Germany uses mistletoe cancer treatment to deal with cancer. This blog post will teach you more about mistletoes and why they aren't just Christmas decorations.
Discover how to use mistletoe therapy for cancer and help you deal with cancer.
What Is A Mistletoe?
Mistletoe is one of many species of plants. They come from the families Loranthaceae, Misodendraceae, and Santalaceae. Most mistletoes live off a variety of hosts like a parasite. Some species even parasitize other mistletoes.
Birds, flies, and the wind pollinate most tropical mistletoes. Fruit-eating birds distribute the seeds when they poop. Or they can wipe their beaks against the bark of a tree.
Dwarf mistletoes on coniferous trees use hydrostatic pressure to shoot their sticky seeds. They can hit about 50 miles per hour(80 km/h).
After a mistletoe germinates, it penetrates the bark of the host tree. It forms a connection through which water and nutrients pass from host to parasite.
Mistletoes exist around the world.
Mistletoes Spread To Trees Worldwide
You can find mistletoe on ornaments, timber, and crop trees. Mistletoes deform the branches and decrease the reproductive ability of the host.
The European mistletoe is most abundant on apple trees. But you can also find them on poplars, willows, lindens, and hawthorns. Its North American counterpart also parasitizes many trees, including oaks.
Mistletoes are slow-growing but persistent. They die when the host perish. The only way to stop them is by removing them from the host.
European mistletoe (Viscum album) is the most well-known one. You can find it throughout Great Britain, Europe, and northern Asia. It forms a yellowish bush, 60–90 cm (2–3 feet) long, on the branch of a host tree. The flowers are unisexual and have regular symmetry.
They appear in late winter and soon give rise to one-seeded white berries. These berries contain toxic compounds poisonous to many animals and humans.
Most mistletoes are easy to locate and harvest after their hosts have lost their leaves. There are 1,300 to 1,500 mistletoe species worldwide, mostly in tropical or subtropical regions. Australia has 85 mistletoe species.
Some people know mistletoe as a Christmas decoration. The tradition is that if a couple stands below a mistletoe, they should kiss.
In some parts of Europe, mistletoe is part of bonfires. Some believed that mistletoes had magic powers as well as medicinal properties.
Mistletoe might sound like an undesirable plant because it kills trees. But some species eat mistletoes during the late fall when food is scarce.
Three species of hairstreak butterflies in the United States depend on mistletoe. They lay their eggs on the leaves. When the caterpillars hatch, they eat the leaves. Butterflies feed on mistletoe nectar, as do honeybees and other native bees.
Throughout history, many civilizations revered mistletoes.
The History Of Mistletoes
Ancient Greece is the earliest known culture to revere mistletoe. The Greeks referred to its white berries as "oak sperm" and considered it a symbol of male fertility.
In Greek mythology, Aeneas carried mistletoe to protect himself while traveling. The Druid priests in ancient Celtic times performed the "ritual of oak and mistletoe."
They considered it a sacred plant with great medicinal and mythical powers. The priests sacrificed two white bulls and feasted under the oak. Then, one of the priests climbed the tree to harvest the mistletoe.
In Norse mythology, Loki tricked the blind god Hodur into killing Loki's twin brother Baldur. Loki made Hodur kill him with an arrow made of mistletoe wood.
The tears of Frigga, their mother, are the berries of mistletoe. They became a symbol of love in Scandinavia. There are many variations of this tale. It became the custom of two enemies to find themselves under the mistletoe.
Mistletoe symbolized peace, love, and understanding to the Romans. They hung it over doorways.
Mistletoes were a sign of vitality and fertility in Christianity. Kissing under the mistletoe as a Christmas tradition started in England in the 1700s.
Queen Victoria established this tradition in the 1800s in England and the United States. The saying goes, if two kiss under mistletoe, they will marry. Most of us consider mistletoe another bit of holiday decoration. But did you know that it has medical capabilities?
