TIBOR HAJITO, M.D., 1968

The use of the plant, mistletoe, should be researched, in relation to its cancer fighting characteristics.

Both mistletoe and its derivative (Iscador) could have side effects, so care must be taken in their utilization.

Dr. Hajito has spent over 20 years administering mistletoe to cancer patients, with remarkable success. Here is the mistletoe story:

European mistletoe (Viscum album) has been used to treat sicknesses for as long as anyone can remember. About 2,000 years ago, Pliny the Elder said mistletoe was a remedy for malignancies.

It has been used ever since. Actually,the plant is unusual in that it lives on trees,taking water and minerals from them, yet returning sugar to the host tree!

Dr. Hajito of the Lucas Clinic Laboratory of Immunology in Arlesheim, Switzerland, has come to the conclusion that mistletoe does two things in the body at the same time: It inhibits tumor growth while stimulating the immune system. In support of his work, Hajito has written many reports in scientific journals.

A number of researchers and physicians have worked with the substance, but generally in the form of Iscador. This is the trade name for the oldest and most widely used mistletoe preparation. Manufactured by Weleda AG (a German and Swiss chemical company), Iscador is used more in Europe than on any other continent. It is used a lot in Britain.

The entire plant is ground up and made into a watery extract. Next it is fermented with the Lactobacilus plantarum bacterium and then filtered.

It has been found to cause more than 50% tumor inhibition in mice, in experiments carried on at the Roswell Park Memorial Institute, Buffalo,New York. Yet you will hear little about mistletoe in the United States, except at Christmas time.

Dr. Hartmut Franz, in Europe, carried out in depth studies into the substance and found that lectins, a group of chemicals in mistletoe, produced its primary biological activity. Lectins can connect to sugar molecules and effect changes in cells.Within the mistletoe, this lectin protein forms a compound with an enzyme. Franz found that the enzyme inhibited both cell reproduction and protein synthesis within cells. The lectin part of the compound stimulated macrophages,a type of killer leukocyte (white blood cell),and causes other leukocytes to release cancer destroying chemicals.

Sounds like a pretty powerful combination!Hajito found that, within 24 hours of giving Iscador, two special things happened: (1) A certain type of white blood cell was aroused to action—releasing antibodies which kill unwanted cells. (2) The natural killer (NK) cells increased in number and began prowling around for foreign cells to eliminate.

It has been theorized that the production process of fermentation, by which Iscador is made, is effective because it separates the enzyme from the lectin protein—and thus helps them both work more effectively.

The present writer found little 20th century research on what the whole plant, taken as a tea rather than fermented into Iscador, could do. Yet for thousands of years mankind used the plant to treat cancer, not Iscador. One research study compared the fermented product with the unfermented—and found that Iscador was better for eliminating rat liver cancer cells while the unfermented tea was more effective on human leukemia cells. Both preparations dissolved the cell walls of the cancer cells (G. Ribereau-Gayon, et.al., Oncology, 43(supp. 1): 35-41, 1986).

One thing is certain: Iscador strengthens the immune system; whereas the orthodox cancer therapies weaken it.Iscador is given by means of a subcutaneous injection near, or into, the tumor. (In the case of brain and spinal cord tumors, it is taken orally lest increased pressure occur.)

Oddly enough, although mistletoe reduces tumor mass, in Europe it is not given for that purpose—but rather to lessen the damaging effects of surgery and radiation treatments!

Iscador is given in a series of 10 to 14 injections before surgery, at the rate of one dose a day (normally given in the morning when body temperature is rising). The purpose is to strengthen the immune system, prevent metastasis, and promote better recovery. It is also used as a follow-up treatment after surgery or radiation treatment for several years, in gradually decreasing dosages.

It is believed that Iscador could have serious side effects if taken in excess. But Hijito and others have noted that it is nontoxic in the dosages normally given.Both the leaves and berries of the mistletoe contain poisonous compounds (viscotoxins), so it is urged that individuals not make their own preparations at home. It would be a good research project to figure out how earlier peoples treated themselves with the plant, when it is so poisonous.

“Often considered poisonous. Unconfirmed reports of deaths have been attributed to eating the berries.”—Stephen Foster, Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants, 296.Mistletoe—Physicians Association for Anthroposophical Medicine, P.O. Box 269, Kimberton, PA 19442

 

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