Mistletoe as Iscador


Did you know that Iscador (homeopathic preparation of mistletoe) is the most commonly prescribed oncological drug in Germany?

Actually, according to the Wikipedia entry, some 60% of all oncological treatments in central Europe include some form of mistletoe. You probably didn’t know that. Any inconvenient truths are suppressed by the US medical mafia and their media allies.

They cling here to the feeble obsession that the US way is the “only way” and by inference, therefore the correct way. Of course this has more to do with protecting profits than any subsumed moral or scientific right. But it’s curious, isn’t it, that all humble and inexpensive treatments are “bad”, “unproven” or even “dangerous”!

Iscador was originally introduced by German philosopher, educationalist and healer Rudolph Steiner (1861- 1925). Steiner went on to found a whole healing system called anthroposophic medicine—literally “human-loving”.

Iscador is actually a lactobacillus-fermented extract of the European mistletoe plant, Viscum album and is available here in the USA, by prescription, as the drug Iscar. None of what is written here applies to the American mistletoe, Phoradendron serotinum (we just don’t know).

Mistletoe colorful history

Do you know why we kiss under the mistletoe at Christmas? Millennia ago, in the days of the Druids in Europe, Yule was a highly celebrated event (it survives as our Christmas, which has nothing to do with Jesus’ supposed birthday). The drink and partying went on for days. So did the wild promiscuous sex!

Mistletoe was the chosen contraceptive. A decoction of this sacred plant taken by women gave them a few days in which they could make whoopee, without the inconvenience of becoming pregnant.

Fast forward 3,000 years or more and today we settle for a coy little kiss under a sprig of mistletoe. My, how times have changed!

Other uses of mistletoe

Mistletoe has been known medicinally since the earliest times. The Druids were well aware of its fabulous healing properties and called it “All-Heal”. Mistletoe growing on oak trees was especially prized. A Bronze Age burial found in England contained a skeleton covered with oak branches and mistletoe. The two plants have been associated with one another and held sacred in Britain since prehistoric times.

Mistletoe is, of course, very toxic and needs caution in use. It acts on the central nervous system: causing numbness, slowing of the heartbeat and is a specific against epilepsy: small doses stop spasms and convulsions. It is also prescribed as a diuretic, for high blood pressure, hardening of the arteries and chilblains.

Definitely not recommended as a contraceptive, even if it does work!

Anti-cancer properties

The tumor-fighting possibilities of mistletoe have been known for centuries.

As I reported, the use of mistletoe is still widespread in Europe, where it does not need to prove itself. Many cancer patients use natural supplements in conjunction with cytotoxic chemotherapy, but little is known about their potential interaction.
One survey showed that over 60% of all German cancer patients used mistletoe in some form—frequently in conjunction with standard cancer treatments such as radiation, chemotherapy, or surgery. 
[Bussing A: Mistletoe: A story with an open end. Anticancer Drugs 8:S1-S2, 1997 (suppl 1)]

Formulations are sometimes labeled based on the tree from which the mistletoe was harvested; M for Malus (apple); P for Pinus (pine); Q for Quercus (oak); and U for Ulmus (elm) with different effects attributed to each. Each varietal is considered right for different cancers.

So what about scientific proof?

I was coming to that. Surprisingly, conventional literature is littered with references to the use of various forms of mistletoe. I’ve resorted to just a few.

Multiple scientific reports suggest that Iscador augments the immune response. Iscador has been shown to increase natural-killer cell function and antibody dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity. It enhance cytotoxicity of granulocytes and macrophages, and heighten delayed-type hyerpsensitivity response. Iscador has also been shown to stimulate T lymphocyte migration in vitro.

A landmark study was published in 2001 in the peer-reviewed journal Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. It was designed to assess any improvement in survival times of patients with carcinoma of the colon, rectum, stomach, breast and lung.

Altogether 10,226 cancer patients were involved in this long-term study, including 1668 patients treated with Iscador and 8475 who had taken neither Iscador nor any other mistletoe product (control patients).

