Mistletoe is a semi-parasitic plant that expands and grows on distinctive host trees and greens. It is used as a dietary supplement and therapeutic and Ayurvedic medicine. Although evidence from the research is not available for backing up its medicinal purposes, Mistletoe carries nutritional and rich medicinal value. However, injected and intravenous formulations of Mistletoe aren’t legalized for medicinal purposes in the USA. The primary benefit of Mistletoe is stimulating and boosting the immune system for combating cancer cells. Studies suggest that Mistletoe can substantially improve and mitigate the side effects and symptoms caused by cancer treatments like Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy.
Limited studies suggest that Mistletoe can have a minimal yet efficient effect in enhancing the survival rate of the cancer patient. However, more studies are required to understand the effectiveness and benefits of Mistletoe in the medicine industry.
Mistletoe and its relation with cancer
Like previously stated, Mistletoe is a half-parasitic woody plant. Three common Mistletoe types include
- American mistletoe
- Korean mistletoe
- European mistletoe
Mistletoe comprises several biologically enhanced compounds. Sterile extracts of Mistletoe are highly beneficial in Cancer Treatment. It is equally toxic and stimulating in Cancer Treatment. Cancer cells get adversely affected by this plant, while the immune system gets stimulated enough for fighting the cells.
Uses of Mistletoe
Here are a few medicinal uses of this plant whose applications have been tested for various ailments.
Several studies and laboratory tests on animals are being done to determine the value of Mistletoe in treating cancer. Limited studies have found out that Mistletoe extract can help in lowering the cancer symptoms and side effects, thereby helping patients feel relieved and even increasing their survival rate to a certain extent.
Clinical trials are being done to understand how Mistletoe helps in treating hepatitis. Although most of these are conflicting results, more research can help in the deliberate understanding of Mistletoe and its power.
A few studies suggest that Mistletoe is playing a vital role in boosting the immune systems of different HIV patients. Nonetheless, more evidence is needed to back this up.
Lowering high blood pressure levels
Laboratory results and meticulous tests suggest that Mistletoe may lower blood pressure levels in the body.
Laboratory tests on animals suggest that Mistletoe aims to stimulate and modulate the immune system.
Mistletoe extracts are being precisely tested and assessed for a better understanding of their uses. Today, these extracts are being used for treating a multitude of conditions such as hepatitis, HIV, cancer, and degenerative joint disease. These extracts are available in oral forms as homeopathic, dietary, and Ayurvedic supplements. Nonetheless, the vitality of this plant is still unclear.
Many studies show that Mistletoe offers cancer patients with enhanced quality of life, along with mitigating side effects caused by Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy. Preliminary and other studies also suggest that iscador (intravesical) extract is secure and fit for patients with evolved cancers like non-muscle invasive bladder cancer. The extracts of Mistletoe are said to be effective for medical and chemical pleurodesis.
Two consecutive studies on patients with Breast Cancer suggest that Mistletoe did not negatively affect Chemotherapy or Surgery. It moreover offered to relieve therapy to the patients. Patients suffering from advanced tumors had the benefit of obtaining higher gemcitabine doses.
It is also noted that raw Mistletoe is infectious due to its toxic constituents. A few of the potential adverse effects may or may not be fatigue, fever, chills, and Nausea. Nonetheless, most of the reactions of Mistletoe were recorded as mild to moderate.
Studies and Clinical trials based on cancer
Different studies conducted in 2012 based on cancer types and their survival rate by using adjuvant iscador treatment suggests that Mistletoe has helped in a myriad of ways. Another study conducted in 2009 suggested that adjuvant iscador treatment worked comparatively well in Lung Cancer and other similar cancers.
Another study review from 2004 involves 16 regulated studies of different cancer types like breast, stomach, neck, lungs, colon, rectum, etc. This study suggests that Mistletoe slightly enhanced the survival rate of patients in 8 studies, proficient tumor remission in about one study and specific trends for remission in about two studies, and disease-free rate of survival trend in one study.
Gynecologic and Breast Cancer
Several studies conducted between 2007 to 2014 suggest that Mistletoe extract (iscador) was utilized for analyzing different assessments in Breast Cancer. One study suggests that Mistletoe enhanced the tumor response, along with mitigating side effects caused by chemotherapy, thereby prolonging the survival rate amongst Breast Cancer patients.
Patients suffering from Pancreatic Cancer were also given adjuvant Mistletoe treatment while undergoing Chemotherapy after the Surgery. These patients significantly enhanced their survival rate.
A regulated, observational, and reflective study of Mistletoe on nonmetastatic Colorectal Cancer suggests that these patients obtained a comparatively enhanced survival rate.
A study based on stage 4 Lung Cancer suggested that patients undergoing Mistletoe therapy with Chemotherapy had a three-year survival rate.
Side effects and Cautions
Although Mistletoe doesn’t show extreme side effects, one may or may not experience-
- Fever, elevated and decreased white blood cell count, chills, hypersensitivity, nausea, and Fatigue.
- In rare cases, the patient may experience vomiting, low heart rate, headache, low blood pressure, increased blood sugar, fainting, itching, rashes, etc.
Maximum reactions of Mistletoe were noted as mild. However, extremely few instances suggest that mistletoe’s toxicity resulted in death on self-medicating and administering or even ingesting it raw into the body.
To sum up
Mistletoe, if used correctly, can significantly help cancer patients feel much more relieved from the Pain caused by different cancer treatments. Nonetheless, it is vital to understand that pregnant women shouldn’t consume it. Moreover, one must consult their doctor before taking it to ensure maximum safety.