates that mistletoe extract is most effective when used in conjunction with standard medical cancer care for the treatment of solid tumors such as breast, liver, and colon cancers. However, we have clinically seen mistletoe have anti-cancer effects in people who have not as well.

We use several brands of Mistletoe (i.e. Iscador, Heel, Helixor, Abnoba) are incorporated into the treatment protocol for people dealing with cancer. Different brands may produce different effects. Mistletoe is a parasitic plant grown on different tree’s which in turn produce unique qualities that target the immune system and lead to its anti-cancer and supportive effects on the body. For example, Mistletoe P implies that it has been grown on a Pine tree and Mistletoe M stands for “mele” which is the Apple tree.

Patients are instructed as to the appropriate type(s), use, dosing schedule, and length of treatment for each case. Generally, the common uses of mistletoe are given by subcutaneous injections (under the skin) and are administered 3 times per week until the desired effect is attained. Mistletoe can be used along with standard cancer treatment (i.e. surgery, radiation, chemotherapy) and has not been shown to cause any significant side effects or complications. Genuine allergies like urticaria are very rare. A local reaction on the puncture site appearing frequently during the initial phase as well as moderate fever reaction are considered to be desirable effects of mistletoe therapy as long as they do not exceed an acceptable limit.

For those who are interested, we are also pioneering the use of select mistletoe ingredients used by the intravenous route. We find this approach may be stronger as compared to the injection under the skin. For further information about this approach please contact the office