Extracts of mistletoe
(viscum album) are the most commonly used adjuvant to conventional cancer
treatments in both Germany and Switzerland.
Mistletoe therapy was brought into the mainstream American consciousness after Suzanne Somers announced on Larry King that she would forego
chemotherapy in lieu of Mistletoe therapy. Somers emphasized this was a
personal decision and not one she necessarily advocated for others.
Nonetheless, even conservatively speaking, her decision might not be as
hasty as one might suspect. This is because it has been reported that her
breast cancer was node negative and she agreed to be treated with a lumpectomy and
radiation. Admittedly speaking without the complete details of her
case, I think it's generally safe to say that her choice was not completely
frivolous even from a mainstream perspective.
Perhaps the most
extensively researched alternative therapy, with a number of clinical trials
and many case reports, mistletoe extracts have demonstrated significant
benefit for cancer patients in the majority of studies published.
The following is an
excerpt from a 1990 report by the Office of Technology Assessments on
Mistletoe has long been used in the treatment of a
variety of acute and chronic conditions. It was not widely used for treating
cancer, however, until the 1920s, during the early development of
Anthroposophy, a modern 'spiritual science' applied to medicine and a
variety of other disciplines. At present, mistletoe is given to patients
either as the central component of a complex, broader treatment regimen in
the practice of Anthroposophic medicine mainly in Europe or as a single
agent partially or completely removed from the overall context of
Anthroposophic care (e.g., in the United Kingdom and other countries). At
present, mistletoe preparations are advocated mainly by Swiss and German
physicians practicing Anthroposophic medicine, but are also used by other
European physicians not necessarily associated with Anthroposophy. A larger
group of researchers in Europe, and to a lesser extent in the United States,
has focused on the study of mistletoe's biological properties in various
study examines the long term results of 1,668 cancer patients treated with
and compares them with over 8,000 matched patients, not treated with
significant benefit in terms of quality of life and survival is clearly
demonstrated for breast, colon, rectum, stomach, lung cancers.
Use of Iscador, an Extract of European Mistletoe (viscum
album), in Cancer Treatment: Prospective Nonrandomized and Randomized
Matched-pair Studies Nested Within a Cohort Study
The next link comes
from one of Rudolf Steiner lectures where he discusses his insights into the
complex metaphysics of cancer and the applications of mistletoe.
Spiritual Science and Medicine
In August 2006 my
good friend and colleague Dr. Simon Barker and I lectured on the use of
mistletoe extracts in the treatment of cancer. We presented to the American
Association of Naturopathic Physicians annual convention. Below is a link to
the slides for the portion of the lecture I presented - which includes
mechanisms of action and several human trials.
Mistletoe and Cancer: Dr. Uzick's AANP