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Mistletoe

The medicinal herb Mistletoe as an alternative herbal remedy - European mistletoe is a semiparasitic plant that grows on several types of trees in temperate regions worldwide. Where the term "mistletoe" is used in this fact sheet, it refers to European mistletoe. (European mistletoe is different from American mistletoe, which is used as a holiday decoration.)Common Names--European mistletoe, mistletoe

Latin Name--Viscum

What Mistletoe Is Used For

  • Mistletoe has been used for centuries in traditional medicine to treat seizures, headaches, and other conditions.
  • Mistletoe is used mainly in Europe as a treatment for cancer.

Herbal Remedy Products with Mistletoe as part of the ingredients

ImmunityPlus.jpg
  • ImmunityPlus™ - Herbal supplement for a healthy immune system and routine cellular health. Supports immune system health, functioning, and overall well-being
    • Helps maintain a healthy immune system
    • Supports routine cellular health
    • Promotes vitality and healthy energy levels
    • Helps maintain the health and functioning of the liver

How Mistletoe Is Used

  • The leafy shoots and berries of mistletoe are used to make extracts that can be taken by mouth.
  • In Europe, mistletoe extracts are prescription drugs that are given by injection. In the United States, mistletoe by injection is available only in clinical trials.

What the Science Says about Mistletoe

  • Laboratory studies have found that mistletoe kills cancer cells and stimulates the immune system.
  • The use of mistletoe to treat cancer has been studied in Europe in more than 30 clinical trials. Although improvements in survival or quality of life have been reported, almost all of the trials had major weaknesses in their design that raise doubts about the findings. For example, many of the studies had a small number of participants or did not have a control group.
  • NCCAM is sponsoring a clinical trial of mistletoe, given in combination with the drug gemcitabine, for cancer. The study will look at toxicity, safety, and immune system effects of mistletoe extract when combined with this chemotherapy drug.
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Side Effects and Cautions of Mistletoe

  • Raw, unprocessed mistletoe is poisonous. Eating raw, unprocessed European mistletoe or American mistletoe can cause vomiting, seizures, a slowing of the heart rate, and even death. American mistletoe is unsafe for medicinal use.
  • In countries where commercial mistletoe is available by injection, such as Germany, those extracts are considered to be generally safe when used according to product directions and under the supervision of a health care provider.
  • Injected mistletoe extract may cause itching or redness in the area of the injection. Less commonly, side effects may include more extensive skin reactions, low-grade fevers, or flu-like symptoms. There have been very rare reports of more serious allergic reactions, such as difficulty breathing.
  • Because mistletoe has not yet been proven to be a safe and effective cancer treatment, it should not be used outside of clinical trials.
  • It is important to inform your health care providers about any herb or dietary supplement you are using, including mistletoe. This helps to ensure safe and coordinated care.

News About Mistletoe

Mistletoe Research May Keep You Healthy

(State University of New York at Geneseo)

Newswise — A new study examines the spread of mistletoe—a parasitic plant—and finds that the plant’s success is determined not only by its compatibility with a host tree but also whether or not the plants’ fruiting seasons overlap. Knowing what factors are necessary for the parasite to spread may help scientists better understand the variability of other parasitic interactions, including infectious diseases.

“We wanted to address an ongoing debate about the multiple determinants in the spread of parasitic plants,” says Suann Yang, assistant professor of biology at SUNY Geneseo and co-author of the study published in Journal of Ecology. “But the questions we address also applies to other parasitic relationships, including viruses and bacteria.”

Yang and her collaborators, researchers at The Pennsylvania State University and the Island Ecology and Evolution Research Group (IPNA-CSIC), Spain, conducted the four-year field research project in sections of the University of Puerto Rico’s Finca Montaña, a mix of cattle pasture and forest patches.

For the Birds

“For mistletoe, we found that the availability of suitable host species during germination and establishment is most important,” says Marcos Caraballo Ortiz, a biology Ph.D. candidate at Penn State and lead author of the study. “But, a very close second has to do with the timing of when hosts produce fruit in relation to when mistletoe is fruiting.”

Mistletoe seeds are spread by birds who eat the berries’ nutritious pulp. Like many fruits, the berries act as a laxative, which allows the seeds can pass through the bird quickly without damage. Birds distribute the seeds for germination—seed rain—when they perch.

“Mistletoe is not like a dandelion—its seeds are not spread randomly by the wind,” Yang says. “There is a bit more precision needed—and risk—because it relies on birds to bring its seeds to the right host.”

For the study, the researchers identified the tree species in several forest fragments and tallied the number of mistletoe plants living off the trees. They found that more mistletoe was found on spiny fiddlewood than on any other tree species.

They also found that fiddlewoods were disproportionately favored by seed-bearing birds over the other main host species, the day-blooming jasmine and white indigo berry. Although these other trees are quite common, less than five percent of the mistletoes were on them.

Low Survival Rates

To investigate the discrepancy between host species, the researchers “planted” rows of mistletoe seeds on the branches of eleven plant species. Surprisingly, the mistletoe had a very low survival rate on spiny fiddlewood—less than 10 percent compared to other trees where survival rates were higher than 20 percent. Suitability, they found, doesn’t explain why so many mistletoes are found on this seemingly “favorite” host.

“It’s extraordinarily hard for the seedlings to survive on this particular host,” Caraballo says. “But, in the end, we think the majority of the population of mistletoe plants were in these trees because they were ‘flooded’ with seed rain from the birds.”

Birds that disperse mistletoe seeds—gray kingbirds and northern mockingbirds, in particular—don’t tend to bring them to the best hosts; that’s not their goal. Instead, they visit trees that are fruiting and providing food.

“The presence of fruit on the landscape that the birds prefer can be as beneficial to mistletoe as the presence of a compatible host,” says Tomás Carlo, associate professor of biology at Penn State and senior author. “The fruit of the spiny fiddlewood is one of the top three fruits eaten by gray kingbirds and northern mockingbirds at our study site.

“We found that the eating habits of the birds led them to visit the spiny fiddlewood frequently, and that increased the amount of mistletoe seed that was delivered. This host is filled with the parasitic plant, but it’s not because the majority of the mistletoe seedlings survive on them,” Caraballo explains.

“A broader, community ecology approach like ours, that looked beyond plant species, can yield surprising insights. It’s important to remember that the relationship of a parasite to one host is not independent of the other species that are interacting with them,” Carlo says.

“Similar to how mistletoe spreads through an environment, there are many emerging diseases, like Zika and Dengue viruses, that spread between hosts by a dispersal agent—mosquitoes, in these cases—whose behavior depends on certain environmental conditions or specific preferences. Paying attention to these factors can help us understand why a parasitic plant or disease appears to favor a particular host.”

This research was supported by the National Science Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Aarón González Castro and Claude dePamphilis also collaborated on the study.


Care Of Mistletoe: How To Grow Mistletoe Plants

By Bonnie L. Grant

The winter holidays wouldn’t be the same without mistletoe to inspire kissing and add to the seasonal décor. The plant itself is an evergreen with numerous translucent white berries. It grows on host plants and has a definite preference for certain species. Can you grow your own mistletoe plant? You certainly can grow a mistletoe plant indoors on a small tree or outside on an established nurse plant. Find out how to grow mistletoe for your own ready supply of kissing encouragement.

Can You Grow Your Own Mistletoe Plant?

Mistletoe is a parasitic plant that lives off another tree. Its favorite hosts are apple, hawthorn, lime, poplar and conifers. The plants bear seeds inside the berries. They are best planted when fresh and harvested between March and April. Check their preferred host trees for caches of the berries.

Of course, you will also need a host plant for the seeds to germinate and grow upon. Growing a mistletoe plant indoors will require a small potted tree for the seeds to latch onto. Orchard apples are perfect for mistletoe growing and may be seeded. The parasitic nature of the plant means it will take nutrients and moisture from the host, so be cautious which plants you choose to seed.

How to Grow Mistletoe

Only use fresh berries for mistletoe growing. You will need to remove the seed from the berry. To do this, just squeeze out the seed and then rub off most of the sticky coating. Rinse the seed and then plant the seeds. In the wild, mistletoe grows on host plants but this condition is not necessary for germination.

Most species of mistletoe seed needs light for germination but can also sprout in moist seed flats. Use a potting mix with generous amounts of peat in a flat. Sow several seeds and mist the medium until damp. Place a lid or plastic over the flat and place it in a well lit area with temperatures at least 60 F. (16 C.).

The mistletoe will need to be moved to a host plant to grow on, but rooting can be sporadic. Ideally, you should just push the seeds into a host plant’s bark and spritz them daily with water to keep them moist. Germination may take several months depending on the light, moisture and temperature conditions.

Some schools of thought say you need to make a cut in the bark of the host tree and push the seeds inside, but this is not strictly necessary. No matter how you do plant, fruiting may take four to six years from germination.

Make a cut in a host tree’s bark for transplant. Seedlings are ready for transplant when they have several true leaves. Insert the roots into the cut bark and pack with moist moss. Keep the area misted until the seedling attaches to the host. Care of Mistletoe

Mistletoe is not prone to damage from insects and has few disease problems. The plants are diocieous, which means each is either male or female. The slow growth rate means you won’t know which you have until about year four. If you just get flowers but no berries, your plant is male. This is why it is important to plant several seeds at the same time.

The care of mistletoe is minimal, but you will want to give the host plant some extra TLC as the mistletoe saps some of its energy. Apply fertilizer in spring, watch the host for pest and disease problems and keep the host tree watered.

Mistletoe will take off after the fourth year and is very hardy. It gets all its needs from the air and the host plant. In some areas like California, prevention and control are the issue with mistletoe, which spreads like wildfire. Ensure that you are not adding to the problem when you plant outside. If there is any concern, try growing a mistletoe plant indoors instead.


Mistletoe Extract Benefits Pancreatic Cancer Patients

(admin, Natural Awakenings)

A study published in the European Journal of Cancer revealed that a mistletoe extract may lengthen life for patients with severe pancreatic cancer. German researchers tested 220 patients with advanced stage pancreatic cancer, an aggressive, often fatal disease.