Mistletoe Cancer Treatment
Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) was the first to use mistletoe extracts to treat cancer. He is the founder of anthroposophy. He used the sap from mistletoes harvested in the winter and summer.
Several anthroposophic doctors treated cancer patients with extracts based on his recommendations. However, the manufacturing process was complex.
Mistletoe as a cancer treatment expanded during the 1960s. Several animal experiments showed an impressive reduction in tumor growth.
Mistletoe extract kills cancer cells in animal tests. It boosts the immune system by increasing the number of white blood cells.
It stimulates the immune system through an anti-inflammatory mechanism. Mistletoe also fights cancer by stopping blood vessels that help tumors grow.
Patients may experience increased circulation, fever, or warmth. Most patients have a better quality of life because of mistletoe. This effect can be due to mistletoe stimulating the immune system.
Mistletoe contains several compounds that may have therapeutic effects, such as:
Lectins concentrated in mistletoe may boost the immune system. They are molecules that contain both carbohydrate and protein parts. These compounds can bind to and alter cells
Viscotoxins are another type of active compound found in mistletoe. They may have anti-cancer effects. All compounds found in mistletoe may contribute to these effects.
You receive mistletoe treatments through different extracts.
Mistletoe Extracts Who Have Anti-Cancer Effect
The most common form of mistletoe for cancer is the European one called Iscador. In Europe, they use extracts from the European white-berry mistletoe Viscum album (VA-E).
It treats patients with cancer, arthrosis, hypertension, arteriosclerosis, and diabetes. There are several whole plant extracts from the Viscum album on the market.
They have different extraction processes. You receive mistletoe extracts through injections. Commercially available formulations of European mistletoe extracts include:
Mistletoe products differ depending on the type of tree on which the mistletoe grows. The extracts come from water-based solutions or a mixture of water and alcohol.
Europe uses mistletoe to treat cancer. However, the FDA has not approved it as a cancer drug. FDA lists mistletoe as an approved substance in the homeopathic pharmacopeia.
You can prescribe it off-label in the United States by doctors trained in mistletoe therapy. But it's not an official cancer drug.
In Europe, mistletoe extracts are among the most prescribed therapies for cancer. German-speaking countries use it the most.
Patients often get mistletoe extracts alongside conventional treatments such as chemotherapy. You can use mistletoe alongside traditional treatments to offset the side effects.
It helps with nausea, vomiting, and lack of appetite when using chemo and radiation. Mistletoe may diminish tumor-related pain and reduce the risk of tumor recurrence.
There are hundreds of different studies on the effect of mistletoe on cancer. Let's look at some of them to learn how well they treat cancer.
Studies Of The Anti-Cancer Effects Of Mistletoes
A meta-analysis study examined cancer patients treated with mistletoe extract(Iscador). The researchers explored several databases.
They looked at clinical studies on survival in cancer patients treated with Iscador. The researchers found 49 publications on the use of Iscador for cancer patients. They found that cancer patients treated with mistletoe had better survival.
The same group of scientists did an updated study 11 years later. This time, they analyzed 82 studies that met their inclusion criteria.
They found almost identical anti-cancer effects with a database of higher quality. Iscador mistletoe again led to better survival in cancer patients.
Mistletoe also worked for patients with pancreatic cancer.
Pancreatic Cancer Patients Survived Longer With Mistletoe Extracts
Another study looked at cancer patients from January 2009 to December 2010. Two hundred twenty patients had advanced or metastatic pancreatic cancer.
They didn't receive any further treatment than the best supportive care. Then, the researchers put them in a group that received mistletoe treatment and one that did not.
Mistletoe participants got injections three times a week. The study found that mistletoe led to longer survival. Those treated with mistletoe did better on all six functional scales and 7 of 9 symptom scales.
Mistletoe improved the quality of life more than the best supportive care alone. The researchers found mistletoe an effective second-line therapy for this disease.
