In many countries of the Christan world, mistletoe is a traditional symbol of Christmas. Since the 18th century it has been cultivated in Catholic Christian nations of Europe and North America as a special Christmas decoration, and according to ancient tradition, kissing under mistletoe on Christmas season can make love stronger, or can help a couple to give up quarreling and fighting. The plant with the name Viscum Album is also known for its amazing healing powers and health benefits, including treating respiratory system problems, strengthening the function of circulatory system, as well as boosting fertility. Those can be enjoyed by using mistletoe tea, mistletoe powder or mistletoe extract. However, these years a number of studies was carried out focusing around possible anti-cancer benefits of this natural remedy. The findings of two of those evoked vivid interest both from the expert circles and the general public.
In winter 2010-2011 a group of scientists at Raphael Medical Centre in Kent offered using mistletoe extract as an effective natural support for those women who were diagnosed with breast cancer and are recovering after chemotherapy or radiotherapy. As the studies and clinical trials have shown, using this extract was the best solution for the patients of the medical center to manage such common side effects of chemo or radiotherapy as fatigue, depression, nausea and minor digestive system disorders, weight loss, and so on. The specialists of the clinic offered their patients a special course involving using mistletoe extract which was performed by injections. At that, after some initial treatment in the medical center, the patients were offered to go on the treatment at home and inject the remedy at their homes (in case if no inflammation or other unwanted response of the body was registered).
‘Patients receiving mistletoe during and after radiotherapy or chemotherapy appear to tolerate those treatments better. The university is planning a pilot double-blind randomised controlled trial, and hope to start recruiting in Bristol in April,’ said Professor Gene Feder, a general practitioner and Professor of Primary Care at Bristol University. Furthermore, it was found out that not only breast cancer patients, but also those who were diagnosed with lung, pancreatic, gynaecological, colon cancer, as well as the patients with leukemia and lymphomas can use this natural treatment as an effective natural support during the rehabilitation period. The scientists suggested that using this natural remedy assists in strengthening the function of the immune system, and there were theories that using mistletoe extract can be helpful during the actual cancer treatment since it could help kill tumor cells.
And these days, the findings of one more related research by an expert team from the University of Adelaide in Australia were published suggesting that using mistletoe extract can be good not only in order to avoid unwanted side effects of chemotherapy, but also to support its effectiveness and guarantee better results to those patients who were diagnosed with colon cancer. During the research and clinical trials, Adelaide University specialists led by Zahra Lotfollahi compared the effectiveness of various kinds of treatments involving mistletoe extract and compared the impact of using those in conjunction with chemotherapy on colon cancer patients. It turned out that that this kind of treatment can be successfully used and guarantee the patients healthier intestinal cells as a result of chemotherapy. For the treatment, Australian scientists used the extract of Fraxini mistletoe, the one which commonly grows on ash trees.
“This is an important result because we know that chemotherapy is effective at killing healthy cells as well as cancer cells. This can result in severe side effects for the patient, such as oral mucositis (ulcers in the mouth) and hair loss,”said the study leader. According to the scientist, the main advantage of using Fraxini mistletoe extract is its high tolerance to healthy intestinal cells, at that being very effective in destroying cancer cells. Further studies are required to find out more about the discovered properties of this amazing natural remedy, but even now the scientists are suggesting that using mistletoe extract can be a great idea both for reducing toxicity linked to chemotherapy and reducing the common unwanted side effects. Hopefully, the further studies will confirm the discovered anti-cancer effects and help thousands of people diagnosed with cancer to get cured.Author Info: Hi! My name is Carla and I am a 5th year medical student at HYMS. I am interested in alternative medicine and I have done months researching the topic of herbal medicine. Besides, I like interviewing people and learning more about their experiences with one or another type of herbal treatments. I am willing to contribute to this site with my knowledge, and I would be happy to help you out to the best of my ability with any specific questions or problems related to alternative medicine.