The patients were divided into two groups; one was given up to 10 milligrams of Viscum album (European mistletoe) three times a week for up to 12 months. Both groups received supportive care throughout the study period. The average length of survival for those taking the mistletoe extract, 4.8 months, was nearly twice that of the other group, 2.7 months; a survival period typically dates from the original diagnosis.

Within a group considered to have a good prognosis, the survival period for those that consumed the extract, averaging 6.6 months, was more than double that of the no-extract group, which averaged 3.2 months.


Mistletoe could have cancer benefit

By Michelle Henderson

MISTLETOE could have greater powers beyond inspiring people to pucker up beneath its boughs at Christmas, medical researchers claim.

Researchers at Adelaide University are studying whether the festive foliage may have medicinal components that could be beneficial for colon cancer sufferers.

Different types of mistletoe extract are already authorised for use in some European countries, but not in Australia.

University of Adelaide health sciences honours student Zahra Lotfollahi compared three different types of mistletoe extract and chemotherapy on colon cancer cells in the lab.

She found one extract from ash trees, Fraxini, was highly effective against colon cancer cells and gentler on healthy intestinal cells, compared with chemotherapy.

Ms Lotfollahi said Fraxini was the only extract that showed a reduced impact on healthy intestinal cells.

University of Adelaide Professor Gordon Howarth, the student's supervisor and a Cancer Council senior research fellow, said although mistletoe had been considered a viable alternative therapy overseas, it was important to understand the science behind it.

Mistletoe extract has been tested on cancer patients in numerous international clinical studies, mostly in Europe but also in Israel and more recently in the United States, according to the National Cancer Institute in the US.

The NCI states that although mistletoe was often found to be therapeutically effective, many of the studies had major weaknesses including small numbers of patients, which raised doubts about the reliability of the research.


Mistletoe: The wonder herb

By Revd Fr Adodo

The Director, Pax Herbal Clinic and Research Laboratories, St. Benedict Monastery, Ewu, Edo State, Revd Father Anslem Adodo, answers the question on natural plants for physical wellness.

Mistletoe, the parasitic plant is a peculiar plant. Its roots sink into the branches and trunks of other trees, instead of into the soil. The seeds need sunlight to germinate, unlike most other plants that need darkness. The leaves produce chlorophyll even in the darkness, unlike other plants that turn yellowish when there is no light.

Mistletoe is an evergreen plant that does not die easily. As a parasite, mistletoe is a disease on other plants which makes farmers to dread the plant. Mistletoe produces toxic berries, which are eaten by birds that spread them to other trees. Being gelatinous, the seeds stick easily to the trees and so germinate there.

Mistletoe, Viscum Album belongs to the Lorantaceace family of plants. The leaves contain choline and acetylcholine, which act directly on the autonomic nervous system. The berries contain alkaloids and toxic substances. For this reason, we advise against any form of internal application of the berries.

How to preserve mistletoe

Collect fresh leaves from the tree. The best time to collect mistletoe in tropical country like Nigeria is between 12noon and 1pm. As soon as you collect the leaves, rinse them in water, and then spread them out on a mat or zinc in an airy place. Do not expose the leaves to direct sunlight for more than one day. This is generally true of all herbs. It is always better to dry fresh leaves in a shady but airy place. It takes seven to 10 days for mistletoe to be properly dried. As the leaves get dried they tend to turn dark in colour. Indeed, mistletoe is a very peculiar plant.

Kinds of mistletoe

The mistletoe on guava, kolanut, cocoa and trees of the citrus family are the most potent kinds of mistletoe. All other are also good but may not be as effective as the ones mentioned above. For the treatments of cancer, the mistletoe of guava is the best, This is because it contains the highest concentration of lectins, a kind of proteins that science has discovered to destroy cancerous tumors and cells. It is the mistletoe on guava that actually cures cancer. This important piece of information is known to some herbalists who keep it close to their chest. I give it here so that humanity may profit from it. For the treatment of cancer, then, I recommend the mistletoe of guava trees. For the treatment of hypertension, nervousness and insomnia, I recommend the mistletoe on kolanut and the citrus trees. The mistletoe on cocoa is best for diabetes. However, these are observations based on practical experience rather than on orthodox scientific research, unlike in the case of guava. I invite our scientists to verify these observations. For all other forms of illness, mistletoe on any edible fruit would help.

Methods of preparing misltletoe
Method one: Infusion

Soak three dessertspoons of dried and powdered leaves into a cup of hot water. Allow it to infuse for 10 to 15 minutes before drinking. You may add honey if you wish. Do this two times daily.

Method two: cold extract

Soak two handfuls of the fresh or dried leaves in one cup of cold water for eight hours or simply overnight. The following day add one cup of hot water to it. Sieve and store in a flask. Drink one cup in the morning and one cup in the night. Mistletoe is well known for the treatment of the following diseases:

Hypertension

Mistletoe not only lowers blood sugar but also helps to repair the pancreas and other diseased organs in the body. Mistletoe is one of the most effective herbs for hypertension. No matter how serious or chronic the case maybe, mistletoe always makes a difference. Follow the method one or two as described above.

Heart problems

Mistletoe is an excellent herb for the circulatory system. It promotes flow of the blood to the brain and heart, especially in those suffering from coronary arteries and angina pectoris. Mistletoe is the safest herb for heart problems. In treating patients with heart problems, great care must be taken to take the correct herbs or drugs, since any minor mistake could be fatal. With mistletoe, there is nothing to fear because its efficacy has been proved and confirmed. Follow method one or two as described above for three months.

Insomnia

Mistletoe relaxes muscles, calms the nerves, eases palpitations, migraine, nervousness and pains. Those who suffer from epilepsy will find mistletoe very helpful as it protects against attacks.

Arthritis

Mistletoe increases the production of urine and the elimination of toxic wastes from the system. Those who suffer from arthritis, rheumatism and gout have testified to the efficacy of mistletoe. Where other herbs have failed, mistletoe has proved to be a saviour. Eternal application of mistletoe is recommended in cases of arthritis, rheumatism and gout. Soak three handfuls of dried of fresh leaves in a bottle of water for two days. Steep a napkin in the solution and place it on the painful, swollen or inflamed joints. This brings a quick relief.

Infertility

For infertility problems of various forms, mistletoe has proved highly effective. Drinking two cups of mistletoe daily will correct gynecological problems such as excessive menstruation, painful menstruation, irregular menstruation, anovulation, Amenorrhea and uterine hemorrhage. For fibroids, drink three cups of mistletoe daily for six months. For this I recommend the mistletoe on Guava. I know a lot of women who were faithful to this medication and patient enough to complete the six months therapy. Today they are not only free of fibroids, but are enjoying a new lease of life, for mistletoe rejuvenates.

Cancer

Herbalists have been using mistletoe for the treatment of cancer long before modern science did any research on it. Breast cancer is the most common kind of cancer in Nigeria. Many women have fallen victims of this ailment. Radiotheraphy, chemotherapy or breast excision is temporal remedies-they do not cure the sickness. Mistletoe is there to offer hope to all cancer patients.

However, managing cancer with mistletoe is a long term affair. We must get rid of our modern day mentality that wants immediate solution to every problem. Recovery is a slow process. Herbs work slowly but more steadily and surely. For the treatment of cancer, soak three handfuls of dried mistletoe leaves in one beer bottle of water OVERNIGHT. The following day, add half bottle of hot water. This gives you one and a half bottles of solution. Drink one glass, four times daily. Continue this for at least six months, even though you would feel healthy after two months of medication. Don’t be carried away. Follow the given prescription.

Diabetes

I do not want to go into the issue of whether diabetes is curable or not. That is no longer an important issue. The important question today is: what is the most effective plant for treating diabetes? I stand to affirm that mistletoe is among the most effective herbs for diabetes. I know of many diabetics who have never taken western drugs for the past five years but depend solely on mistletoe. Many of them simply drink a cup of mistletoe solution once a week. In serious cases of diabetes, I recommend the same dose as for cancer above for six weeks, after that follow either method one or two of preparation and continue for five months.

General health

Mistletoe is not meant for the sick alone. It is also recommended for those who wish to remain healthy. Drinking a cup of mistletoe tea daily will ensure protection against diabetes, malaria, typhoid, migraine, hypertension, pneumonia and all sorts of physical ailments.

As an anti-malaria, mistletoe is your best bet. For this, drink two cups daily. I prescribed this for a middle-aged man four years ago. He used to suffer serious attacks of malaria fever every two weeks. He went to the best hospital around and took the latest drugs in the market, all to no avail. The fever kept coming every two weeks. It got to a stage that all the medical doctors treating him became frustrated and said to him: we are tired of you. Till this moment, this man never suffers a single attack of malaria fever.

Mistletoe is indispensable for those suffering from HIV/AIDS. Within one month of mistletoe therapy, one would notice that almost all the symptoms, such as, fever, weakness, dysentery,, and weight loss have been arrested, and the patient can go back to work. Could mistletoe hold the key to unraveling the HIV/ AIDS menace?


These Mistletoe Beauty Benefits Prove This Plant is Good for More Than Just Stealing a Holiday Kiss

By Kristin Collins Jackson

The holiday seasons are filled with tradition, some of which I've found irrelevant and outdated, and others I have found so fun that I've rarely cared how it became a tradition in the first place. Though the tradition of mistletoe is lacking the main ingredient in any kiss (consent), mistletoe's beauty benefits kind of make up for it. During the yuletide season, tiny bushels of mistletoe could be found above the door frame at holiday parties, particularly Christmas parties, and any female caught standing underneath was up for grabs. This was exactly how Screech attempted to snag a kiss from Lisa Turtle in Saved by the Bell.

Since I learned MOST of the things I know about life from Saved by the Bell, I associated mistletoe exclusively with kissing, but this decoration isn't just for Christmas and it's definitely not just for romance: Mistletoe has been considered a healing plant for over 2,000 years — much longer than it has been known as a holiday decoration. This holiday season, when I see mistletoe, I'm not anxiously looking around waiting for my creepy neighbor to plant one right on my lips. I'm looking around to make sure the coast is clear so I can put mistletoe all up on my face.

