European mistletoe contains chemicals that might stimulate the immune system and kill certain cancer cells, but it's not clear if these effects occur in the human body.
People use European mistletoe for various types of cancer, including head and neck cancer, bladder cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses. Most research has evaluated European mistletoe injections given by a healthcare provider. There is very little research on the use of European mistletoe taken by mouth.
Uses & Effectiveness
Possibly Ineffective for
- Head and neck cancer. Injecting European mistletoe extract into the skin before or after surgery or radiation for head and neck cancers does not improve survival. It's not clear if taking European mistletoe by mouth helps. Injection products can only be given by a healthcare provider.
- The most serious type of skin cancer (melanoma). Injecting European mistletoe extract into the skin after surgery for melanoma does not improve survival or reduce the risk of the cancer returning. It's not clear if taking European mistletoe by mouth helps. Injection products can only be given by a healthcare provider.
Special Precautions and Warnings
Pregnancy: European mistletoe is likely unsafe when taken by mouth during pregnancy. It might stimulate the uterus and cause a miscarriage.
Breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if European mistletoe is safe to use when breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
"Auto-immune diseases" such as multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), or other conditions: European mistletoe might cause the immune system to become more active. This could increase the symptoms of auto-immune diseases. If you have one of these conditions, it's best to avoid using European mistletoe.
Leukemia: European mistletoe might make leukemia worse. If you have leukemia, don't take European mistletoe.
Organ transplant: European mistletoe might make the immune system more active. A more active immune system might increase the risk of organ rejection. If you have had an organ transplant, avoid European mistletoe.
Surgery: European mistletoe might affect blood pressure. This might interfere with blood pressure control during and after surgery. Stop taking European mistletoe at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
Medications for high blood pressure (Antihypertensive drugs) interacts with EUROPEAN MISTLETOE
European mistletoe might lower blood pressure. Taking European mistletoe along with medications that lower blood pressure might cause blood pressure to go too low. Monitor your blood pressure closely.
Medications that decrease the immune system (Immunosuppressants) interacts with EUROPEAN MISTLETOE
European mistletoe can increase the activity of the immune system. Some medications, such as those used after a transplant, decrease the activity of the immune system. Taking European mistletoe along with these medications might decrease the effects of these medications.
Be cautious with this combination
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CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.
This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version.
© Therapeutic Research Faculty 2020.