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Mistletoe has been known as a medicinal plant for centuries. Its discovery and use in naturopathy goes back a long way in history. This text highlights the many aspects of mistletoe, from its discovery to the various forms of application, to its health benefits and possible risks.

The discovery of mistletoe

Mistletoe (Viscum album) was revered as a mystical and healing plant in ancient times. In many cultures it was considered a symbol of fertility and immortality. The Celts, for example, regarded it as sacred and used it for ritual purposes. However, scientific research into its healing properties only began in the 20th century, when the anthroposophist Rudolf Steiner and the physician Ita Wegman developed mistletoe therapy for cancer.

Dosage forms and dosage

Mistletoe can be taken in various forms:

  • Tea: Dried mistletoe leaves can be steeped as a tea. The usual dosage is 1-2 teaspoons of dried leaves per cup, which are steeped in hot water for about 10 minutes.
  • Extracts: Mistletoe extracts are available as drops or capsules. The dosage varies depending on the product and should be taken as recommended by the manufacturer or a doctor.
  • Injections: Mistletoe is mainly administered in the form of injections in cancer therapy. This application should only be carried out under medical supervision.

Healing effects of mistletoe

Mistletoe has been used traditionally to treat a wide range of illnesses:

  • Cancer: One of the best-known uses is in cancer therapy. Studies have shown that mistletoe preparations can strengthen the immune system, inhibit tumor growth and improve the quality of life of cancer patients.
  • High blood pressure: It lowers blood pressure and can help regulate high blood pressure. The active ingredients of mistletoe promote blood circulation and dilate blood vessels.
  • Inflammation: Its anti-inflammatory properties make it a useful remedy for arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.
  • Immune system: It strengthens the immune system and can support the treatment of infections.

How mistletoe works in the body

The healing effect of mistletoe is based on a combination of ingredients, including lectins, viscotoxins and polysaccharides. These ingredients have different positive effects:

  • Lectins have an immunomodulatory effect and can stimulate the immune system.
  • Viscotoxins have cytotoxic properties that are used primarily in cancer therapy to attack tumor cells.
  • Polysaccharides promote the immune response and support the body’s own defenses.

When should mistletoe be taken?

Taking mistletoe can be useful in a number of situations:

  • To support cancer therapy: as a complementary measure to conventional cancer therapy.
  • For high blood pressure: to naturally regulate blood pressure.
  • For inflammatory diseases: to relieve inflammation and pain.
  • To strengthen the immune system: in particular in times of increased risk of infection or in the case of existing infections.

Contraindications and precautions

Mistletoe is not suitable for everyone. It is not recommended for:

  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women: Its safety during pregnancy and breastfeeding has not been sufficiently investigated.
  • People with autoimmune diseases: As it can stimulate the immune system, it should be used with caution in the case of autoimmune diseases.
  • Children: Use in children should only take place under medical supervision.

Food supplements and medicinal plants

The following supplements can be taken to support mistletoe therapy:

Natural sources and nutrition

Mistletoe itself is not a common food source, but there are some foods that have similar health-promoting effects:

  • Garlic and onions: Both are known for their blood pressure-lowering and immune-boosting properties.
  • Berries: Rich in antioxidants that strengthen the immune system.

Possible side effects

As with any natural remedy, side effects may occur. These include:

  • Allergic reactions: Some people may have an allergic reaction, which can manifest itself in the form of a skin rash or difficulty breathing.
  • Gastrointestinal complaints: Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea may occur, especially at high doses.

Overdose and consequences

An overdose can lead to serious health problems:

  • Severe gastrointestinal symptoms: nausea and vomiting may increase.
  • Drop in blood pressure: An overdose can cause a dangerous drop in blood pressure.
  • Central nervous system disorders: dizziness, confusion and cramps are possible.

Naturopathy and application

In naturopathy, it is used primarily in anthroposophic medicine. This form of medicine sees the human being as a whole, comprising body, mind and soul, and uses mistletoe preparations to support the immune system and to treat cancer. The preparations are often administered as injections, but are also used in the form of teas and extracts.


Mistletoe is a versatile natural remedy with a long tradition in medicine. Its many uses range from supporting cancer therapy to regulating blood pressure and strengthening the immune system. Despite its positive properties, it is important to carefully weigh up the pros and cons of taking it and to consider possible risks. However, when used correctly, it can make a valuable contribution to health.

Published on: 2. June 2024


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