Mistletoe is a parasitic plant, but don't let the negative name fool you. This just means that the plant obtains sustenance from host plants without harming the host OR benefiting from it. Fortunately, our skin can be the host and the mistletoe will give our skin nourishment without any harm at all. Mistletoe is anti-inflammatory and has anti-aging properties, plus it's known to strengthen our immune system. It's perfect for winter skin, but also great to protect from free radicals year-round. Since mistletoe is a soothing antiseptic, it's a perfect way to fight breakouts without irritating your skin. The antioxidants give tremendous healing properties to mistletoe and makes it an ideal remedy to fight signs of aging.

If you aren't sold on the healing properties of mistletoe yet, check this out: Mistletoe has been part of numerous studies around the world suggesting mistletoe could be used to treat certain cancers. Results have been profound yet mixed, which is why John Hopkins' research team launched a multiyear study to ascertain the safety and effectiveness of mistletoe.

A little warning: You definitely don't want to start gobbling up mistletoe — it is not edible. You should also consult your physician if you are thinking of using mistletoe extract for any serious illness. However, if you are trying to get up on that DIY skincare game, mistletoe is totally safe and fairly easy to come by. You can purchase mistletoe extract at your local vitamin store for about $10.

So let's put mistletoe to good use this holiday season. Here are three skin and hair care recipes to get you started.

1. Mistletoe Anti-Aging Toner

Honestly, I went most of my life without ever using a toner, but in the last two years, I've gotten addicted to making and using toners. Since mistletoe can heal damaged skin and regenerate new skin cells, I couldn't wait to get my hands on those green leaves. The simplest way to use this toner is to boil the leaves of mistletoe in a quarter of filtered water. Use a half cup of the mistletoe tea and add two tablespoons of the water to one tablespoon of fresh aloe vera. Add a pinch of witch hazel and allow nature's healers to work their magic on a freshly washed face.

2. Mistletoe Healing Cream

This recipe is booming with holiday cheer... and unclogged pores. Use one ounce of mistletoe tea, two ounces of coconut oil, one teaspoon of beeswax, and a few drops of your favorite essential oil (I personally would recommend frankincense and sea buckthorn). Blend your ingredients together and store in a sealable jar.

3. Mistletoe Hair Treatment

Mistletoe is known to strengthen hair follicles and promote healthy growth, which means you definitely want to pour mistletoe on those dry, winter locks. To get the full benefits of the stuff, you can purchase mistletoe extract and add it into your favorite deep conditioner, or you can make mistletoe tea and use it as a hair rinse in between washes. Your slightly dirty hair will love those antiseptic properties while promoting healthy hair.

PS: Although mistletoe is safe for topical use, the leaves are the only part that need to be used for beauty remedies. The berries can be toxic and should always be kept away from children and pets.



Health News: Mistletoe can halt skin cancer, lemon juice can prevent kidney stones and high-tech insulin to end blood sugar tests

(Daily Mail Reporter)

In our round-up of health news this week, mistletoe shown to halt most lethal skin cancer, lemon juice prevents kidney stone formation and a high-tech insulin injection that detects blood-sugar levels Could mistletoe help to halt skin cancer?

Mistletoe holds the secret to beating skin cancer, new research suggests.

A study by ­German scientists shows the plant can halt the growth of malignant melanoma — the most lethal type of skin cancer — when combined with the diabetes drug rosiglitazone.

Scientists at the University Hospital of ­Hamburg combined mistletoe with ­rosiglitazone because, although the diabetes drug has recently been dogged by fears that it may raise the risk of heart attacks, some studies suggest it may be able to tackle cancer.

When the combination was applied to melanoma cells in the laboratory, the rate of cancer growth was slashed by up to 79 per cent.

It’s thought mistletoe helps the body’s immune system fight tumours and speeds up the disposal of toxic ‘debris’ left behind from chemotherapy.

Previous German research using mistletoe extract found patients had fewer side-effects from toxic chemotherapy and radiotherapy and ­survived longer.

High-tech insulin to end blood sugar tests

Scientists have developed an insulin injection that needs to be taken only once a day, which could transform the lives of diabetes sufferers.

Called Smart Insulin, it releases the ­hormone into the bloodstream only when it detects blood-sugar levels are too high. The rest of the time the chemical is ­contained inside a special coating that stops it leaking out.

The benefit is that patients no longer need to repeatedly check their blood sugar levels or inject themselves throughout the day, as the insulin is only released when it needs to be.

The insulin is packaged inside a bundle of ­molecules — these include a chemical that binds to sugar.

Once inside the body, the molecules float around in the bloodstream. When sugar levels start to increase, the chemical ‘locks on’ to it and the ­molecules surrounding the insulin release it.

When blood sugar has levelled out, the molecules close up around the remaining insulin.

The treatment is still undergoing testing but could be available within a few years.

Drink lemon juice and prevent kidney stones

Drinking lemon juice might help prevent kidney stones.

Lemons have the highest concentration of citrate, a compound which prevents stone formation, say researchers at the University of California.

They discovered that drinking four ounces of lemon juice in two litres of water a day led to a near eightfold drop in cases.

Other reconstituted fruit juices have less citrate and are often supplemented with calcium and contain oxalate, one of the principle components of kidney stones.

The researchers say diluted lemon juice is one of five ways to prevent kidney stones.

The others are drinking plenty of fluids, and reducing the intake of salt, calcium and protein.

Stones can form anywhere in the kidney or bladder and range from tiny crystals to large stones. They can cause severe pain if they begin to move about the body.


Benefits of Mistletoe Tea

(lifelive, Healthy Life Live)

For a healthy beverage, try the mistletoe tea! You should already know the plant thanks to its association with the Christmas traditions. However, there’s more to mistletoe than just being a decorative plant. Find out about the health benefits ofmistletoe tea!

About the Mistletoe Tea

The main ingredient of the mistletoe tea is the hemi-parasitic plant, the mistletoe. It is an evergreen plant that usually grows on the branches of various trees, such as elms, pines or oak. The mistletoe can be found in Europe, Australia, North America, and some parts of North Asia. The woody stem has oval, evergreen leaves, and waxy, white berries. The berries are poisonous; the leaves are the ones used to produce themistletoe tea.

Mistletoe is often used as a Christmas decoration. It is hung somewhere in the house, and remains so during next Christmas, when it gets replaced. It is said that it protects the house from lightning or fire. Also, legends say that a man and a woman who meet under a hanging of mistletoe are obliged to kiss. The origin of this custom may be Scandinavian, and the first documented case of a couple kissing under the mistletoe dates from 16th century England.

There are two types of mistletoe that matter: the European mistletoe and the American mistletoe. Regarding their appearance, they look pretty similar. The difference is that the American mistletoe has shorter leaves, and longer clusters of 10 or more berries. Other differences between the two are related to health benefits.

How to prepare Mistletoe Tea

Properly preparing a cup of mistletoe tea takes some time. First, you add a teaspoon of the dried mistletoe herb to a cup of cold water. Let the cup stay overnight at room temperature. On the next day, heat the mix before drinking.

To enjoy its rich flavor, don’t skip any of these steps!

Benefits of Mistletoe Tea

The mistletoe tea has many health benefits thanks to its main ingredient, the mistletoe. The herb includes various active constituents, such as amines, caffeic and myristic acids, mucilage, terpenoids, and tannins. Mistletoe is also an essential ingredient of the European anti-cancer extract called Iscador, which helps stimulate the immune system and kill cancer cells. Therefore, it’s said that mistletoe teahelps you fight against cancer.

Another health benefit of the mistletoe tea is that it reduces symptoms associated with high blood pressure, such as irritability, dizziness, headaches, and loss of energy. This, however, applies to the mistletoe tea made leaves of European mistletoe. The leaves of the American mistletoe is said to raise blood pressure.

Another health-related difference between the European and the American mistletoe is related to uterine and intestinal contractions. The European mistletoe acts as an antispasmodic and calming agent, while the American mistletoe increases uterine and intestinal contractions. Be careful with the type of mistletoe tealeavesyou use.

Mistletoe tea can also help with relieving panic attacks, nervousness, and headaches. It is a useful treatment against hysteria, epilepsy, and tinnitus. It is also recommended in the treatment of type 1 and 2 diabetes, breast cancer, and to support HIV patients.

Drinking mistletoe teahelps with diarrhea, as well. It is useful when it comes to menopause and pre-menstrual syndrome. It is also useful when dealing with respiratory ailments such as coughs and asthma.

Side effects of Mistletoe Tea

First of it, it is recommended not to have children drink mistletoe tea. Also, if you are pregnant or breast feeding, it is best that you stop drinking mistletoe tea.

If you have hepatitis, you need to stay away from mistletoe tea. Consumption of mistletoe tea will only cause more damage to the liver.

Also, despite being useful when treating diabetes, mistletoe tea mayinterfere with the action of anti-diabetic medications. It is best that you check with your doctor, to make sure it doesn’t cancel the effects of the medication. Cancer patients should also consult with their doctors first, before adding mistletoe tea to their daily diet.

Other side effects that you might experience because of mistletoe tea are flu-like symptoms, including fever, nausea, abdominal pain, and various allergy-type symptoms.

Lastly, don’t drink more than 6 cups of mistletoe tea a day. If you do, it might cause you more harm than good. You might get some of the following symptoms: headaches, dizziness, insomnia, irregular heartbeats, vomiting, diarrhea and loss of appetite. If you get any of these symptoms, reduce the amount of mistletoe tea you drink. Also, this can apply to all types of tea, not only mistletoe tea.

Don’t just think of Christmas when you hear someone talking about mistletoe. Remember the many health benefits of mistletoe tea. Check for side effects and if it’s all safe, feel free to include mistletoe teain your daily diet. It will definitely help you stay healthy!


10 Health Benefits Of Mistletoe

By Nithya Shrikant

There are countless varieties of mistletoe – 900 species spread across 73 genres! The diverse range of this species has, in fact, triggered a speculation that it is a toxic parasite. But, not all Mistletoes are bad. The European mistletoe, according to folk medicine, has medicinal properties and was considered as magical. A fertility symbol in the traditional European medicine, it is touted to be beneficial for managing blood pressure, inflammation, respiratory ailments, and even prevent cancer.

