By Mila McManus MD
Mistletoe (aka Viscum Album) is the most studied plant used for alternative and complementary cancer therapies. It’s been used in Germany for over 100 years. In fact, 85% of cancer patients in Germany are also on mistletoe therapy. Mistletoe’s effects are quite impressive! There are various types of mistletoe that grow on various tree types. Johns Hopkins is wrapping up a clinical trial on mistletoe therapy, and MD Anderson will soon be starting a clinical trial using mistletoe for osteosarcoma.
Here are some other important facts:
- There are NO contraindications for using mistletoe with any conventional cancer treatment.
- There are no known drug interactions.
- Various components of mistletoe fight cancer by directly killing cancer cells, as well as stimulating the immune system to fight the cancer.
- Mistletoe diminishes many of the side effects related to chemo and radiation. This includes a reduction in fatigue and nausea. It also improves appetite, mood, and sleep.
- Mistletoe contains endorphins that act as natural pain killers and can reduce or eliminate the need for pain medications.
- Some components of mistletoe repair DNA in damaged cells and protect DNA of healthy cells.
- Different types of mistletoe are used for different types of cancers.
- If you have a known allergy to latex, kiwi, banana, avocado, or chestnuts, an initial test dose will be given to make sure there is not a cross-reactivity with mistletoe since it contains similar lectins.
- Mistletoe is complementary to conventional therapies and can also be used as a monotherapy if someone refuses, or is not a candidate for, conventional cancer treatments.
- It can be used after cancer treatment to help prevent recurrence. (I recommend a book called Cancer-Free! Are you Sure? By Jenny Hrbacek, RN)
- Mistletoe is typically used for 5 years or longer, at varying doses/schedules.
- Mistletoe for cancer therapy is administered by subcutaneous injection, IV, and is sometimes injected directly into tumors. In the US, it’s only FDA-approved for oral intake (which isn’t useful for cancer treatment), so injections and IV are considered ‘off-label’ uses and are perfectly legal.
- Mistletoe can be started at any point in a patient’s journey, meaning that it’s never too late to start using it. Of course, the sooner a person starts, the better!
- Mistletoe therapy requires special training. Always use mistletoe under the guidance of a trained professional.
Call (281) 298-6742 for questions or to schedule an appointment with one of our healthcare providers to discuss whether a mistletoe protocol is right for you!
Mistletoe and the Emerging Future of Integrative Oncology by Steven Johnson, DO and Nasha Winters, ND (copyright 2021)
Compendium of Mistletoe Therapy with Helixor in Integrative Oncology