The outcomes were very good. The patients who took Iscador survived 4.2 years, on average; the control group 3.05 years. That’s a 40% improvement—better than most chemo! (remember chemo success is NOT judged by survival times but by tumor shrinkage).
[Altern Ther Health Med. 2001 May-Jun;7(3):57-66, 68-72, 74-6 passim. Use of Iscador, an extract of European mistletoe (Viscum album), in cancer treatment: prospective nonrandomized and randomized matched-pair studies nested within a cohort study. Grossarth-Maticek R, Kiene H, Baumgartner SM, Ziegler R].

Most recent mistletoe study

A new study, published Dec 25th 2008, along with two other related papers, in the European Journal of Integrative Medicine, showed much the same thing (not quite such good survival).

Renatus Ziegler, a research scientist at Institute Hiscia in Arlesheim, Switzerland  and co-author Ronald Grossarth-Maticek studied cervical and ovarian cancer patients to see how they might benefit in the long run if fermented mistletoe extracts, such as Iscador, were added to their treatment regimes.

Over the course of a few decades, cancer patients who received mistletoe preparations lived an average of half a year longer and experienced reduced drug reactions, could better withstand chemotherapy, and had prolonged remission periods.

So the best take-home for this recent study is that it definitely prolongs survival but also improves the quality of life.

One this note, I found a 2005 paper studying the immune system of ear, nose and throat carcinoma patients treated with radiation and chemotherapy that was interesting in the context. It found that adverse effects of radiotherapy and chemotherapy on the microcirculation and the immune system were significantly decreased and reconstitution processes were accelerated by complementary administration of a standardized mistletoe extract (Iscador).
[Anticancer Res. 2005 Jan-Feb;25(1B):601-10].

Potential side effects of Iscador

Side effects are very mild and benign. They include flu-like symptoms, gingivitis, fever, local erythema, and eosinophilia.

Anaphylactic reactions have been reported but they happen with virtual any substance. None of this seem to me to be worth worrying about.
Sometimes there is a skin sensitivity reaction, especially with sun-exposure. Severe reactions are said to have occurred with the use of methotrexate, but that’s pretty evil stuff on its own!
This is all that is known and therefore makes Viscum a proven much safer drug than anything in the conventional armoury against cancer. Oncologists take note!


Let me make it clear right off that Viscum in all its forms, including Iscador, and especially referring to decoctions of the plant berries, is NOT a matter for self-administration.

Get yourself a knowledgeable herbalist, homeopath or, better still, an alternative MD who knows all the wider issues of cancer markers etc.

The usual route of administration is by injection of the Viscum just under the skin. Each day of therapy a more concentrated version is administered. After the first few daily doses, a red swelling often appears at the injection site. There may be a transient fever, which most CAM doctors would theorize plays a positive role in the beneficial action of Iscador. Once the maximum-strength dose is reached, the injections are continued regularly, the length of time judged by the treating physician.

Generally speaking, I prefer HEEL’s preparation Viscum compositum. It is usually recommended to take it with Echinacea compositum (from HEEL), alternating every couple of days.

I found this often provoked a fever response, reminiscent of Coley’s toxins fever therapy.

Latterly (well, 1990s), Dr. Patrick Kingsley, who I regard as a mentor in this domain, taught me the use of Abnoba’s viscum range.

Abnoba suggest different host trees for different cancers:

So, for example, the apple tree (Malus) is said to be good for breast cancer; oak (Quercus) is used for the gastrointestinal tract and the male sex organs; ash (Frexini) has a high concentration of viscotoxins and lectins in Viscum album, Fraxini can be recommended for the treatment of metastatic tumour diseases. 

Dr. Kingsley reported to me a remarkable case of recovery. A man with multiple melanoma had present as a bowel blockage, caused by a melanoma the size of a baseball in his gut. After resection the patient started on Viscum, injected into one of the skin lesions; it began to shrink steadily after each shot. It quickly disappeared and Dr. Kinsley had to choose another site for injection. There were scores of these skin lesions but the interesting thing that happened was that, although the shots were only to one site each time, soon ALL of them started to recede at once. Eventually, they all disappeared.