Why Should You Use Mistletoe and its Health Benefits?

1. Beneficial during cancer treatments

According to studies, using mistletoe during chemotherapy helps in easing and diminishing the negative impacts of radiation and chemotherapy. Another research conducted in Europe suggests that it has innate anti-cancerous properties that enable it to recuperate faster. Harmful effects of using it have very little.

In laboratory, Mistletoe has shown signs of killing cancer cells and boost immune system. However, it is not yet fully proved if this boost helps in fighting cancer.

2. Helps with diabetes management

The studies on the hypoglycemic properties of this herb are on a research stage, yet whatever laboratory results are available do shed a ray of hope. According to the study that was conducted in vitro, this herb has the potential to stimulate the synthesis of insulin, improving the insulin sensitivity. It also showed a positive impact in managing the levels of glucose in blood. People in Europe have been reportedly using this herb as a potent anti-diabetic natural remedy.

According to another research, African mistletoe have good amount of anti-diabetic properties but its activity is also dependent on host species of the plant.

3. Cure for respiratory ailments

Mistletoe has the power to calm down the irritated airways and bronchioles, thereby easing chronic coughs. The anti-inflammatory nature of the herb soothes the inflamed lungs, offering a potential natural cure for respiratory ailments like bronchitis and asthma.

4. Beneficial for pain management & Muscles

Topical application of this herb as poultice helps in relieving pain instantly and hence, it has been used as a powerful home remedy for painful, inflammatory conditions like sciatica and gout.

This hemiparasitic plant has good effects on muscles primarily found in intestines, arteries and uterus. It possesses properties which help in calming these muscles. This in turn helps in health conditions like dyspepsia and indigestion. However, people suffering from hypertension should avoid it due to its side effects.

5. Good for your cardiovascular health

Mistletoe has an impeccable effect on high blood pressure. It helps in lowering the blood pressure, there by alleviating the pressure on cardiovascular system. It also prevents the shrinkage of arteries, one of the prominent triggers of atherosclerosis. Thus, mistletoe takes care of your cardiovascular system, and lowers the risk of lethal conditions such as stroke and coronary heart disease. Try using the Japanese or European variants to reap the anti-hypertensive properties of mistletoe.

6. Beneficial for women

Folk medicines suggest the use of this anti-spasmodic herb to prevent and ease menstrual disorders like cramps and heavy blood flow. Regular use of this herb, according to traditional women of Europe, could cure uterine disorders and improve fertility.

7. Helps in soothing your nervous system

Mistletoe is one of the most prominently used natural solution to ease stress, calm your nerves, and relax the entire body. This could be the reason why it has been used as a natural antidote for insomnia, anxiety attacks, and depression.

8. Good for gastrointestinal health

Inflammation of the gut impacts the entire health. Using this herb could tame the inflammation and promote gut health by boosting digestion and taking care of other gastrointestinal troubles.

9. Improves immunity

A compound present in this herb is known to boost the immune system and shield you from chronic, recurring illnesses. It also has powerful antiviral, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties, making it a perfect immune-booster.

How to use Mistletoe?

You can use mistletoe in the form of a tea. Chop one teaspoon mistletoe leaves after cleaning them thoroughly to 250 ml cold water. Keep it at room temperature for 12 hours before consuming.

Where it is available?

Misletoe is available primarily in UJ, Netherland and Switzerland. It is available in drug stores with name Helixor. The injection for it is approved in Germany where it is used to tone down tumors and give relief to patients from uneasiness.

In USA it is only available for clinical trials and is not available at drug stores. However, its diluted form is available which is often mixed with alcohol or water. If you want to give it a try, talk to your doctor.

What are side effects?

There are certain studies that indicate the side effects of using mistletoe.

Pregnant women should be cautious while using this herb as it could induce a miscarriage by stimulating the uterus.

While there is much said and written about the anti-cancerous properties of this herb, there are some contradictory findings as well. There are cases where using European mistletoe has worsened the symptoms of leukemia.

If you are already on anti-hypertensive drugs, be extremely careful while using this herb as it could dangerously lower the level of blood pressure.

Stop using European mistletoe at 15 days prior to your surgery as it could impact the blood pressure levels.

There is a theory that using this herb could have negative impacts on liver health.

There are no scientific evidences that offer any information regarding the appropriate dosage and usage of European mistletoe. So, please be very careful! Check with your doctor before using this drug and adhere to the dosage and directions he gives you to avoid undesirable negative impacts.


Could Mistletoe Help Heal Cancer?

By Celeste Yarnall (Ph.D)

According to ScienceDaily, Nov. 30, 2012, it seems that the age old traditional Christmas decoration, Mistletoe, has the potential to play a vital role as an alternative therapy for sufferers of colon cancer. But long ago mistletoe was also known for its amazing healing abilities.

In “What’s the Deal With Mistletoe? How the plant came to be associated with Christmas kissing,” (Dec. 14, 2011) Christopher Beam reveals a history of how the plant was used and referenced. The Druids are the first people credited for using this hemi-parasitic plant for healing purposes. In the Aeneid, the hero brings a bough thought to be mistletoe—a symbol of vitality that remains green even in winter—to the underworld. But the earliest mention of mistletoe’s romantic powers was by Roman natural historian Pliny the Elder, who scoffed at the Druids of the 1st Century A.D. for believing that ”mistletoe, taken in drink, will impart fecundity to all animals that are barren.”

The romantic aspect of mistletoe was later brought to us by the Norse myth about Baldur and his mother, Frigga, the goddess of love and marriage. According to legend, Frigga got all the plants and animals of the Earth to promise not to harm her son—except mistletoe. Loki, the god of mischief, took that opportunity to kill Baldur with a spear made of mistletoe. In some versions of the tale, Frigga’s tears then turned into mistletoe berries, which brought Baldur back to life, prompting Frigga to declare mistletoe a symbol of love.

If we jump to the 18th or 19th centuries, we see that the Brits started hanging mistletoe as part of Christmas celebrations. By 1820 and 1830s we find mistletoe referenced in writings by Washington Irving and Charles Dickens. The popular myth echoed by these writers still holds today: mistletoe brings luck to people kissed beneath it and bad luck to those who didn’t get kissed. Some have even believed that it is best to pick a berry off for every kiss and stop when all the berries are gone. Although please be careful not to eat any of the plant, as some species of mistletoe are poisonous.

Mistletoe’s reputation as a healing plant persists in the world of herbal remedies. I remember reading about Suzanne Somers opting after her breast cancer surgery to treat her breast cancer with mistletoe extract instead of chemotherapy. The product that was written about in the news that she used was called Iscador.

Now, at the University of Adelaide in Australia, scientists are looking into just how the extract of mistletoe could either assist chemotherapy or act as an alternative to chemotherapy as a treatment for colon cancer.

Colon cancer poses the second greatest cause of cancer death in the Western world. Mistletoe extract is already authorized for use by sufferers of colon cancer in Europe, but not in some countries such as Australia and the United States due to a lack of scientific testing. The Europeans use many alternative therapies and devices only now becoming known to us in the USA. Some therapies stimulate the body’s microcirculation and reach the body’s normal cells by increasing blood perfusion, such as the BEMER device.

Mistletoe, according to Science Daily, Health Sciences student Zahra Lotfollahi (for her Honors research project) recently completed at the University of Adelaide, compared the effectiveness of three different types of mistletoe extract and chemotherapy on colon cancer cells. She also compared the impact of mistletoe extract and chemotherapy on healthy intestinal cells. In her laboratory studies, she found that one of the mistletoe extracts — from a species known as Fraxini (which grows on ash trees) — was highly effective against colon cancer cells in cell culture and was gentler on healthy intestinal cells compared with chemotherapy.

Significantly, Fraxini extract was found to be more potent against cancer cells than the chemotherapy drug.

“This is an important result because we know that chemotherapy is effective at killing healthy cells as well as cancer cells. This can result in severe side effects for the patient, such as oral mucositis (ulcers in the mouth) and hair loss,” and Ms Lotfollahi goes on to say:

Our laboratory studies have shown Fraxini mistletoe extract by itself to be highly effective at reducing the viability of colon cancer cells. At certain concentrations, Fraxini also increased the potency of chemotherapy against the cancer cells.

“Of the three extracts tested, and compared with chemotherapy, Fraxini was the only one that showed a reduced impact on healthy intestinal cells. This might mean that Fraxini is a potential candidate for increased toxicity against cancer, while also reducing potential side effects. However, more laboratory testing is needed to further validate this work,” Ms Lotfollahi says.

“Mistletoe extract has been considered a viable alternative therapy overseas for many years, but it’s important for us to understand the science behind it,” says one of Ms Lotfollahi’s supervisors, the University of Adelaide’s Professor Gordon Howarth, a Cancer Council Senior Research Fellow.

“Although mistletoe grown on the ash tree was the most effective of the three extracts tested, there is a possibility that mistletoe grown on other, as yet untested, trees or plants could be even more effective.

“This is just the first important step in what we hope will lead to further research, and eventually clinical trials, of mistletoe extract in Australia,” Professor Howarth says.

More studies are needed on the effects of mistletoe on cancer, but we’ll be keeping our eyes out. We’d love to see mistletoe help kiss cancer goodbye!


Health & Beauty Benefits of Mistletoe

By KD Angle-Traegner

Mistletoe’s silvery green foliage and white pearl-like berries make it an elegant and popular choice for yuletide decorations. But mistletoe can be much more than a simple addition to festive holiday decors. Steeped in tradition, mistletoe also has a wide variety of health and beauty benefits. In fact, ancient people were so impressed with its versatility that mistletoe became interwoven into legends, myths, and even religious beliefs.

So, what exactly is mistletoe? Mistletoe is a pretty, flowering parasitic plant. It obtains nutrition by living on and parasitizing other plants. Mistletoe grows on high tree branches or trunks of other trees, where it sends roots into the host. The sticky, white mistletoe berries find new hosts primarily by birds spreading the seeds from tree to tree, but gardeners can also use berries to propagate their own mistletoe plant.

