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Viscum album

Viscum album                                            Common name: Mistletoe

Family: Loranthaceae

Part used: Whole herb (leaves & branches)

Constituents: Lectins (viscotoxins), Flavonoids, Acetylcholine & choline derivatives, alkaloids, polypeptide, polysaccharides, phenolic compounds: caffeic acid, syringin, eleutherosides, sterols: triterpenes, amines: histamine, tyramine

Actions: Antihypertensive, Sedative, Antitumour, Diuretic, Vasodilator, Antispasmodic, Anti-inflammatory, Immune enhancer

Medical uses: 

  • Primary hypertension – Used as an alternative to beta blockers in cases of side effects of the later
  • Anxiety & panic attacks
  • Insomnia
  • Tinnitus
  • Epilepsy
  • Improves concentration
  • In cancer treatment – can also kill cancer cells in animals or in vitro
  • Inflammatory arthritis
  • Diabetes – has been shown to help reduce symptoms in diabetic mice by stimulating insulin secretion from pancreas cells
  • Cardiovascular ConditionsOpen studies carried out using oral mistletoe have found it can reduce the symptoms of high blood pressure, particularly headaches and dizziness. German doctors generally agree with these findings; however, mistletoe has a small (if any) effect on actually lowering blood pressure. However, Dr. Murray has described Viscum as being cholinomimetic resulting in inhibition of the medullary vasomotor center
  • Neoplastic ConditionsNumerous clinical trials have found that subcutaneous injections of mistletoe extracts can help people with cancer of various organs, though some have also failed to show any benefit. There is no evidence that giving mistletoe orally would benefit people with cancer.

Pharmacology:

  • Most notable compounds are lectins (also called viscotoxins), choline derivatives, alkaloids, polypeptides, and polysaccharides. Have shown immune-stimulating activity in human studies when mistletoe extracts are given by injection.
  • In regard to immune function, has a variety of effects including increased: macrophage phagocytic and cytotoxic function, neutrophil production, thymic weight, cortical thymocyte activity/proliferation, NK cell activity, IL-1, IL-6 &TNF induction

Pharmacy:

  • Dried herb:  2-6 g TID
  • Tincture (1:5, 45%), 1-3 ml TID, max dose 10 ml/week
  • Fluid extract (1:1, 25%), .5 ml TID
  • Other Preparations: Iscador:  fermented juice, Eurixor:  standardized to lectin 1, Lektinol

Contraindications: Pregnancy

Toxicity: Berries are highly poisonous

 

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