To conclude, I found one reasonably well done conventional trial for Abnoba Quercus in the Journal of Oncology, vol 21, no 3, 2004, which said it didn’t work. This was on a bunch of cases resistant to all other therapy, so not quite a fair trial! Still, we must acknowledge they tested it (and they chose the correct varietal).

Perhaps the advisory from Abnoba is critical: the selection of the host tree by your doctor, however, also depends very substantially on the treatment plan and above all on the individual disease. In individual cases it may occur that in the treatment of breast cancer that mistletoe from the pine tree (Pini) or Viscum album Abietis (fir tree) is used instead of the frequently employed "Mali" species (apple tree). This is done in order to make the body react in a different way to the different compositions of the ingredients.

Mistletoe’s other names

True Mistletoe, All-Heal, Heal-All, Holy Wood, Golden Bough, Druid’s Weed, Witches’ Broom, Wood of the Holy Cross, Devil’s Fugue, Birdlime, Lignum Sanctae Crucis, Omnia Sanantem.

Host trees include apple, pear, poplar, linden and oak. It is usually found high on the tree, especially on soft-barked apple, willow and poplar trees.

Viscum blooms from February to May with greenish or yellow flowers. The fruit is a small, round, transparent white berry with a black seed in viscous pulp. The berries ripen in late fall and stay on the plant all winter. Propagate by crushing the sticky berries against the bark of a tree. Birds, especially the thrush, spread mistletoe by wiping their beaks on trees after they have eaten the berries.

Finally, a poem:


"The day that is no day calls for a tree
That is no tree, of low yet lofty growth.
When the pale queen of Autumn casts her leaves
My leaves are freshly tufted on her boughs.
Look, the twin temple-posts of green and gold
The overshadowing lintel stone of white
For here with white and green and gold I shine –
Graft me upon the King when his sap rises
That I may bloom with him at the year’s prime,
That I may blind him in his hour of joy."

– Robert Graves, The White Goddess



  1. I had breast cancer diagnosed in April 2007 and in May 2007 started mistletoe injections at the Park Attwood Clinic, Bewdley, Worcestershire. UK under the supervison of Dr. Maurice Orange. I did have strong flu symptoms which is quite normal and was looked after with great care by the staff at the clinic. I continued with the Mistletoe treatment at home with visits to the clinic to check my health. Later that year I had surgery and continued to have mistletoe injections. I declined all other conventional treatment. To date I am well. I also take Zeolite which alkalises the body and large doses of vitamin C and other nutritional supplements prescribed for me.

    Mistletoe is a very spiritual herb and also helps with sleep and makes one feel good about oneself which at a time of cancer diagnoses helps alot.

    I must say that the NHS consultant did not approve of Mistletoe so I did not have any support from that end.

    However, a friend taking Mistletoe had her breast cancer completely disappear so did not have any conventional treatment at all.
    Hope the above is helpful

    • Just don’t rely ONLY on Iscador and “stuff” Gillian. Lifestyle change, especially diet, are your key tools. Iscador is just an adjunct.

  2. We used Album Viscum Q for bone cancer treatment in our dog, with absolutely fantastic results. Unfortunately, it is hard to find and very costly in France, but very efficient

  3. Please ask Gillian Cooper of UK what type of Viscum she used. I have been prescribed V Quercus for breast cancer but have been reading that it is preferred for other types of cancer than breast.

  4. Hello,My name Botea Eugenia and i am from Romania. My mother as tumor NEOPLASM MAXILLARY,inside rightMALIGN CANCER CARCINOM ADENOID CISTIC> I want to take iscador,What type she needs?How can i take it and how much does it cost? Thank you very muchfor your help. Pleas help my

  5. I recently started taking Iscador therapy in drop form and have experienced stomach pain, nausea, headaches and vomiting. I am not on any other current treatment for cancer. I am not sure If have a stomach bug, or it is the side effects fo the treatment. Has any one else experienced this while taking the drops.

