Mistletoe: Snapshot


Mistletoe reduces the heart rate and at the same time strengthens the capillary walls, improves circulation, and relaxes the muscles.

Numerous clinical trials have found that injections of mistletoe extract are beneficial for treating cancer of various organs. There is no evidence that giving mistletoe orally would benefit those with cancer.

Combinations: (1) with Skullcap and Valerian for nervous disorders (2) with Motherwort and Hawthorn for myocarditis (3) with Blue Cohosh for menstrual irregularity (4) with Hawthorn and Lime flowers for benign hypertension. Never combine with Gotu Kola. (Dr John Heinerman)

Botanical Name

Viscum album

Part Used

Leaf

Common Names

Birdlime, Donnerbesen, All Heal, Devil’s Fuge, Thunderbesom, Golden Bough, European Mistletoe, Vischio (Italian); Herbe de gui (French); Mistelkraut, Mistel (German); Jemiola biala (Polish); Elatinos, Melios (Greek)

Brief History

Viscum album

Somewhere along the line, herbalists came to believe European and American mistletoe had opposite effects. European mistletoe was reputed to reduce blood pressure and soothe the digestive tract, while the American herb was said to raise blood pressure and stimulate uterine and intestinal contractions. Contemporary herbalists are divided on mistletoe. Some say the two varieties have opposite effects. Others make no distinctions between them.

Cultivation

Native to Europe and northern Asia, European mistletoe grows on host trees, especially apple trees. Squash berries onto branches of host trees in November and December. This is best done on the lower side of the branch. Mistletoe flowers are harvested from the fourth year. Collect the branches and leaves as well as berries in autumn

Constituents

Glycoproteins, polypeptides, flavonoids, caffeic and other acids, lignans, acetylcholine

Therapeutic Properties

Antispasmodic, antitumor, cardiotonic, diuretic, hypotensive, immune tonic, narcotic, nervine, sedative, vasodilator

Vitalist Properties

Temperature: Cold

Moisture: Moist

Specific Indications:

High blood pressure, arteriosclerosis, nervous tachycardia, hypertensive headache, chorea, hysteria.

Primary Uses

Cardiac

European mistletoe is chiefly used to lower blood pressure and heart rate, ease anxiety, and promote sleep. In small doses, it also relieves panic attacks, headaches, and improves concentration. European mistletoe is also prescribed for tinnitus and epilepsy.

Cancer

Mistletoe was introduced into the treatment of cancer in 1917. Today, extracts from the plant, usually given as an injection, are widely used as a supplemental treatment in cancer therapy in Europe. The herb’s most important active agents are the lectins, which poison cancer cells and stimulate the immune system.One meta-analysis combining ten studies on mistletoe and cancer failed to show that it was beneficial as palliative treatment. However, more recent reports suggest that mistletoe is helpful, especially for quality of life.

Clinical Research

Cancer

One meta-analysis combining ten studies on mistletoe and cancer failed to show that it was beneficial as palliative treatment. However, more recent reports suggest that mistletoe is helpful, especially for quality of life. When Iscador, a subcutaneously administered mistletoe extract, was randomly assigned to patients with different forms of cancer, those who got the mistletoe extract lived significantly longer (6 months to 1.7 years) than a group that did not get the treatment. All patients were receiving their usual chemotherapy regimen at the same time. A Swiss study of fourteen breast cancer patients showed that Iscador increased the rate at which breast cells were able to repair their DNA. Repairing DNA prevents mutations that can result in the formation of cancerous cells. At the beginning of the study, the rate at which cancer patients’ cells repaired DNA damage was only 16 percent of that in healthy individuals. After just nine days of treatment, the rate increased to nearly 50 percent.

In one study, another drug made from mistletoe extract, Eurixor, did not help patients with head and neck cancer. However, when this same drug was used for patients with advanced breast cancer, there was evidence of increased natural killer (NK) cell activity. Patients with other forms of cancer—such as bladder and colorectal—also seem to benefit from extracts of mistletoe. In animal studies, mistletoe extracts prevent the spread of melanoma to lung tissue by approximately 80 percent. However, the extract must be used before the cancer spreads to the lung. Studies in animals have confirmed that mistletoe lectins reduce the risk of leukopenia, or white blood cell deficiency, during chemotherapy with cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan, Neosar). Mistletoe also prolongs survival time and reduces risk of leukopenia after exposure to or treatment with radiation.

Dosage (Divided Daily)

• Dried Leaf: 6,000 – 12,000mg (as a tea)

Dried Powder: 2,000 – 6,000mg

• Tincture: 3 – 6 mL (1:2)

Contraindications

Some people may be contact allergic to plant

Side effects

None known

Interactions with other drugs

None known


Buy Mistletoe Loose Leaf, Powder & Capsules
Dried Mistletoe Leaf

 Bibliography
  1. Balch, P. A., & Bell, S. J. (2012). Prescription for herbal healing (2nd ed.). New York, N.Y.: Avery.
  2. Chevallier, A. (2000). Encyclopedia of herbal medicine (2nd American ed.). New York: DK Pub.
  3. Herbalpedia (2013)
  4. Mars, B. (2007). The desktop guide to herbal medicine : the ultimate multidisciplinary reference to the amazing realm of healing plants, in a quick-study, one-stop guide. Laguna Beach, CA: Basic Health Pub.
  5. World Health Organization., & Ebrary. (1999). WHO monographs on selected medicinal plants (pp. electronic text.). Retrieved from https://virtual.anu.edu.au/login/?url=http://site.ebrary.com/lib/anuau/Top?id=10040306

All material on this website is provided for your information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this information; instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being.