Iscador, one of the trade names of Mistletoe treatment is prepared by subjecting the summer and winter harvests of mistletoe extract to a fermentation process using Lactobacillus plantarum, then mixing it under high speed, filtering it to remove the bacteria, adding various admixtures before standardizing it and packaging it into ampoules.
Is there a scientific basis for including Iscador in the treatment of Cancer?
Iscador is the most researched of a number of mistletoe preparations.
Over the last 50 years, some 1500 research articles have been published on mistletoe, concentrating largely on the biological activity, toxicity, anti-cancer activity and immunological action.
Recent reviews of the literature confirm the biological activity of mistletoe extracts, indicate no significant toxic effects when used as directed, suggest an inhibition of cell growth, anti-tumour activity and improved immune function in animal studies. Several studies show improved immune function, quality of life and survival.
An overview of case studies and clinical trials by H. Kiene indicates that certain of the case records include some noteworthy case studies. This is also the experience of many practitioners who have been actively using mistletoe therapy in their practices. Some of these controlled trials produced statistically significant results.
Currently a number of clinical trials are being conducted internationally. Recent double blinded studies showed significant improvements in Prostate and Pancreas cancers.
Principles of Mistletoe Treatment
It is generally accepted that cancerous growth is the visible end stage of a cancerous or precancerous state that has existed for years. One can describe this disease as a profound disturbance in equilibrium between processes which maintain healthy form and function (represented by the immune system) and cell proliferation (natural cell tendency). It is this fundamental disturbance that mistletoe aims to correct, on the one hand through its immune modulating properties, on the other through its cell inhibiting potential.
ISCADOR is usually injected subcutaneously with a fine disposable needle several times weekly close to the tumour site. The patient or a family member is taught to administer the injection and the course comprising 14 injections is designed by the practitioner according to the patient’s condition, with respect to the type of mistletoe, dosage and frequency. In our experience, it is necessary to treat an established cancer for months or years.
The Value of Iscador in Cancer Therapy
At the present time ISCADOR or other mistletoe preparations cannot be regarded as an absolute cure for cancer. It should be seen as an essential part of an integrative cancer therapy. We would not advocate it solely to treat an established tumor when conventional cancer therapy has demonstrated curative outcomes. However given the fact that it has stood the test of over one hundred years of clinical medical practice, is non-toxic and that studies indicate its value in the treatment of cancer, we would strongly advocate its use as an adjuvant supportive treatment alongside conventional cancer therapies, to stimulate the immune system and hence increase body defenses.
It may also have special value in patients who have an increased risk of cancer, eg cervical dysplasia, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, polyps and papilloma of the bladder and colon, HIV/Aids, leukoplakia.
It also has a place in advanced cancer, where it has been shown unequivocally to prolong and improve the quality of life.
It may in addition be used as a powerful preventative therapy to stimulate the immune system.
This standpoint comes from over 40 years’ experience using ISCADOR in general practice, following my training in 1976 in the Lukas Cancer Clinic, Arlesheim, Switzerland.