Mistletoe therapy uses pharmaceutically prepared extracts from the mistletoe plant.
Mistletoe was identified as a species that could help with cancer treatment in the 1920s, and in the following decades mistletoe treatments have been substantially developed in mainland Europe, particularly in Germany and Switzerland.
There are now a number of dedicated anthroposophic clinics and manufacturers of mistletoe extracts. The mistletoe treatment is complementary – used alongside and in addition to, conventional cancer treatments. It is not generally used on its own.
There is now considerable research and many trials that show that mistletoe therapy can be effective. The extracts, which are injected subcutaneously, are thought to stimulate the body’s immune system, and patients report a better quality of life whilst undergoing conventional cancer treatment.
Some of the active ingredients in mistletoe have been identified by conventional medical research to have potential use in cancer treatment, for instance, the complex compounds (Viscotoxins and Mistletoe Lectins) found in mistletoe have been shown to have specific effects on cancer cells and to stimulate the immune system.