Mistletoe Therapy

Mistletoe, or Viscum album is a semi-parasitic plant that grows on oaks and other trees in Europe and Asia. Mistletoe is also found in America and Korea, but normally only the European species is used in the treatment of cancer, inflammatory conditions and AIDS. The leaves, twigs, and berries are what is used to make these herbal medicines. Because the medicinal doses are small (it can be poisonous in large doses), many believe it to be “homeopathic,” but it isn’t.

Mistletoe was first proposed for the treatment of cancer in 1920 by Rudolph Steiner, an Austrian Swiss physician who founded the Society for Cancer Research to promote mistletoe extracts and anthroposophical medicine.
Mistletoe is a semi-parasitic plant that has been used for centuries in Europe to treat many human illnesses. Although the berries and the plant itself are poisonous, a whole variety of extracts has been prepared and these seem to avoid the toxicity and side effects.
Two components of mistletoe, lectins and viscotoxins, provide the probable anti-cancer cytoxic ingredients for the extracts, which have been shown to kill cancer cells in vitro, and in animal studies. They, plus oligo- and polysaccharides, also boost the immune system, with studies showing this both in vitro and in vivo.

Open quotesSome extracts are, in fact marketed under more than one nameClose quotes Viscotoxins are small proteins that appear to kill certain cells by combining with their nucleic acids whilst also stimulating the immune system. Lectins are larger and more complex molecules made of carbohydrate and protein (galactosides). They appear to be able to bind to the surface of immune cells and stimulate activity, in common with all glycoproteins. Glycoproteins improve intercellular recognition systems, activating natural killer cells/T cells and other white cells to produce interleukin 1 and 6, and also tumour killing factors.
Mistletoe therapy is used by integrative doctors to improve quality of life, stabilize disease, induce fever, enhance orthodox therapies, and boost immune response.