  6. I have been taking Iscador P3% sonce March 2010. I have had no side effects so tolerate it very well. This is prescribed by the Homeopathic Hospital in London. Unfortunately, my local oncologist from Christies in Manchester is less than enthusiastic about ‘complementary’ medicines and offers no encouragement at all. Despite my breast cancer being incurable and no western ‘scientific drug’ as yet has been found (despite the millions of pounds being invested in research) he can offer no alternative. Sadly, opposition will be found by those ‘blinded by science’. I feel generally very well and look forward fighting this disease with confidence.

    • Hello Gill,
      My husband has a advanced bowel cancer and I am desperated to get him started on mistletoe therapy. Are you still taking mistletoe? Are you doing it on private care or on NHS?
      looking forward to hear from you soon

  7. I have Stage 3B melanoma…5 surgeries in 2001-2002 on the breast…a year of interferon after that…after 8 years now it returned in the breast again in October 2009. Had surgery, clear margins, returned again March 2010, surgery w/clear margins, had surgery again yesterday July 8th, all in the breast continually moving to the left but still clear nodes at this point. Could Iscador help me and if so what kind. I was on GMC-SF for 6 months and was just taken off it because it was obviously not working.

    • I’m not allowed by my insurers to give consultations of the sort you ask. I notice you don’t mention diet, oxygen and other therapies. Iscador is not a panacea that can work all on its own. If you feel you need more education, consider my “Cancer Confidential” report:

  8. Hi,
    Wondering if you have any info about Iscador for Papillary Cancer patients? I am wanting to take it while I am getting my mercury amalgams out prior to the surgery of having the thyroid removed. I think there is a link between this cancer and all the mercury in my mouth. I am on a supplement, exercise and diet regime as well ovreseen by both my medical doctor and my naturopathic doctor. IscadorM was recommended by weleda. Can you shed more light on this? Can this be helpful for papillary cancer prior to surgery?
    Any insights or studies would be most welcome.

  9. I was diagnosed with breast cancer between christmas and new year and the evening that I had my first scan and mammogram I happened upon the documentary ‘A World without Cancer” and knew straight away that the way that the doctors wanted to treat me was not right for me. I practically spent every waking hour googling natural cancer cures and came across Mistletoe therapy amounst other treatments.
    I was a walking organic grocery shop with my phillips juicer.
    Through my searches I came across Dr Maurice Orange clinic in Tonbridge Kent at the Raphael medical center and started Mistletoe therapy with him in February 2011
    He supported my decision that I did not want chemotherapy or radiotherapy, but still said to keep an open mind about them. But I am stubborn and was adamant that there is a way to beat cancer without such horrible barbaric poisions.
    I had the tumor injected and also had an IV of the solutuion.
    I experienced the expected fever for about 3 days on the second appointment when I had my first proper treatment. The tumour also swelled and was very tender. But it didn’t scare me or freak me out. It was uncomfortable being very restless and sweaty for about 4 days and basically feeling wiped out, and during this very calm.
    I had a series of treatments from February to May which was the last time I saw Dr Orange and I have had a couple treatments since he left with his replacement.
    We couldn’t believe how much smaller the tumour had become and how fast.
    My tumour was about the size and hardness of a walnut and now we could barely find it! I am thrilled.
    BUT I did do all the other stuff too that you as a patient must take responsibility for.
    DIET… juiced the shelves of waitrose dry,
    I also follow the Dr Johanna Bugwig flaxseed and quark twice a day with juiced lemon, tastes gorgeous.
    Alkaline the body and only eat organic, ( ok 90% is organic and yes I have cheated and yes I felt guilty). And I drink alkaline water and have a chansen water water filter.
    I now inject myself weekly and my second scan showed the tumour had reduced from 3.5 cms x 2.5, largest measurement was 4 cms and could easily be found.
    The shadow that was there is now 2.5 by 2 cms.
    But I can’t feel it, and I am constantly feeling my boobs!
    I am expecting some scar tissue from the tumour being injected but the ultrasound should be able to tell the difference between the two.
    The NHS have not helped me at all, and basically discharged me ‘ treatment not needed” is what they said because I dare refuse their “gold standard treatment” and dare to question them. I requested a second appointment to see the first doctor in July and was told October, now its end of November. Just as well I am very happy with my informed decision not to allow them to poison and slash me.
    I know that I will have to keep and eye on my illness for the rest of my life, and I will forever be grateful to Dr Orange and his small and dedicated team and they really are health professionals and Mistletoe therapy SHOULD BE AVAILABLE TO EVERYONE who wants it.
    I could tell you all so much more about what I have learned , just there is soooo much!
    Love to all