There are two main types of mistletoe: European and American. The mistletoe that is commonly used for yuletide decorating is Phoradendron flavescens, the native North American variety. The European Mistletoe variety, however, is one of the most commonly prescribed substances (in various preparations) in international out-patient cancer clinics. It commonly grows on older apple, oak, pine, or elm trees.

Health Benefits

Could mistletoe help kiss cancer goodbye? Maybe.

Mistletoe tea has been used for centuries in traditional medicine for a variety of conditions such as seizures, headaches, menstrual cramps, and to aid in fertility. Today, mistletoe has been the focus of numerous studies around the world suggesting that it could be used to treat various types of cancer. Results of these studies have been widely mixed. While some studies have shown mistletoe extract ineffective at reducing tumor size or preventing the spread of cancer, other results show promising hope for cancer patients. Mistletoe extract has been shown to have killed cancer cells while also protecting the DNA in white blood cells, including those that have been exposed to powerful chemotherapy drugs. It has the potential to play a vital role as an alternative therapy for sufferers of colon cancer. Mistletoe can also help to minimize the side effect of chemotherapy treatments, thus improving the patient’s quality of life.

The shoots and berries are made into extracts that can be taken orally or by injection. Less common ways to take mistletoe are by mouth, intravenously, or injected directly into the tumor. Mistletoe extract injections are available as an alternative cancer treatment in Europe, with a doctor’s prescription. Whereas, here in the United States, mistletoe injections are only available in clinical trials.

It’s important to note that any variety of mistletoe is poisonous in its natural, unprocessed form. Fresh mistletoe can cause serious health implications such as vomiting, seizures, or even death. European mistletoe is the variety that is typically used for medicinal preparations, while the American species is considered a decoration only- it is unsafe for any type of consumption.

Beauty Benefits

Mistletoe can also be used in a DIY beauty regimen.

Mistletoe has both an anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties, plus it has been shown to boost our immune system. This not only makes it perfect for dry winter skin, but also as a year-round skin protectant. The antioxidants in mistletoe fight the signs of aging by protecting the skin against oxidative aging caused by free radicals. Since mistletoe can heal damaged skin, regenerate new skin cells, and even unclog pores, it makes the ideal facial toner or renewing lip scrub. And if that wasn’t enough, some proponents believe mistletoe can strengthen hair follicles and promote healthy new hair growth!

Mistletoe is fairly easy to come by. You can purchase mistletoe extract at your local vitamin store for about $15, or you can prepare your own using a few sprigs of fresh mistletoe. Be aware, although mistletoe is completely safe for topical use, only use the leaves in DIY beauty products. Discard the berries. They are toxic and should always be kept away from children and animals.


The Mythology and Medicinal Uses of Mistletoe

(MOTHER EARTH NEWS Editors)

This holiday plant has a long history when it comes to the mythology and medicinal uses of mistletoe. Includes legends of mistletoe, mythological Gods and historical figures recommendations for medical uses of the plant.

Learn about the mythology and medicinal uses of mistletoe.

The most traditional holiday herb wasn't always an invitation to a kiss. According to Norse legend, Balder, the god of peace, was slain with an arrow made of mistletoe wood. Other gods later restored Balder to life and put mistletoe under the auspices of Freya, the goddess of love. Freya ordained that whoever passed under it should receive a kiss to show that the plant had ceased to be an emblem of hate. Hippocrates and Pliny recommended medicinal uses of mistletoe for vertigo, epilepsy and tremors and mistletoe tea has been a traditional folk remedy for convulsions, hysteria, kidney problems, neuralgia, heart disease and even sterility. Since in even small amounts, mistletoe can be extremely toxic, we can't help but wonder if death wound up being the unintentional cure for these conditions.


Mistletoe's more than a holiday kissing tradition

By Erle Nickel(San Francisco Chronicle)

Mistletoe. If there's one holiday plant that seems simple and straightforward, it's this famous "kissing" decoration. Nothing could be further from the truth. Delving further, we must look at the history and folklore of the plant and its curious botany.

To understand the folklore, it's helpful to understand there are two species of mistletoe. Phoradendron flavescens, commonly used as mistletoe, is native to North America and grows as a hemiparasite on certain trees found in a line down the East from New Jersey to Florida, as well as in the West.

The other type of mistletoe, Viscum album, is of European origin. The European mistletoe is a green shrub with small, yellow flowers and white, sticky berries which are considered poisonous. It is commonly seen on apple trees and occasionally on oaks.

Like certain other parasitic plants, it grows on tree branches, seeking out nutrients there. Mistletoe is also capable of growing on its own, using photosynthesis to produce its own food. The mistletoe growing in trees is immediately identified by the large and mossy bird's-nest style cones that dangle from tree branches.

The rarer oak mistletoe was an important religious component of the ancient Celtic Druids and Germans and later used as a ritual plant by early Europeans. The Greeks and earlier peoples ascribed mystical powers to mistletoe, in part because it stayed green during the barren winter months.

Mistletoe was long regarded by ancient peoples as a fertility symbol, and Celts thought it contained the "soul" of the oak. It was gathered at both the summer and winter solstices. The long-standing custom of using mistletoe to decorate houses at Christmas is said to be a survival of pre-Christian traditions.

Kissing under the mistletoe is said to have begun with the Greek winter festival of Saturnalia and later with primitive marriage rites. The "power of the kiss" probably owes its origins to the long-standing belief that it could bring about fertility, due to its evergreen nature.

Though we now think of mistletoe only in terms of kissing and romance, Scandinavians considered mistletoe a plant of peace, a safe haven under which enemies could declare a truce.

It also reputedly had the power to help sparring spouses kiss and make up. In the 1700s, the English transferred the plant's reputed powers to something called a kissing ball. At Christmastime, a young woman standing under such a kissing ball, brightly trimmed with evergreens, ribbons and ornaments, invited kisses from those brave enough to join in. According to custom, such a kiss could mean a lasting love or perhaps a deep friendship.

To this day, those still observing the old rites in England burn the Christmas mistletoe on the 12th night, lest all the boys and girls who have kissed under the mistletoe never marry.

In France, the mistletoe custom was reserved for New Year's Day: Au gui l'An neuf (translated as "mistletoe for the New Year"). Though mistletoe is used throughout the holiday season here in the United States, it is more often hung for New Year's Eve parties.

Did you know?

The word mistletoe originated from the perception in pre-scientific Europe that mistletoe plants magically burst forth from the excrement of the mistle thrush. Ancients observed that mistletoe would often appear on a branch where these birds had left droppings. "Mistel" is the Anglo-Saxon word for dung, and "tan" is the word for twig. So, mistletoe is literally translated as "dung-on-a-twig." Ahh, romance.


Is Mistletoe a Plant, Shrub or Fungus?

By Victoria Lee Blackstone

Its association as a holiday kissing tradition notwithstanding, mistletoe can be the kiss of death to the host tree on which it grows. This unusual plant is an evergreen shrub that grows high overhead and grows modified roots in an unlikely place -- inside tree branches. Mistletoe manufactures its own food through photosynthesis, but it parasitizes a tree by extracting water and minerals from it.

Identification

Mistletoe plants comprise more than 250 species. Broadleaf mistletoes include American mistletoe (Phoradendron leucarpum, also P. macrophyllum) and English mistletoe (Viscum album), which are similar in appearance and grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zone 6A and warmer. Plants have green stems and oval yellowish-green evergreen leaves, and they produce white berries from October to December. From young plants that are small sprigs to mature specimens that look like rounded shrubs attached to tree branches, evergreen mistletoe is easy to identify after deciduous trees lose their leaves in autumn.

Life Cycle

Unlike a fungus that is flowerless and produces spores, mistletoe bears true flowers and seeds. Plants are either male, which produce the pollen, or female, which produce the berries. Birds are immune to toxic mistletoe berries and act as agents to disseminate the seeds. After birds digest the berries, they excrete the seeds, which are coated with a sticky substance that adheres them to trees. Rootlike structures called haustoria penetrate the tree bark and begin growing inside the branches. Succulent stems emerge outside the branches and plants begin their slow growth.

Damage

Mistletoe absorbs water and minerals from trees through their haustoria, which grow inside branches. Healthy trees can withstand some mistletoe growth without life-threatening consequences, but severe mistletoe infestations may cause irreparable damage. Individual branches may die and entire trees may suffer reduced vigor, stunted growth or death as haustoria girdle branches. However, the greatest damage to tree health is the loss of its water to mistletoe growths, particularly when mistletoe is flowering and producing fruit. As an obligate parasite, mistletoe can only grow on living trees. If its tree host dies, mistletoe cannot survive.

Control

Purdue University notes the only effective control for a mistletoe parasite is to completely remove it from its host tree. Pruning affected branches as soon as you notice mistletoe growth is critical to preventing the plant from being able to produce flowers and seeds. Because haustoria grow deep within branches, pruning cuts need to be at least 12 inches toward the tree from mistletoe's point of attachment on the outside of branches. If mistletoe is growing less than 12 inches from a primary branch or the tree trunk, cut the branch flush with the trunk and wrap the pruning wound in black plastic. Mistletoe cannot grow in darkness, so the plastic will not only suppress future growth but will also kill embedded haustoria.


10 Health Benefits Of Mistletoe

By Nithya Shrikant

There are countless varieties of mistletoe – 900 species spread across 73 genres! The diverse range of this species has, in fact, triggered a speculation that it is a toxic parasite. But, not all Mistletoes are bad. The European mistletoe, according to folk medicine, has medicinal properties and was considered as magical. A fertility symbol in the traditional European medicine, it is touted to be beneficial for managing blood pressure, inflammation, respiratory ailments, and even prevent cancer.

Why Should You Use Mistletoe and its Health Benefits?

1. Beneficial during cancer treatments

According to studies, using mistletoe during chemotherapy helps in easing and diminishing the negative impacts of radiation and chemotherapy. Another research conducted in Europe suggests that it has innate anti-cancerous properties that enable it to recuperate faster. Harmful effects of using it have very little.

In laboratory, Mistletoe has shown signs of killing cancer cells and boost immune system. However, it is not yet fully proved if this boost helps in fighting cancer.