In another study, 23 patients had hepatocellular carcinoma(HCC), a type of liver cancer. They hadn't received chemotherapy before. The median overall survival time for all patients was five months.
Mistletoe extracts can also help against chemotherapy side effects.
Mistletoes Can Help With Chemotherapy Side Effects
A study followed breast, ovarian, and non-small cell lung cancer patients. Out of these, 224 patients were part of the final analysis.
All patients underwent conventional chemotherapy and other treatments. After randomization, patients in the study group were treated with the mistletoe extract Helixior.
They received treatments three times per week. Their dose started with a small 1 mg dose up to a maximum amount of 200 mg later.
The control group got 4 mg of Lentinan daily. Lentinan is an extract from the shiitake mushroom. The study used The Karnofsky Performance Index (KPI) to evaluate patients. KPI assesses patients' physical conditions and classifies them as reduced, stable, or increased.
Of those treated with mistletoe, about half improved their KPI scores. They had significant improvement compared to the control group. This study showed that mistletoe reduced the side effects of chemotherapy.
The Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research published a study in 2009. It looked at the effect of mistletoe on patients with breast and gynecological cancers.
They analyzed 19 randomized, 16 non-randomized controlled studies, and 11 cohort studies. Treatment of mistletoe showed some positive effects on breast and gynecological cancer.
Mistletoe is still not an official cancer treatment. But one woman wants to change that.
Will Mistletoe Extracts Become An Official Cancer Treatment?
Ivelisse Page is a stage IV colon cancer survivor. She used her faith, lifestyle changes, and mistletoe treatments to heal. Ivelisse started a clinical trial on mistletoe as a cancer treatment.
She aims to make it an official cancer drug. Drug studies have to undergo four phases. They are expensive and take a long time.
Ivelisse's organization, Believe Big, wants to research mistletoe as a cancer treatment. Mistletoe therapy for cancer is popular in Germany and Switzerland. But in the U.S., they want to study every potential therapy in a series of steps called phases.
The mistletoe phase 1 clinical trial at Johns Hopkins is complete. They tested the safety of it, determined a safe dose, and identified side effects. But there are three more stages before mistletoe can be a conventional cancer treatment.
Mistletoe treatments don't get the same attention as ordinary drugs. Drug companies don't want to back them because they are a threat to their profits.
You need a lot of money to create an official treatment. Phase 2 in the mistletoe study may cost 1 million dollars. To support it, you can go to Believe Big's homepage.
Most mistletoes live off a variety of hosts like a parasite.
You can find mistletoe on ornaments, timber, and crop trees.
Throughout history, many civilizations revered mistletoe.
Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) was the first to use mistletoe extracts to treat cancer.
The most common form of mistletoe for cancer is the European one called Iscador.
There are hundreds of different studies on the effect of mistletoe on cancer.
Mistletoe leads to better survival in cancer patients.
Ivelisse Page is a stage IV colon cancer survivor who used mistletoe and lifestyle changes to heal.
She wants to make mistletoe an official cancer treatment.
How To Use Mistletoe Cancer Treatment
1. Find a practitioner that treats cancer with mistletoe
2. Live a healthy balanced life
If you have cancer, you can use mistletoe cancer treatment. You can receive mistletoe treatments in the U.S. and worldwide. The organization Believe Big lists several therapy places in the U.S. and the world.
You shouldn't use mistletoe as a miracle solution. Healing cancer has more to do with having a balanced lifestyle. If you eat a crap diet, have lots of stress, and have an unhealthy lifestyle, you can get cancer.
Mistletoe can help you deal with cancer, but you must change how you live. Use mistletoe and change your health habits to better deal with cancer.
Discover How To Prevent Cancer In This Cheat Sheet
Download the guide, How To Prevent Cancer Cheat Sheet, to learn how to avoid cancer with natural remedies.
Discover how to change your diet and other things to protect against cancer.