  10. Hi
    I had Metaplastic Triple Negative bc. Mastectomy and chemo finished June 2011. My last tumour cell count showed 4.25 m potential tumor cells in my blood although we won’t know if they are active until my next test in January 2012.
    From the moment of diagnoses I have been very proactive in staying well though nutrition, exercise and happy head work. I also inject Iscador mistletoe 3 times weekly. I live in Canada but have a wonderful ND who specializes in oncology and has hooked me up with the mistletoe. What I’m wondering is how long a person should be on it. For 3 years when my recurrance risk drops or 5 years when it drops again or is that too long or too short? Thanks for any advice on that you can give me.


    • Hello Sherry,
      I`m English, and have lived in Germany for 3 decades. I was a nurse, and was pleased that the germans use many alternative treatments, either through their health insurance or their own finances.
      A close friend with breast cancer which metastased in her liver, has been using mistletoe – Iscador (apple tree mistletoe) for 3 yrs.
      She and her medical team, all normal health insurance (AOK) are pleased with her present health. I visited her, at home, yesterday. She was well and very thankful for Mistletoe. Sc inj upto 3x wk for 2-4 wks then break of 1 wk . She has not upped her dose, continuing with the lower dose because it helped. She welcomes the easing of hormonal changes, better moods, general well being and no tumour,

      hope this helps


  11. Diagnosed 1 year ago with bowel cancer I looked for a form of treatment other than the radical surgery offered. I receive Iscador thanks to the NHS in the UK and with the support of my GP. I inject subcutaneously, I have been on Q but am about to go onto M as Weleda are not producing Q in 0.01 levels any more. I have also changed my diet, no obvious sugars and no foods with a glycaemic level over 45, additionally I keep proteins and carbohydrates separate in meals in order to allow my system the best chance to assimilate the food I eat. So far so good, my consultant has scheduled regular scans and I am fine with this, reassuring for me and for them.

  12. Could you help me to buy the iscador product for injections, I don’t find a
    retailer in France. Perhaps in Germany or in Belgium?
    Is it a website for more informations to get this product?
    Thank You for answer
    Kind Regards

    • Your on your own Gilles!
      I live in the USA.
      If Google doesn’t come up, try Bing or one of the other searches.

  13. I am a 68 yr old female, I had estogren positive breast cancer in 2010 & found out in 4/2012 chemo or meds didn’t work and ended up with stage IV metastatic breast cancer in the liver, 2/ 3cm tumors in my liver. Started injecting iscar pini 3x week along with faslodex shots once a month and CT Scans every 3 months. From the end of March 2013 to end of June 2013 I had great news that the CT Scans were not picking up any lesions. Because of finances I had to go off the Iscar the end of May 2013. On 10/4/2013 I had a CT Scan & the lesions showed they grew back
    #1 is (16.1×22.5mm) #2 is (10.8mm) My oncologist feels the faslodex didn’t work and wants to put me on Aromasin/Afinitor.(she is not a fan of alternative drugs) I WOULD LIKE TO GO BACK ON THE ISCAR PINI AND KEEP TAKING THE FASLODEX. I also don’t understand why my markers or blood tests didn’t give any indication something might be up. Also during the period between May and Oct.2013 I started having pre-menopausal systems and my short term memory has gotten bad. Also a 7mm cyst that has been on my liver for years also showed on the last CT Scan to increase to 8.5. If you have any opinions, questions I should ask or anything I could check into to get possible answers, I would love to hear them. Thanks

  14. hi,my dad has been diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer. I live in us and need to find a dr that can help to administer and get mistletoe. willing to try anything because hormones aren’t working well at this point. can anyone help? I live in ohio

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