By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
December 14, 2011
- A kiss is only the beginning
- Were the Druids and ancient Greeks right?
- How to make mistletoe work for you
If you thought getting a kiss under a well-placed sprig of mistletoe this season was the most this traditional Christmas decoration might do for you…think again.
It might also be a powerful weapon against high blood pressure.
Promising studies from Africa and China show that mistletoe extract – made from the leaves of the plant – is a natural regulator of the circulatory system. One study tested mistletoe extract in both a single dose, and a steady drip over 14 days. Both were effective, though the longer-term administration also had a longer lasting impact.
Now, with so much pharmaceutical competition, it might be a long while before your average doctor directs you to take mistletoe extract to control your high blood pressure – or anything else.
But you might want to take matters into your own hands when you see how much more you can get from it than just a holiday kiss..
Not only do I think you’ll be surprised when you get to the end of this issue…I think you might even be a bit angry.
You see, mistletoe extract is also one of the most widely studied natural substances in the battle against cancer. In dozens of studies – focusing on cancer-survival, tumor response and quality of life in many different types of cancer – mistletoe therapy has shown a promising degree of success.
In some European countries, extracts made from mistletoe are among the most-often prescribed for cancer patients. Last year a German oncology journal called for further studies after a 43-year-old woman sustained a 10-month-and-counting remission from pancreatic cancer. She consistently used mistletoe therapy from the time of her surgery.
There is also evidence that it boosts the immune system, which could explain why the Druids and ancient Greeks considered it a panacea, and used it to “cure” many conditions.
Because mistletoe is a parasite, not a plant on its own, its properties vary depending on its host, such as apple, fig, and pine trees. This is one of the challenges for researchers – to determine which type of mistletoe is more effective for which types of conditions.
But this variation doesn’t explain why, after so many years and so many studies, the medical community is still unwilling to include this naturally occurring remedy into its arsenal.
There have been nearly 100 studies performed since Dr. Rudolph Steiner began using mistletoe extract in the 1920’s. Today, hospitals in Europe consider it a routine treatment protocol. Cancer patients swear by it. And there have been very few negative side effects reported.
So…why don’t most Americans know of any other use for mistletoe than a means for a holiday kiss?
Because mistletoe therapy is a well-kept secret here in the States. It is not even available here in the same intravenous IV form they use in Europe, unless it is part of a clinical trial.
You know the story as well as I do, I’m sure. There is no pot of money at the end of this rainbow for Big Pharma if mistletoe extract becomes an approved therapy. So no one is going to bat for it.
Surely, the FDA has approved pharmaceuticals with far fewer studies and far less anecdotal information than we have accumulated on the benefits of mistletoe therapy.
How could the medical community, in good conscience, block our access to such a powerful healing substance? One that could be an important remedy for some of the most challenging conditions we face?
I have no idea. It is appalling to me as well.
So, what’s an informed, proactive health consumer to do?
Taking the Matter – or the Mistletoe – Into Your Own Hands
If you just want a kiss, go ahead and stand under some mistletoe this holiday season.
But if you want to take advantage of the healing qualities this natural remedy offers, you can take mistletoe extract in the one form it’s available in the States…powder or capsule.
Because it’s not commonly used, a naturopath is most likely to be able to give you solid advice on whether and how to add mistletoe to your daily regimen. You can also find it online and follow the recommended dose on the label.
References: J Tradit Chin Med. 2009 Dec;29(4):291-5. Study on the mechanism of compound mistletoe fluidextract in relieving hypertension. Ye F, Du GZ, Cui AQ, Lu XT.
Biochem Res Int. 2011;2011:159439. Epub 2011 Sep 12. Evaluation of the Possible Mechanisms of Antihypertensive Activity of Loranthus micranthus: An African Mistletoe. Iwalokun BA, Hodonu SA, Nwoke S, Ojo O, Agomo PU.
Onkologie. 2010;33(11):617-9. Epub 2010 Oct 19. Sustained partial remission of metastatic pancreatic cancer following systemic chemotherapy with gemcitabine and oxaliplatin plus adjunctive treatment with mistletoe extract. Ritter PR, Tischoff I, Uhl W, Schmidt WE, Meier JJ.
Phytomedicine. 2011 Jan 15;18(2-3):151-7. Epub 2010 Aug 19. Quality of life in breast cancer patients during chemotherapy and concurrent therapy with a mistletoe extract. Eisenbraun J, Scheer R, Kröz M, Schad F, Huber R.