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Frequently asked questions about mistletoe therapy

General questions
How important is mistletoe therapy in the concept of integrative oncology?

Mistletoe therapy is an essential part of a holistic, i.e. integrative, cancer therapy. It is used additionally to conventional oncological treatment.

Complementary treatments like mistletoe therapy can accompany the traditional standard methods, such as surgery, chemo-, radio- and/or (anti-)hormone therapies, with the aim to improve the patient's quality of life.

Since when do mistletoe preparations exist?

Mistletoe preparations have been used in cancer therapy for over 100 years. Today, they are among the most prescribed herbal medicines in cancer medicine. More than half of all tumour patients in German-speaking countries use mistletoe therapy.

Is there any scientific evidence for mistletoe therapy?

Up to today, about 140 clinical studies have been conducted on the use of mistletoe therapy for different types of tumours.

What active substances do mistletoes contain?

Mistletoes contain various active substances. Some, such as mistletoe lectins and viscotoxins, have been thoroughly studied regarding their effects on cancer therapy.

According to the current state of knowledge, the actual effect unfolds in the mistletoe extract as a whole, as the individual active substances mutually reinforce each other through their interaction.

Why do you produce mistletoe preparations from different host trees?

The host tree supplies the mistletoes with nutrients. This results in a different combination of active substances in the mistletoe, depending on the tree it grows on. Mistletoe extracts from different host trees are used to achieve an optimal effect with the highest tolerability possible, depending on the type of tumour.

What are the differences between the mistletoe preparations of the various producers?

They vary in the pharmaceutical processes used by the manufacturers and consequently in their composition. As a result, you cannot directly compare mistletoe preparations of different producers. When switching to another product, you need to proceed as if for a new setting.

Who can prescribe mistletoe preparations?

Please ask your attending medical professional about mistletoe therapy and have him or her refer you to a specialist if necessary.

For how long is mistletoe therapy applied?

It takes as long as the tumour disease persists. In addition, studies have shown that the therapy should be continued depending on the risk of recurrence (relapse risk). In most cases, this means for about five years starting from the time of diagnosis or after surgery or even longer (e.g. breast or colon carcinoma). Regularly discuss the treatment with your attending medical specialist.

How do I store mistletoe preparations?

Since herbal medicines can be sensitive to temperature fluctuations, you should store them in the refrigerator at 2°C to 8°C. For transport (from the pharmacy to your home or during holidays), it is possible to deviate from these temperatures for a short time, provided that the total duration of transport is less than 8 days and the temperature is not below 2°C or above 30°C.

Are there any interactions with other therapies or drugs?

So far, no clear interactions are known. Mistletoe therapy is also possible during chemo-, radio- or (anti)-hormone therapy.

In laboratory tests on tumour cells and in practice, no negative effects of mistletoe preparations on the usual chemo- and (anti)-hormone therapies could be found. Also in clinical application, there is no known adverse effect of mistletoe therapy on the efficacy of chemotherapeutics.

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