Mistletoe for Cancer?



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Mistletoe leaves and twigs have historically been considered a herbal remedy. While mistletoe berries and leaves are toxic and can cause death depending on the amount ingested; extract from the plant is currently being studied for its therapeutic properties. Mistletoe plant extract is considered to be a complementary cancer treatment by many researchers.

Per the National Cancer Institute:

Mistletoe extract is studied as a possible anticancer agent because it has been shown to:

  • Boost the immune system.
  • Kill cancer cells in the laboratory.
  • Protect the DNA in white blood cells,including cells that have been exposed to DNA-damaging chemotherapy drugs.

mistletoe-exract.jpgIscador is a trade name for a mistletoe extract– other trade names include, Helixor, Eurixor, and Isorel. The extract was publicized when actress Suzanne Somers revealed that after surgery to remove a cancerous lump, followed by radiation, she took Iscador to boost her immune system.

The extract has been used widely in Europe. Mistletoe requires a prescription and should always be given under medically supervised conditions due to the potential for anaphylactic reactions. Mistletoe extract is generally given as an injectable at the tumor site for ten to fourteen days. Warmth at the injection site and flu like symptoms are some of the reported side effects. Mistletoe extract should not be used by pregnant women.

Per the American Cancer Society:

“Commission E (Germany’s regulatory agency for herbs) has approved mistletoe as palliative therapy for malignant tumors (to help treat symptoms, not cure disease).”

Use of Mistletoe in the United States:

Per the National Cancer Institute:

“The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved the use of mistletoe as a treatment for cancer or any other medical condition. The FDA does not allow injectable mistletoe extracts to be imported or used except for clinical research.”

In the U.S. doctors can legally order the extract directly from Europe, though it is not approved for sale in the United States.

Clinical Trials in the U.S. involving Mistletoe:

While more than thirty clinical trials have been conducted in Europe involving mistletoe, the National Cancer Institute reports flaws in many of the studies.

Currently the National Cancer Institute in collaboration with the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine is sponsoring an ongoing study:

Gemcitabine Combined With Mistletoe in Treating Patients With Advanced Solid Tumors. Visit the site for more information.

More Information on Mistletoe Therapy:

University of California, San Diego Medical Center, Moores Cancer Center

The Regional Cancer Center

The U.S. Pharmacist

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

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Comments

  1. FREDDY VILLANUEVA says:

    Muy interesante el artículo sobre los medicamentos basados en la planta Muerdago, pero que hay de sus uso comercial? donde se consigue si uno quiere utilizar este medicamento natural?
    gracias

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