2. Helps with diabetes management

The studies on the hypoglycemic properties of this herb are on a research stage, yet whatever laboratory results are available do shed a ray of hope. According to the study that was conducted in vitro, this herb has the potential to stimulate the synthesis of insulin, improving the insulin sensitivity. It also showed a positive impact in managing the levels of glucose in blood. People in Europe have been reportedly using this herb as a potent anti-diabetic natural remedy.

According to another research, African mistletoe have good amount of anti-diabetic properties but its activity is also dependent on host species of the plant.

3. Cure for respiratory ailments

Mistletoe has the power to calm down the irritated airways and bronchioles, thereby easing chronic coughs. The anti-inflammatory nature of the herb soothes the inflamed lungs, offering a potential natural cure for respiratory ailments like bronchitis and asthma.

4. Beneficial for pain management & Muscles

Topical application of this herb as poultice helps in relieving pain instantly and hence, it has been used as a powerful home remedy for painful, inflammatory conditions like sciatica and gout.

This hemiparasitic plant has good effects on muscles primarily found in intestines, arteries and uterus. It possesses properties which help in calming these muscles. This in turn helps in health conditions like dyspepsia and indigestion. However, people suffering from hypertension should avoid it due to its side effects.

5. Good for your cardiovascular health

Mistletoe has an impeccable effect on high blood pressure. It helps in lowering the blood pressure, there by alleviating the pressure on cardiovascular system. It also prevents the shrinkage of arteries, one of the prominent triggers of atherosclerosis. Thus, mistletoe takes care of your cardiovascular system, and lowers the risk of lethal conditions such as stroke and coronary heart disease. Try using the Japanese or European variants to reap the anti-hypertensive properties of mistletoe.

6. Beneficial for women

Folk medicines suggest the use of this anti-spasmodic herb to prevent and ease menstrual disorders like cramps and heavy blood flow. Regular use of this herb, according to traditional women of Europe, could cure uterine disorders and improve fertility.

7. Helps in soothing your nervous system

Mistletoe is one of the most prominently used natural solution to ease stress, calm your nerves, and relax the entire body. This could be the reason why it has been used as a natural antidote for insomnia, anxiety attacks, and depression.

8. Good for gastrointestinal health

Inflammation of the gut impacts the entire health. Using this herb could tame the inflammation and promote gut health by boosting digestion and taking care of other gastrointestinal troubles.

9. Improves immunity

A compound present in this herb is known to boost the immune system and shield you from chronic, recurring illnesses. It also has powerful antiviral, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties, making it a perfect immune-booster. How to use Mistletoe?

You can use mistletoe in the form of a tea. Chop one teaspoon mistletoe leaves after cleaning them thoroughly to 250 ml cold water. Keep it at room temperature for 12 hours before consuming.

Where it is available?

Misletoe is available primarily in UJ, Netherland and Switzerland. It is available in drug stores with name Helixor. The injection for it is approved in Germany where it is used to tone down tumors and give relief to patients from uneasiness.

In USA it is only available for clinical trials and is not available at drug stores. However, its diluted form is available which is often mixed with alcohol or water. If you want to give it a try, talk to your doctor. What are side effects?

There are certain studies that indicate the side effects of using mistletoe.

Pregnant women should be cautious while using this herb as it could induce a miscarriage by stimulating the uterus.

While there is much said and written about the anti-cancerous properties of this herb, there are some contradictory findings as well. There are cases where using European mistletoe has worsened the symptoms of leukemia.

If you are already on anti-hypertensive drugs, be extremely careful while using this herb as it could dangerously lower the level of blood pressure.

Stop using European mistletoe at 15 days prior to your surgery as it could impact the blood pressure levels.

There is a theory that using this herb could have negative impacts on liver health.

There are no scientific evidences that offer any information regarding the appropriate dosage and usage of European mistletoe. So, please be very careful! Check with your doctor before using this drug and adhere to the dosage and directions he gives you to avoid undesirable negative impacts.


Christmas ‘mistletoe’ can also kiss away obesity-related liver disease

(Agencies, The Health Site)

Washington, Dec 18: Scientists have found that Mistletoe not only represents a kiss at Christmas time, but it may also help fight obesity-related liver disease. Researchers have found that a compound

Washington, Dec 18: Scientists have found that Mistletoe not only represents a kiss at Christmas time, but it may also help fight obesity-related liver disease. Researchers have found that a compound produced by a particular variety of the plant could help fight the disease in mice.

Jungkee Kwon and colleagues note that, according to recent research, Korean mistletoe produces a number of biologically active compounds. These include familiar ones such as steroids and flavonoids. Also, extracts from the plant have shown anti-obesity effects, but no one had confirmed which specific molecules were involved. Kwon’s team wanted to investigate the matter and see if the key ingredient could also help fight fatty liver disease, which is associated with obesity and can progress to liver failure in some cases. (Read: 5 foods that can help prevent liver disease)

The researchers identified viscothionin as the compound in Korean mistletoe that affects fat metabolism in the liver. When they treated obese mice with it, their body and liver weights dropped. The scientists conclude that viscothionin could be explored as a potential therapeutic agent for the treatment of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. The study appears in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.



What You Need to Know About Using Mistletoe for Health

By Cathy Wong, ND (Reviewed by a board-certified physician)
What is Mistletoe?

European mistletoe (Viscum album) is a plant that grows on several types of trees throughout the world. Its shoots and berries have long been used in herbal medicine.

European mistletoe is different from American mistletoe (the variety commonly used as a holiday decoration).

Why Do People Use Mistletoe?

In herbal medicine, mistletoe is typically used for the following conditions, although there is limited scientific evidence on its effectiveness:

• arthritis
• hepatitis
• high blood pressure
• headache
• cancer

Preliminary laboratory studies have found that mistletoe can stimulate the immune system and kill cancer cells. However, clinical trials in humans have yet to prove that mistletoe is beneficial for cancer patients. Although studies have shown improvements in survival and/or quality of life among people using mistletoe in treatment of cancer, almost all of the trials had major weaknesses that raise doubts about the findings.

Benefits of Mistletoe

There is a lack of scientific evidence to support the use of mistletoe in treatment of high blood pressure, headache, or arthritis. Here's a look at other findings on mistletoe's health effects:

1) Hepatitis C

In a 2005 study of 21 people with hepatitis C, researchers found that treatment with mistletoe was well-tolerated and led to significant improvements in liver inflammation and quality of life.

2) Diabetes

Preliminary research indicates that mistletoe may be useful in the management of diabetes. In a 2009 study on rats, scientists found that diabetic animals treated with mistletoe had a significant decrease in blood sugar levels. Mistletoe also appeared to stimulate the secretion of insulin in both diabetic and non-diabetic rats.

Since there is limited evidence on mistletoe's benefits and risks for people with hepatitis C or diabetes, it's critical for patients to consult a physician before using this herb. Caveats

Due to a lack of research, little is known about the safety of using mistletoe supplements.

Use of mistletoe has been linked to following side effects:

• chills
• fever
• headache
• chest pain
• diarrhea
• vomiting

It should be noted that eating raw, unprocessed mistletoe can cause seizures, a slowing of the heart rate, and even death.

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine cautions that because mistletoe has not yet been proven to be a safe and effective cancer treatment, it should not be used outside of clinical trials. If you're considering using mistletoe in treatment of cancer or another condition, make sure to consult your physician.

Taking mistletoe in combination with certain medications (such as blood pressure drugs and anti-arrhythmics) may produce harmful effects. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should also avoid mistletoe. Using Mistletoe for Health

Due to the limited research and safety concerns, it's too soon to recommend mistletoe as a treatment for any condition. It's also important to note that self-treating a condition and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences. If you're considering using it, it is essential that you consult your physician first.


Can Mistletoe Help Treat Cancer?

By Zohra Ashpari (Medically Reviewed by Monica Bien, PA-C)

Overview

Highlights
1. Mistletoe extracts are commonly prescribed in European countries to treat cancer and its side effects.
2. Studies have shown that mistletoe kills cancer cells and stimulates the immune system, but human studies are lacking and unreliable.
3. Mistletoe has been shown to help some people with the side effects of cancer treatments but should not be considered a replacement for standard care.

When you think of mistletoe, you might picture a holiday season kiss beneath a festive decoration. But the red-berried plant we’re so familiar with has a cousin that’s known for its possible therapeutic value. European white berry mistletoe has been studied for its potential to improve quality of life for people who have cancer.

European mistletoe grows in in the U.K., continental Europe, and Western Asia. For more than 2,000 years, its twigs and leaves have been used in herbal remedies. Celtic druids considered the plant to be a treatment for many illnesses. In the early 20th century, Rudolf Steiner, a practitioner of alternative medicine, and Dr. Ita Wegman began to use mistletoe extract to treat cancer.

Today, mistletoe is among the most widely studied alternative therapies for cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Even so, the medical community remains uncertain about whether it’s an effective treatment. The types of cancers treated vary.

Did you know?
• Raw mistletoe is poisonous. Only highly processed mistletoe is used for medicine.
• American mistletoe, which has red berries, isn’t considered safe even after processing. Only use it for holiday décor!
• European mistletoe is approved for use in some European countries, but not in the United States.
Research on mistletoe
Research on mistletoe

There have been many studies on the use of mistletoe to treat cancer, including clinical trials with people. Most clinical trials have suggested that mistletoe can be an effective treatment for some types of cancer. But the NCI notes that these studies have major weaknesses. That means the findings may not be accurate.

In a 2009 review, researchers found that mistletoe extracts could boost survival rates among people with cancer. Other studies suggest that mistletoe may reduce tumor growth and support the immune system. But all of these studies had limits that make the findings unreliable. The authors of the 2009 review suggest that high-quality studies are needed to learn more about mistletoe’s benefits.

Improving quality of life

Mistletoe may have benefits for people with certain types of cancer. For people with breast cancer, mistletoe may help improve their physical and emotional well-being. One study showed that mistletoe reduced side effects of chemotherapy, such as nausea, numbness, and the feeling of pins and needles. Some study participants even reported less hair loss. They also felt less worried and depressed, and more hopeful.

