Mistletoe Therapy

by | Sep 15, 2023 | Articles, Cancer, Conditions

Mistletoe (viscus album) is a unique plant that grows from the bark of trees.  The most commonly used forms are from apple, oak, pine and fir trees.  Mistletoe medicinal products are made from the berries, leaves, stems and roots.  Used as a medicinal plant for centuries is has been shown to be very helpful in treating cancer.  The use of mistletoe is somewhat standard in European oncology hospitals.

This remarkable plant has direct anti-cancer effects, inducing apoptosis (cell death) and limiting metastasis.  It is also immuno-modulatory, neither overstimulating or suppressing, but rather helps the immune system work more efficiently.  It is anti-inflammatory, inhibiting COX2 enzymes.   It helps repair and stabilize DNA.

Research shows that mistletoe therapy markedly helps quality of life with improvements in fatigue, insomnia, loss of appetite, weight loss, anxiety, depression and pain.  It overall helps physical, functional and emotional well being.

Mistletoe contains lectins and viscotoxins that are the primary beneficial components.  Lectins include Type I-III which selectively bind to cancer cells and are cytotoxic.  Another lectin is Chitin binding agglutinin which functions a super antigen to increase T cell activity.  The viscotoxins selectively bind to negatively charge cancer cell membranes and are cytotoxic.  There are other beneficial compounds in mistletoe including arabinogalactans, quercetin derivatives, syringin, triterpenes.

Choosing the Type of Mistletoe

The type of tree that mistletoe is growing from determines the various concentrations of lectins and viscotoxins.  The different parts of the plant and the processing also determine variations in mistletoe properties.  It is important to pick the right type of mistletoe for a given cancer, and a given person.   In general mistletoe from coniferous trees (fir, pine) have a lower lectin content are a gentler.  These may be chosen for patients that are weaker, more frail, or just completing chemo or radiation.  Higher content lectins are found in deciduous trees (apple, oak) and elicit a stronger response.

In general, mistletoe from the fir is choses for patients with allergies, sensitivities, autoimmune or atopic disease, if they are in a weakened or poor general state of health or currently getting chemo or radiation.  A brief outline follows but for more details see the mistletoe resources noted below.

Tree types

Fir (abietis)

  • lower lectin content – gentle, sheltering
  • less cytotoxic, well tolerated, strong DNA protection
  • patients completing chemo or radiation, in weak health or very sensitive
  • brain, head, neck, stomach, esophagus and lung
  • prostate and lymphoma
  • bone metastases

Pine (pini)

  • lower lectin except for Helixor P
  • highest lectin content (helixor P), most cytotoxic, less tolerable, most effective in stimulating immune
  • stronger patients, good general health
  • tumors of sense organs – neurologic, brain, skin
  • lymphoma, breast
  • retroperitoneal organs – kidneys, urinary, penis, testis, cervix

Apple (mali)

  • female reproductive – breast, ovarian, uterus
  • higher lectin, more cytotoxic
  • stronger patients, good general health
  • abdominal region, lymphatic

Oak (quercus)

  • dense, hard tumors – pancreas, rectum, gallbladder, prostate, hepatic, scca of lung
  • organs that take in external substance – gi, kidneys, respiratory
  • strong patients in good general health

Mistletoe Resources

Patients may order mistletoe with a prescription directly from Uriel pharmacy.

A great resource for more information is Mistletoe-therapy.org.

Mistletoe therapy overview

Key Points of Mistletoe Therapy

Switching from Iscador


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