Mistletoe, customarily used as a Christmas decoration, has also been used traditionally in European medicine. Now mainstream scientists are finding that Fraxini, a species of mistletoe, effectively kills colon cancer cells. It even seems to do a better job than chemo.
After 13 research studies that found something of an uncertain link between mistletoe and cancer, an Australian study finally has more definitive proof that mistletoe could be much more than just a decoration.
Mistletoe Extract Could Become a Complement or Even an Alternative to Chemotherapy
“Our laboratory studies have shown Fraxini mistletoe extract by itself to be highly effective at reducing the viability of colon cancer cells. At certain concentrations, Fraxini also increased the potency of chemotherapy against the cancer cells,” says Ms. Zahra Lotfollahi, a graduate student at the University of Adelaide.
Another potential benefit of mistletoe was its friendliness to healthy cells in comparison with chemotherapy, which is as toxic to the body as it is to cancer cells.
“This is an important result because we know that chemotherapy is effective at killing healthy cells as well as cancer cells. This can result in severe side effects for the patient, such as oral mucositis (ulcers in the mouth) and hair loss,” she adds.
For now, it’s definitely not a good idea for cancer patients to consume mistletoe plants, which could be toxic. Further research is needed to confirm the plant’s effectiveness and establish the right dosage.
“Mistletoe extract has been considered a viable alternative therapy overseas for many years, but it’s important for us to understand the science behind it,” says Professor Gordon Howarth, a Cancer Council Senior Research Fellow.
Mistletoe extract is legally available in Europe and is used there to combat colon cancer, but it is not authorized for use in the US or Australia.