‘Tis the Season: Mistletoe Extract Doubles Survival Rates of Cancer Patients

Science & Medicine

mistletoeSeveral studies have focused on mistletoe and its potential, positive effect on cancer. Though research is inconclusive, many of the studies show that mistletoe’s anti-cancer properties work to kill various cancer cells. Further, the Christmas decor could be an alternative to toxic chemotherapy.

One study focuses on mistletoe and pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest forms of cancer, with a mortality rate of around 80% during the first years after diagnosis. It strikes 44,000 Americans each and every year and conventional treatments haven’t been able to do much to prolong their lives.

This latest research, however, indicates it could offer assistance to those diagnosed with a deadly disease.

Carried out in Serbia and published in the European Journal of Cancer, the study began with 220 patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. All participants received supportive care. The treatment group also received subcutaneous injections of mistletoe extract three times each week, with doses starting at 0.01 mg and increasing to 10 mg.

Those patients who started the study with a “good” prognosis and received no mistletoe extract lived 3.2 months, on average. Those with a good prognosis and mistletoe extract had twice the life expectancy, 6.6 months. Study participants who received a “poor” diagnosis averaged 2 months without mistletoe extract and 3.4 months with the treatment. Further, the participants treated with mistletoe extracts had fewer adverse events than the others. They had only 16 events where those not treated with the plant had an average of 53!

This is far from the first study implicating mistletoe as a potential cancer treatment. It has also been linked to improvement in cancers of the breast, cervix, uterus, ovaries, stomach, colon, lung, and skin.

In addition to these cancer studies of modern time, folk medicine applications have indicated mistletoe in the use of treating strained muscles, toothaches, sores, itching, impetigo, ulcers, animal bites, and intestinal parasites.

One research with another study points out how the most effective extract comes from a species called Fraxini, which was extremely potent and safer than chemotherapy. Researcher Zahra Lotfollahi said:

“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. 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.”

This initial study mentioned is important, though, as it is specific to this particularly deadly form of cancer. The researchers conclude:

“VaL (Ciscum album, mistletoe) therapy showed a significant and clinically relevant prolongation of OS. The study findings suggest VaL to be a non-toxic and effective second-line therapy that offers a prolongation of OS (overall survival) as well as less disease-related symptoms for patients with locally advanced or metastatic pancreatic cancer.”

Additional Sources:

University of Adelaide