A natural remedy for hypertension, headaches, menopausal symptoms, infertility, arthritis, and rheumatism. It appears to help in reducing adverse chemotherapy side effects as well as anti-cancer activity. In fact, using mistletoe extract for treating cancer is so widespread in central Europe, it is estimated that as many as 60 to 70 percent of cancer patients incorporate it into their therapy. according to a 2005 study, ” The results of our preclinical investigation demonstrate that intratumoural injections of a lectin-rich ME [mistletoe extract] can effect complete remissions in a pancreatic cancer xenograft.” Whereas a study published earlier this year found that a mistletoe extract induces rapid cell death in melanoma cells. Mistletoe also helps modulate your immune system—revving up an underperforming system, yet calming down an overactive immune system–another critical component to preventing and treating cancer. In fact, a National Cancer Institute review of more than 70 studies of mistletoe’s effect on cancer in humans found consistent results across the board: including tumour shrinkage, higher survival rates, improved blood counts, and better quality of life for the patients. African mistletoe has long been used to treat diabetes in Nigeria. In rats with diabetes, the health benefits of mistletoe have been shown to reduce blood glucose levels. Another study demonstrated that mistletoe extract stimulated insulin secretion from clonal pancreatic cells. Japanese researchers have demonstrated that both Japanese and European mistletoe extracts had blood pressure lowering effects in a study of cats. Mistletoe has been successfully utilized to treat patients with congestive heart failure, systolic hypertension, angina pectoris, atherosclerosis, cerebral insufficiency, and arrhythmia.
Mistletoe extract is also frequently used to help treat convulsive coughing, bronchi asthma, and asthmatic attacks. Its calming properties help relieve the psychological tension that occurs when an asthmatic has difficulty in drawing breath.
Health Benefits of Mistletoe
Improve Immune System: One of the most important health benefits of mistletoe is the impact it has on the immune system. This is one reason why this herb is so prized for cancer treatment, as it simultaneously boosts the compromised immune system and protects it against outside illnesses. The antibacterial, antioxidant, and antiviral capacity of this herb makes it a perfect line of defence for the body, regardless of the illness or state of the immune system.
Lower Blood Pressure: While this isn’t the most commonly praised benefit of mistletoe, the extract does have a measurable effect on hypertension, which affects millions of people around the world. By lowering blood pressure, mistletoe extract is able to ease the strain and stress on the cardiovascular system, and also cutting down on the impact of atherosclerosis. The hypertension reduction of mistletoe extract can help prevent strokes, heart attacks, and coronary heart disease. It also helps to slow the pulse, which also helps to reduce the exertion of the heart. These benefits are particularly prevalent in European and Japanese mistletoe species.
Promote Good Sleep: Mistletoe is known as a very effective nervine agent, and has been in use in traditional settings for hundreds of years. If you suffer from insomnia or restlessness when you sleep, using it to brew a strong tea might be the answer for you. The chemical components of mistletoe impact the release of neurotransmitters that calm you down, soothing the nervous system, and allowing for healthy, restful sleep. The nervous system is strongly linked to our Circadian rhythms, so calming down our nerves can regulate our sleep cycle and give us the rest we need.
Cancer Treatment: Arguably the most important and widely studied aspect of mistletoe’s health benefits is its role in treating cancer. The effects of mistletoe on cancer are manifold. Some studies have focused on mistletoe’s reduction of symptoms following chemotherapy, which can be exhausting and painful. Other research has also directly linked mistletoe extract with anti-cancer activity, and in Europe, more than 60% of cancer patients now integrate some element of it in their treatment regimen. 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.
This rapid increase of popularity and demand for mistletoe has also sparked interest in further research, which has certainly paid off. It has been found that in certain types of cancer, mistletoe can cause apoptosis (programmed cell death) in cancer cells. Subsequent research has connected mistletoe extract to a higher overall quality of life for patients, tumor shrinkage, and healthier blood counts. For this health benefit alone, it should be on your radar!
Soothe Respiratory Distress: The nerve-soothing aspect of mistletoe makes it ideal for calming the respiratory system in case of distress or irritation. From sore throats to coughing and bronchial inflammation, mistletoe has shown its ability to calm the irritation and lower the discomfort and tightness in the chest. There is a psychological connection between the act of coughing or wheezing, as might occur in an asthmatic attack, and the panic and mental distress, which causes a feedback loop. It can interrupt that neural connection and calm the mind and body at the same time.
Prevent Diabetes: The anti-diabetic potential of this herb is a relatively new area of research, but it has been practiced traditionally for generations. Research has shown that it does have the ability to lower blood glucose levels in laboratory tests, and other findings have shown that the extract stimulated insulin production in pancreatic cells, helping to regulate the levels in the body and lessening the severity of the disorder. It is commonly prescribed as a natural remedy for those suffering from diabetes.
Calm Nervous System: If you suffer from anxiety, manifesting in physical tics, restless sleep, tremors, or other physical/mental symptoms, mistletoe can act as a complete nervine tonic for the body, lowering stress hormone levels, and bringing your nerves down to a manageable level.
Ease Menstrual Distress: If you suffer from excessive cramps and menstrual pain, then using this plant in those instances is a wonderful option. You can brew a strong mistletoe tea, which calms muscle spasms and inflammation, helping to release that tension and cramping. Always speak to your doctor before adding a strong nervine tonic like mistletoe to your diet, particularly if you are pregnant or considering getting pregnant.
Eliminate Inflammation: For hundreds of years, tinctures of mistletoe have been prescribed for inflammation of the body, both inside and out. Arthritic pain is probably the most common form of inflammation for most people, and a tincture of this herb can do wonders to ease that pain and increase range of motion as you age. Internally, this anti-inflammatory capacity can be good for digestion and gastrointestinal issues as well.
Reduce Snoring: While this may not seem like a serious issue, it certainly is if you’re sleeping next to a snorer! A cup of this herbal tea before going to sleep can soothe the nerves and promote restful sleep, while also soothing respiratory distress. Together, this means a much lower chance of snoring while you sleep!
In brief Mistletoe is known for:
epilepsy and other convulsive nervous disorders / prevent atherosclerosis / treats inflammation
treat hypertension / checks internal haemorrhage / strengthens muscle / strengthens heartbeat
boost the immune system / used for St. Vitus’s Dance / delirium / hysteria / neuralgia
nervous debility / anxiety / depression
urinary disorders / heart disease / weakened nervous system
kidney problems / anti-spasmodic / hypertension
arthritis / rheumatism and joint pain
diabetes – reduces blood glucose levels
high blood pressure (dose dependant)
Treat coughing / sore throats / bronchitis
uterus tightening / Ease menstrual cramps and pains / child birth
wellbeing in the elderly
boosts the immune system
This information should not replace professional advice by a qualified medical or herbal practitioner. Information contained is written with the greatest possible care. This does not exclude the possibility that because of developments in the field of herbal healthcare changes may occur without notice.