The Benefits of Mistletoe
European Mistletoe (Viscum album) has a long history in medicine and has decades of research and clinical evaluation that make it a safe and effective partner in many health conditions. It has been used orally for thousands of years, and as an injection since 1917.
What kinds of conditions is it used for?
Mistletoe is well-known and well-proven for improving quality of life in patients with cancer who are undergoing treatment and in palliative situations. However, it is also excellent for:
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Lyme disease
- Chronic infectious diseases
How specifically does mistletoe act in the body?
- Increase in natural killer and cytotoxic T-cells number and activity
- Activation of monocytes, macrophages, dendritic cells
- Increase in granulocytes and phagocytosis by neutrophils
- Increase in lymphocyte number and activity (CD4+, Th1, CD25+)
- Modulation of cytokine release: TNF-α, IL-1, IL-6, IL-2, IL-12, IFN-γ, IL-4, IL-5, IL-10, GM-CSF
Neuroendocrine system (increased energy, better mood, better sleep, less pain):
- Promotes equilibrium of the circadian rhythm including positive effects on body temperature and melatonin release
- Promotes release of ß-endorphine
Local tissue (osteoarthritis):
- Improved microcirculation
- Pain relief (increased mobility)
- Normalization of extracellular matrix
- Improvements in collagen function
What are mistletoe’s active constituents?
There are a number of very important compounds that together give mistletoe its distinctive combination of immunomodulation, pain relief, and mood enhancement:
- Glycoproteins (lectins, visalb) – increases cytokines, stimulates lymphocytes
- Polypeptides (viscotoxins) – actives macrophages, increased phagocytosis
- Oligo- and polysaccharides (arabinogalactane, rhamnogalacuronane) – stimulation of T-helper cells, NK cells
- Flavonoids (derivatives of quercetin) – protective effects on healthy cells
- Triterpenoids (oleanic, ursolic, betulinic acids) – anti-inflammatory and immunoprotective effects
How many studies are there on mistletoe?
There are more than 2,000 scientific publications and more than 130 clinical studies on mistletoe. It is likely the best-researched natural medicine available today.
How do I administer the mistletoe?
Your doctor or medical assistant will teach you how to do the injection in office and provide the supplies you need – after that it is simple to do it at home. Choose varying sites on the abdomen to administer the dose. For example top left, then top right, then bottom left, then bottom right, etc.
You can watch short videos on how to open the ampoule as well as how to administer the injection here: http://www.easy-start.info/english/welcome/
Why must mistletoe be injected?
Mistletoe is easily broken down by the body, meaning that if you take it orally it will not be effective. Crossing the skin activates the immune response that is required for mistletoe’s actions to start working. It is a simple injection, similar to an insulin shot, and patients or their caregivers learn to do it at home.
How long will I be using mistletoe?
For most conditions, 3-6 months is generally a good guideline. For arthritis it can be much shorter (4-8 weeks). Contact your doctor or medical assistant for more information on your expected duration of treatment.
What side effects might be seen?
Mistletoe is extremely safe. Most patients experience a desired skin reaction (itchy, raised, red rash) at the injection site, showing that the mistletoe is working. Fever, or a larger than usual skin reaction (greater than 5cm in diameter) are considered side effects and the dose should be reduced. A very small percentage of people may be allergic to mistletoe, but this is extremely rare. Report all side effects to your prescribing healthcare provider so that your dose can be adjusted.
When will I feel better?
You will start to feel noticeably better in approximately 60 days after starting your treatment.