Mistletoe may also help people feel less tired when they’re going through radiation therapy. It may help them sleep better as well. A study involving 220 patients with breast, ovarian, and lung cancer showed that those given mistletoe experienced less fatigue, insomnia, anorexia, and nausea. For stomach cancer, adding mistletoe to an oral chemotherapy regimen may also be beneficial. In one study, mistletoe lowered the frequency of diarrhea compared to those who weren’t given the extract.

Where is it available?

Mistletoe is available in Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the U.K. It’s most often sold under the drug names Iscador and Helixor. In Germany, mistletoe injections are approved as a treatment to lessen symptoms of tumors and improve the way patients feel.

In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved mistletoe injections to treat cancer. That means they aren’t available to the public. Mistletoe extracts can be used to treat people who are involved in clinical trials.

Diluted forms of mistletoe extract are available in the United States. These products contain small amounts of the plant, mixed with water or alcohol. If you want to try taking mistletoe extracts, speak to your doctor. Mistletoe has a wide range of possible side effects. You should only take it under a doctor’s care.



Can Okra Really Help Get Rid of Acne and Reduce Wrinkles?

(Dr. Oz The Good Life)

Okra - also called ochro, gumbo, bhindi, and ladies' fingers - might not look like anything special, but the veggie is chock-full of good-for-you nutrients. Not only are they low-cal and a rich source of dietary fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants, but they're also apparently supposed to do great things for your skin and eyes.

With the popular release of the first-ever okra facial wipes, we were extra curious whether this green plant lives up to the hype. There isn't much research available that looks specifically at okra's direct effect on skin and eyes, so we asked an expert to break it down for us.

"Okra is known to have high levels of vitamin A, vitamin C, and many other antioxidants, making it a helpful alternative option for reducing wrinkles, helping with acne and acne scars, and reducing skin irritations and blemishes," says Lana Pinchasov, RPA-C, physician assistant at Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City.

And eyes definitely don't get left out, either.

"Some of the antioxidants found in okra that are beneficial for eye health are beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, and lutein," she says. "These also promote the neutralization of free radicals in the eyes, which cause the breakdown of cells in the body responsible for macular degeneration and cataracts. It also helps nourish the eyes to prevent eye-associated illnesses."

Keep in mind that these skin and eye benefits are based on general knowledge of what various vitamins and antioxidants do for your skin and eyes, not on evidence that okra itself directly improves your skin and vision. That said, there's no arguing that okra is a healthy veggie that's worth trying - both in your meals and on your face. But how do you reap the benefits of okra if you don't want to spend big bucks on face wipes?

"Okra can definitely be added to recipes to get these benefits, but it can also be applied topically to the face for a localized effect," Pinchasov says. "The best way to do this is to boil okra until soft, using a fork to gently mash and mix it into a paste-like mixture. Apply it to your face for four to six minutes for a smooth and refreshed feeling."


Mistletoe may help kiss away some ills

Suzy Cohen (Dear Pharmacist)

Dear Readers: Mistletoe, the most romantic plant on Earth, has allowed more men to steal a kiss than anything else! And it offers some of the most impressive health benefits of any plant for a variety of conditions. American mistletoe used as a Christmas decoration is not the same as the European or Korean sort, which have medicinal properties. I'm just going to say mistletoe, but I am referring to European (Viscum album) or Korean (Viscum album coloratum) varieties.

You may not want to smooch if you're exhausted, anxious, irritable or suffering from high blood pressure and headaches. These conditions may be relieved by what you think of as the kissing flower! Even more exciting are mistletoe's immune-enhancing benefits. Many of you've heard of celebrity Suzanne Somers, who used European mistletoe when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000. Also, studies in the October 2007 Archives of Pharmacal Research and in the November 2011 Phytotherapy Research journal confirmed some anti- cancer benefits.

Chinese medicine herbalists have used it for centuries to support the female reproductive system; it seems to improve fertility, uterine bleeding and erratic or absent menstruation. A research brief in Fertility and Sterility (2002) indicated mistletoe extracts resulted in pain reduction of post- hysterectomy patients with endometriosis. Studies suggest it can improve libido and erectile dysfunction.

Purified commercial dietary supplements of European mistletoe are sold as a liquid extract at U.S. health food stores, and you just mix the drops in water. They also offer oral supplements.

The German Commission E (like our FDA) has approved European mistletoe as a treatment for degenerative and inflamed joints and malignant growths like cancer.

If you have cancer, I would not self-treat. Seek a physician who uses mistletoe routinely and knows how to treat you.


Mistletoe: Efficacious anti-hypertensive herb

By Oyeyemi Gbenga-Mustapha

Mistletoe (Viscum Album) extract can lower blood pressure safely and lower serum triglycerides. Triglycerides are a type of fat (lipid) found in the blood. When one eats, the body converts any calories it does not need into triglycerides. The triglycerides are stored in the fat cells. Later, hormones release triglycerides for energy between meals.

According to a naturopath and homeopathic medical practitioner, Dr Henry Nwachukwu, Mistletoe, (Afomo in Yoruba) is a plant that grows on a variety of common trees including palm tree, mango, cocoa, orange or cash crop trees. It derives its name from its ‘climbing’ other trees.

Nwachukwu said Mistletoe has its historical roots in traditional herbal medicine and is used frequently by herbalists and naturopathic physicians to regulate blood pressure. He said the mechanism underlying the anti-hypertensive action of mistletoe is not well understood, yet it is one of the more potent herbal anti-hypertensives in existence. “Mistletoe is a potentially toxic herb and should be used with caution and with knowledge of its safety dosage schedule respective to whether it is being delivered as a dry powdered herb in a capsule or in tincture. Despite a lack of documented clinical trials in the use of mistletoe as an antihypertensive, naturopaths are certain that Mistletoe is good not only in the treatment of hypertension, but cancer and hepatitis,” he said.

According to Nwachukwu, Mistletoe extracts have been shown to reduce blood pressure. Describing how lifestyle and herbal/nutritional treatments are reasonable first line of intervention for mild to moderate high blood reassure, he said: “Blood pressures in this range can usually respond to these natural interventions generally without pharmaceutical intervention. Blood pressure must be monitored, and a lack of response within two months, or blood pressures fitting the definition of stage III hypertension should be treated with pharmaceuticals, with natural therapies and lifestyle as an adjunct.

He said Hypertension has a multifactorial etiology that leads to systemic vascular damage that has a propensity to induce cardiovascular as well as non cardiovascular complications. “Hypertension follows an insidious onset, at times only noted in routine check-up, which prevents early diagnosis. The ever-increasing global morbidity and mortality are pegged down to hypertension. Epidemiological studies have established a strong association between hypertension and fatal and non-fatal events. The long-standing cardiovascular complications of hypertension include atherosclerosis, angina, myocardial infarction, and congestive cardiac failure.

“As hypertension is a chronic illness, drug therapy needs to be taken for a long period, even lifelong. Despite the multitude of anti-hypertensive drugs available, only 17 per cent to 27 per cent of hypertensive clients achieve optimal blood pressure. The aim of Mistletoe therapy in high blood pressure/hypertension is to lower the blood pressure to near-normalcy without incidental fluctuation and clients and that is always the experience of clients,” said Dr Nwachukwu.

Giving insight into how the condition develops, Dr Nwachukwu said there are many factors that lead to increase in blood pressure or elevation of blood pressure, “but we will mention a few of them in this discussion”. He said: “Let me state here that emotions such as sadness, thought (thinking) and depression are not the sole cause of high blood pressure, as being presented in many quarters, rather, emotion is one of the considerable factors. Other cases such as kidney disorder, heart diseases, brain affections, thrombotic conditions, embolus/plaques, are all possible causes of hypertension.

“The generalised presentation of the condition is that most of these affections cause impairment in the blood circulation, ranging from high viscosity to congestions. And stenosis of the blood vessels, that gives rise to poor blood circulation which results into abnormal strain in the heart, with the resultant effect of elevated pressure or tension on the heart as it labours to maintain the pumping action as it pushes blood round the body. In fair consideration of all the above, it is now clear and better understood as to what the possible causes of high blood pressure (hypertension) are.”

He said the condition described a particular tension/pressure which blood stream maintains in the blood vessels such as vein and arteries as it journeys or flows round the body, in response to pumping action of the heart.

“This tension can be altered in most clients. It could either decline or elevate, which means that it can increase or decrease in response to the presenting condition which affects the health. When it comes down, especially in times of shock, or excessive bleeding from an individual, it is called low Blood Pressure or Hypotension. But when it rises, mostly in the cases of systemic changes/derangements of organic functions, hormonal changes, pathogenic affections, disturbances/stenosis in blood vessels etc. it is called High Blood Pressure or Hypertension”, he said.


Mistletoe Fights Liver Disease? Not Just For Kissing

By Brian Stallard

It's that time of the year when the dreaded mistletoe comes out to make children giggle, young ladies blush, and fathers cringe. But this festive plant isn't just about kissing. A new study has revealed that a compound produced by mistletoe can actually help patients fight obesity-related liver disease.

Back in 2008, it was officially recognized that liver disease of metabolic origin, associated with obesity and an excess of fat storage in liver cells, is the most prevalent kind of liver disease in Western countries. That's even despite the fact that the disease can also be caused by alcohol-inflicted damage to the liver, with one in three American adults regularly partaking in what the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers "excessive drinking."

Obesity-related liver disease, referred to as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), causes inflammation, fibrosis, and eventually cirrhosis of the liver, leading to liver failure. It can be deadly, and with obesity already severely hampering patients' health in other ways, it often is.

However, a new study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry has investigated a number of biologically active compounds found specifically in Korean mistletoe that may help patients fight the progression of NAFLD. ADVERTISEMENT

Following a series of analyses, lead researcher Jungkee Kwon and his colleagues found that the compound viscothionin affects lipid metabolism in the liver, helping reduce abnormal fat saturation levels. The study details how body and liver weights in obese mice treated with viscothionin dropped.

This exposes visconthionin as the lead, if not sole driver of mistletoe's beneficial properties in treating NAFLD. However, the extent to which this compound can help, and how exactly it would function in human liver cells, still needs to be investigated.


