Contrary to popular belief, a seasonal smooch isn’t the only benefit of mistletoe.
Also known as Viscum Album, mistletoe is fascinating foliage. It produces berries that thrive in the winter, when other greenery is dormant, and is by nature parasitic, spending its entire life cycle growing on trees and shrubs and never touching the earth’s soil. It even blooms in a mysterious manner, out of rhythm with its host tree and growing inward, toward its center.
Thankfully, this pattern was keenly observed by Rudolf Steiner, the father of anthroposophy, or spiritual philosophy, who, in the early 1900s, related the growth of mistletoe to cancerous tumor behavior. His studies about treating cancer with the liquid extract of mistletoe were furthered by his colleague, Dr. Ita Wegman, who developed a mistletoe extract, called Iscador, for use in cancer patients, marking the first time the plant has been utilized medically since the 4th century BC.
If you’re fortunate enough to be summoned “under the mistletoe” this holiday season, give a moment’s thought to this wondrous natural healer and the immeasurable gifts it provides to those in need
Benefits of mistletoe therapy
Iscador has become an approved cancer treatment in Europe, where 60 to 70 percent of cancer patients in Germany, Switzerland and Northern Europe use mistletoe as a supplement to chemotherapy and radiation. Now, mistletoe is currently undergoing clinical trials in the United States at Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland. Studies have already shown that the European variety of mistletoe has a positive effect on cancer patients, enhancing their immune systems and improving the quality of their lives by easing the tolerance of therapies such as chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. Even further, several medical studies have shown that patients have experienced improved energy and less pain with the addition of mistletoe therapy, and, even the greatest gift of all, prolonged survival.
Still, while overseas data strongly suggests the benefits of mistletoe therapy, it has not yet been approved in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or recognized as a proven treatment within the conventional oncology community. Therefore, use is permitted under special circumstances. Mistletoe should only be used under the care of physicians with knowledge in the practice of administering mistletoe. I am honored to be listed among these physicians and committed to contributing to research and sharing my knowledge about the healing properties of Mistletoe. (www.believe.org/Mistletoe-Physician.html)
So, if you’re fortunate enough to be summoned “under the mistletoe” this holiday season, give a moment’s thought to this wondrous natural healer and the immeasurable gifts it provides to those in need.
For more information on medicinal mistletoe, visit www.believebig.org.