Can Mistletoe Extract (Iscador) Help Treat My Breast Cancer?

Question: What is mistletoe extract, or Iscador, and can it help treat my breast cancer?

Answer: Mistletoe is a parasitic plant that grows on the top of many trees in many parts of the world. Particularly on the border between Switzerland and France and actually throughout Europe, it is a very common growth. Mistletoe is the same mistletoe that we use at Christmas time to hang up for decorations and for kissing purposes.

But for centuries, extracts of mistletoe have been used to treat illness. It is said that way back in the time of the Druids, extracts of mistletoe were used to treat all kinds of ailments and illnesses. There is some thought that Iscador, which is one of maybe five or six different brands of extracts that are developed from mistletoe, may have some benefit -- along with chemotherapy -- in helping cancer patients.

Barrie CassilethPlay

There is zero evidence that Iscador or any other mistletoe product in and of itself can cure cancer. And there is zero evidence that it has the ability to cure cancer even along with chemotherapy. But it may enhance the patient's status; it may make the patient feel better. We don't know; the data are not yet all in.

Next: Are most herbs and vitamins basically safe?

Previous: Is it safe to have a massage if you have or have had breast cancer?