Suzanne Somers recently electrified viewers of the Larry King Live Show with the revelation that she has breast cancer, and that she is treating herself with a famous alternative therapy called Iscador. Ms. Somers explained that she heard good things about Iscador, and that it has been used in Europe for a very long time. Her expressed hope was that it would dramatically affect her case of breast cancer. What exactly is Iscador, and is it as promising as Suzanne Somers hopes?
Iscador is an herbal or homeopathic preparation derived from the mistletoe plant. Mistletoe is the leafy, flowering vine that is used for Christmas decorations. Perhaps its' most famous role in American society is the custom of kissing whoever stands beneath the mistletoe. Mistletoe blooms in winter. It appears to thrive in adverse situations such as cold weather. The variety of mistletoe most often utilized as homeopathic medication is the European mistletoe known as viscum album. Mistletoe vines grow on various trees, including pine, oak, and fruit trees. Some practitioners believe that viscum derived from vines grown on certain species of host trees imparts unique properties to the final medicinal preparation. Viscum preparations made from certain species of host trees are therefore utilized to treat specific types of cancers. The most commonly used variants of Iscador are viscum mali from apple trees which is used for cancer in female patients, viscum quercus from the oak tree for cancers in men, and viscum pini from the pine tree which is given a mixed use, but is most famous for breast cancer.
Iscador is most often administered only by qualified physicians because it is potentially poisonous. The leaves and the berries of mistletoe are known to be poisonous. Since Iscador is produced from extracts of the entire plant, an experienced medical practitioner is required to safely administer mistletoe extracts. The production of Iscador begins with the grinding of the entire mistletoe plant, which is then soaked in water. The mistletoe water extract is then fermented, and finally filtered to produce the final product. Scientific research indicated that Iscador may have at least two major mechanisms of action. A portion of the Iscador material seems to improve immune function. In particular, there is evidence that Natural Killer Cells, which are immune system cells thought to fight cancer, are increased in activity following the administration of Iscador. Another interesting potential effect of Iscador is to enhance the activity of Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha, also implicated in natural anti-cancer activity by the immune system. Another portion of Iscador extract may directly change the way cancer cells function. Evidence from scientific studies suggest that Iscador may modify the internal metabolism of malignant cells in beneficial ways, including interfering with the growth of cancer cells. This may eventually prove to be Iscador's most important activity. However, more research is needed to elaborate on this possibility.
The common route of administration is by injection of the viscum just under the skin. As each day of therapy progresses, a more concentrated version is administered. After the first few daily doses, a red swelling often appears at the injection site. A short-term fever also is commonly seen with the daily injections. Many doctors theorize that this fever may play a positive role in the beneficial action of Iscador. After reaching the highest concentration of Iscador, the injections are often continued for a week or longer, depending upon the clinical situation as judged by the treating physician. The side effects of Iscador therapy can include low-grade fever, and redness and irritation at the injection sites.
What results have been observed in patients treated with Iscador? Reports of results are primarily anecdotal. In other words, they are the observations of physicians and others but are not part of a scientifically controlled medical trial or study. The observations suggest that Iscador is indeed a promising therapy. The earliest and most famous medical report of results from Iscador therapy was published by Dr. K. Koeller in 1962. His report detailed the case histories and positive therapeutic responses of six of his patients treated with Iscador. More recent medical research has indicated possible benefit to patients with many types of solid tumors. Iscador is now one of the most widely used alternative cancer therapies. It is not surprising that as people from all walks of life, including celebrities such as Suzanne Somers, seek the leading alternative cancer therapies, they come upon Iscador as a famous and promising choice.
Dr.Minton is a qualified Medical Doctor (MD), and an experienced homeopath. His more then twenty years of experience as a practicing physician and additional graduate education at Stanford University in molecular biology are the foundation for the consultation services he provides via www.doctorminton.com and his collaboration with Advanced Alternatives Cancer Treatment Clinic.