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Mistletoe Extract is one of the most widely studied alternative therapies for cancer. It has been used for hundreds of years to treat conditions such as infertility, arthritis, hypertension and headaches.

Mistletoe Treatment at Sunridge Medical

In the early 1920’s mistletoe was suggested as a cancer treatment. Now it is one of the most widely studied alternative treatments for cancer. Since the use of mistletoe has increased enormously, many cancer patients worldwide, and particularly in Germany, use mistletoe in some form, mostly in conjunction with other cancer treatment methods such as radiation, chemotherapy, or surgery. In certain European countries, the preparations made from European mistletoe (Viscum album) are among the most prescribed drugs offered to cancer patients and are even covered under many insurance plans.

In Switzerland and Germany, for example, 60% of all cancer patients are now prescribed mistletoe at some point in their treatment.

Mistletoe extracts have been evaluated in Europe in numerous clinical studies which have demonstrated improvements in survival, quality of life, and stimulation of the immune system.

In the United States, European mistletoe is available as a homeopathic treatment because it is not approved at this time for the treatment of cancer. Our physicians at Sunridge Medical prescribe homeopathic mistletoe not to treat a specific disease, but to enhance the immune system.

References on Mistletoe Extract

Ostermann, T., Raak, C. & Büssing, A. Survival of cancer patients treated with mistletoe extract (Iscador): a systematic literature review. BMC Cancer 9, 451 (2009).
Background: In Europe, extracts from Viscum album (VA-E), the European white-berry mistletoe, are widely used to treat patients with cancer.
Methods: We searched several databases such as Cochrane, EMBASE, NCCAM, NLM, DIMDI, CAMbase, and Medline. Inclusion criteria were controlled clinical studies on parameters associated with survival in cancer patients treated with Iscador. Outcome data were extracted as they were given in the publication, and expressed as hazard ratios (HR), their logarithm, and the respective standard errors using standard formulas.

Results: We found 49 publications on the clinical effects of Iscador usage on the survival of cancer patients which met our criteria. Among them, 41 studies and strata provided enough data to extract hazard ratios (HR) and their standard errors (Iscador versus no extra treatment). The majority of studies reported positive effects in favor of the Iscador application. Heterogeneity of study results was moderate (I2 = 38.3%, p < 0.0001).

The funnel plots were considerably skewed, indicating a publication bias, a notion which is corroborated by statistical means (AC = -1.3, CI: -1.9 to -0.6, p <= 0.0001). A random effect meta-analysis estimated the overall hazard ratio at HR = 0.59 (CI: 0.53 to 0.66, p < 0.0001). Randomized studies showed less effects than non-randomized studies (ratio of HRs: 1.24, CI: 0.79 to 1.92, p = 0.35), and matched-pair studies gave significantly better results than others (ratio of HRs: 0.33; CI: 0.17 to 0.65, p = 0.0012).

Conclusions: A pooled analysis of clinical studies suggests that adjuvant treatment of cancer patients with the mistletoe extract Iscador is associated with better survival. Despite obvious limitations, and strong hints for a publication bias which limits the evidence found in this meta-analysis, one can not ignore the fact that studies with positive effects of VA-E on survival of cancer patients are accumulating. Future studies evaluating the effects of Iscador should focus on a transparent design and description of endpoints in order to provide greater insight into a treatment often being depreciated as ineffective, but highly valued by cancer patients.

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