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Mistletoe: medicinal plant against cancer

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 211 views

Mistletoe products are among the most frequently used alternative cancer medicines in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The medicinal plant is also used for joint diseases. However, their effect is controversial. Read more about the effects of mistletoe and what you should consider when using it here.

What is the effect of mistletoe?

Preparations made from mistletoe are very often used in Germany, Austria and Switzerland as anti-cancer drugs. They are given as an adjuvant to conventional cancer treatment.

The mistletoe extracts are said to inhibit tumor growth, protect against recurrence and improve the well-being and quality of life of patients – especially during chemotherapy. So-called lectins are considered to be the most effective ingredients, but also other substances such as polypeptides, mucilage and flavonoids.

Some studies actually point to a possible effectiveness of mistletoe against cancer. However, they are rejected by critics of mistletoe therapy, for example because the studies are inadequate, have not been checked by experts or do not meet modern scientific requirements. Overall, there is no clear evidence that mistletoe can help against cancer.

Apart from mistletoe therapy for cancer, the plant is also sometimes used for joint diseases caused by wear and tear. Mistletoe ingredients cause local inflammatory reactions after injection. The affected area is irritated and gets more blood flow, which can relieve joint pain caused by degenerative diseases.

According to folk medicine, mistletoe should also have a healing effect on other diseases. These include, for example

  • mild high blood pressure
  • Epilepsy
  • whooping cough
  • Asthma
  • Diarrhea
  • Cholera

The medicinal plant also seems to help with mental problems such as tachycardia and nervousness. The plant is also traditionally used to support cardiovascular function. There is also a lack of scientific evidence of effectiveness in this area.

What is mistletoe used for?

Dried mistletoe (Visci albi herba) is used medicinally. It consists of younger branches, leaves, flowers and the occasional fruit of the plant. Standardized extracts obtained from this are injected into the cancer patients.

Tablets or drops based on mistletoe are not approved for cancer therapy. Even with degenerative-inflammatory joint diseases, only standardized mistletoe preparations are given as an injection.

How often, how long and in which dosage the medicinal plant extracts are administered depends on the respective preparation and on the recommendations of the doctor and manufacturer.

Folk medicine uses various preparations of the medicinal plant, for example tea, drops and tincture, coated tablets and tablets.

In anthroposophic medicine, elixirs, fresh plant juices and fermented watery mistletoe extracts are recommended for cancer treatment. This complementary healing trend goes back to Rudolf Steiner, the founder of the Waldorf schools.

Note: If you are ill, you should always talk to your doctor about the right therapy.

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