Port Seton man Dave Reynolds beats terminal cancer... after injecting mistletoe

By Marie Sharp

A CANCER patient who was given just two months to live is in remission. . . after injecting himself with mistletoe extract twice a week.

Dave Reynolds, from Port Seton, had been searching for a stem cell donor after being diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma when his doctors broke the news that his condition was terminal.

The dad-of-three was given two months to live and NHS treatment stopped.

However, he was persuaded to try an alternative therapy found online by his wife Dian, and just four months later his scans have come back clear.

Dave, 50, told the Courier: “Dian was determined and would not give up; she was my rock and persuaded me to give the mistletoe therapy a chance – thank goodness she did.

“I can’t say mistletoe cured me because it’s a therapy that hasn’t been scientifically researched. But I can say that I went through the therapy and I am in remission after being given just two months to live.

“The only other thing I changed in my diet was adding extra vitamin C and turmeric.”

Dave travelled to Aberdeen with Dian to undergo an intensive course of mistletoe injections in May and has carried on the treatment at home, buying the vials of extract online.

Mistletoe Therapy is offered by charity Camphill Wellbeing Trust at its Aberdeen centre as part of an integrated approach to cancer care.

Former England cricketer John Edrich MBE credits it with surviving leukaemia after he was given a maximum of seven years to live in 1999. In a testimonial 13 years later, he said: “I remain in good health and fully enjoy life.”

Although it is not available on the NHS in Aberdeen, the charity fundraises to allow patients who cannot afford the treatment access to it, as well as supporting further research into the therapy.

Dave, who is an investigations manager with BT, said he and Dian had paid for the treatment privately, with an initial outlay of £2,500 followed by £200 a month for the extract and checks.

Dave said: “We had to stay at the centre initially so they could establish what level of mistletoe my body could tolerate. But I now inject myself twice a week at home and go for regular checks to make sure the levels are okay.

“I’ve never felt fitter, even my hair has grown back darker than before.”

In support of the Camphill charity, following Dave’s remarkable turnaround, family friend Ailsa Golightly is taking part in a sponsored tandem skydive this weekend.

Ailsa said: “Camphill Wellbeing Trust is a fantastic project that uses mistletoe extract to care for cancer patients. They would like to use the money to aid patient care and to fund scientific research into how mistletoe extract works to make patients feel better.”

To support Ailsa, go to virginmoneygiving.com/AilsaGolightly Dr Stefan Geider, from the Camphill Wellbeing Trust, said mistletoe was fairly widely used in Central Europe and was the most prescribed complementary medicine.

He said it had three main impacts: it works with the immune system to re-educate it; improved quality of life for many users who felt stronger and fitter than they had before taking it; and, in some patients, it has a big impact on their tumour.

Dr Geider said: “I have seen some cases like Dave, but more research is needed to look into why in cases like his there is such a dramatic change.

“I want to see it researched further. Currently it is used mainly for palliative care as part of an integrated approach, but some people begin using it very early.

“It can bring different benefits to different people but we need more research to find out why.”


Mistletoe The natural cure for cancer

By Dian Kuswandini (The Jakarta Post)

Promises in a sachet: A packet of mistletoe extracts for sale, hinting at many benefits, but staying away from promises of finding true love upon consumption of the plant. Herb-magic.com

It’s a symbol of good luck and harmony – that’s why you can see it tied into a bunch with a ribbon and hung under many doorways during Christmas.

In some old traditions, people use it as a love charm as the myth goes it can seal a couple’s love when they kiss under its fresh-cut leaves. Yes, we’re talking about mistletoe.

With hundreds of mistletoe species growing around the world, it is no wonder the plant has long been part of many cultures – in their myths and ancient healing practices. As its name – derived from the Celtic word mil’ioc or “all heal” – suggests, this parasitic plant that grows on many kinds of trees has long been believed to help cure many ailments, thanks to its hallucinogenic properties.

Scientists aiming to find cures for cancer have discovered – through research and clinical trials – that extracts of the plant seem to have an inhibiting effect on tumor growth. Rudolph Steiner, an Austrian Swiss physician and founder of the Society for Cancer Research, first proposed the use of mistletoe to treat cancer back in 1920. Since then, its use has become widespread.

In Europe today, mistletoe extracts from species growing on apple, oak, maple, elm, and pine trees are commercially available as alternative medicine to cure cancer, sold under the Iscador, Eurixor and Isorel brands. And Indonesian scientists are also participating in this race to find a cure for cancer, studying indigenous mistletoe species to support earlier research conducted in Western countries.

“Mistletoe is one of the unique species in Indonesian biodiversity,” says Nina Artanti, researcher at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI). “It’s unique because on one hand, mistletoe is unwanted due to its parasitic property that harms other trees with economic value such as tea and those that produce fruits, but on the other hand, it’s considered beneficial for its potential as a medicinal plant.”

The medical use of mistletoe, as Nina points out, is engrained in many traditions – the Chinese, Native American, European and Southeast Asian. Among the Native Americans, for example, mistletoe infusion is used to treat headaches and lung diseases.

In China, the plant is believed to be able to strengthen the kidney, calm pregnant women’s uterus contractions, reduce back pain and the pain of swelling, as well as lower blood pressure.

In countries like Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea, several types of mistletoe are also used to treat flu, blotches, small poxes, rheumatism and bronchitis.

Nature helps: A close-up of Mistletoe extracts, which can be found in herbal medicine shops. Herb-magic.comNature helps: A close-up of Mistletoe extracts, which can be found in herbal medicine shops. Herb-magic.com

Given all the mistletoe’s promises of healing, we might wonder, what’s the magic inside the plant?

According to scientific research, the famous flavonoid, an antioxidant agent contained in the mistletoe, brings all those health benefits. Not only does it act an antioxidant agent, flavonoid also has anti-inflammatory, analgesic and anti-virus properties. And it is the flavonoid that has led scientists like Nina to study the mistletoe’s ability to cure cancer.

“Mistletoe contains many flavonoids, which act as antioxidants that can prevent cancer,” Nina explains.

Scientifically speaking, antioxidant agents like the flavonoid help our body fight against damaging free radicals, the rogue molecules that set off a slow chain reaction within the body to destroy cells and degenerate the body’s organs. The onset of many diseases related to the heart or cancerous stem from these free radicals.

Nina has already conducted several studies on the potential of Indonesia’s mistletoe to cure cancer.

There are, according to Nina, 44 species of mistletoe in Java alone. However, she goes on, Indonesians usually name the mistletoe after the host plant it grows on, such as benalu teh (mistletoe that grows on tea tree), benalu belimbing (on star fruit tree), benalu mangga (on a mango tree) and so on.

“This kind of naming can be misleading as many species of mistletoe can also grow on the same trees,” she says, mentioning species like Scurulla oortiana, Scurulla junghunii and Dendropthtoe pentandra found on many tea trees.

In Indonesia, she says, mistletoe species growing on tea and mango trees for example have been known as alternative medicine to treat cancer. Some of us may have heard about benalu teh extracts, which is believed to be able to cure tumors and can be found in certain herbal stores. According to the traditional practice here, mistletoe extracts are usually placed or boiled in a pot made of clay, as clay is said to be able to neutralize the toxins contained in mistletoe.

Because the use of this kind of extract as medicine is inherited from past generations, Nina says she also seeks to give the practice more credibility through scientific research.

“So there can be more information about its chemical properties, efficacy and safety,” says the master graduate from the New South Wales University in Australia. “This is important considering traditional medicines are relatively cheap, easy to find and have minimum side effects,” she adds.

Potential cure: Scientists around the world are studying the properties of the mistletoe, such as the jackfruit’s mistletoe picture above, to help find cures for cancer. Ccrfarmasiugm.wordpress.comPotential cure: Scientists around the world are studying the properties of the mistletoe, such as the jackfruit’s mistletoe picture above, to help find cures for cancer. Ccrfarmasiugm.wordpress.com

During her studies, Nina focused on mistletoe species growing on star fruit and jackfruit trees, as there weren’t many previous studies that did so.

So, how did she conduct her research? First, Nina placed cancer cells inside two tubes; one of them contained the mistletoe extracts, while the other didn’t. She observed both of the tubes on a daily basis, and later found the cancer cells placed with the mistletoe extracts grew 50 percent slower than the ones with no such extracts.

Nina also carried out similar research using laboratory rats. The animals were first injected with cancer cells, and one was later injected with extracts of mistletoe. The result also showed that the growth of the cancer cells was slower in the rat injected with mistletoe extracts.

According to Nina’s research, the chemical compound quercitrin (quercetin-3-rhamnoside) found in the star fruit’s mistletoe works as an active antioxidant agent, inhibiting the growth of cancer cells.

Nina’s studies complement several clinical studies conducted earlier in Europe. Although these clinical trials are sparse and the results rather inconclusive, mistletoe seems to cure cancer in several ways – by killing cancer cells, stimulating the immune system and helping reduce the size of the tumor.

“I am still at the stage of collecting scientific evidence to prove Indonesia’s mistletoe species really act as an anti-cancer agent,” Nina says, adding that she hasn’t considered yet the commercial aspect of her research, as there’s a possibility to develop her findings into a prescription drug.


Health Benefits of Mistletoe

By Dominique Allmon

Common Mistletoe - Viscum Album

Common or Eurasian Mistletoe (Viscum album) is one of the many species of a hemiparasitic plant that grows on a variety of trees, especially apple trees, poplars, willows and linden. It forms a drooping, evergreen bush on branches of a host tree from which it obtains some its nutrients. The fact that it contains chlorophyll enables it to synthesize its own nutrition as well.

Mistletoe was believed to have magical properties and was used in medicine since ancient times. The Druids held mistletoe in great reverence as a sacred plant that could cure any illness. It was harvested in a great ceremony and cut from the trees with a golden sickle. Mistletoe that grew on oak trees had the highest value because of its rarity.

In the beginning of the twenty century Rudolf Steiner, who initiated the Anthroposophic Society, proposed the use of mistletoe

Pictures of Mistletoe on Trees