Mistletoe (generic name)
treats Hepatitis, Arthritis, Respiratory disease, HIV, Immunomodulation, and Cancer
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SafetyDISCLAIMER: Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.
Avoid in individuals with a known allergy/hypersensitivity to mistletoe or to any of its constituents. A life-threatening allergic reaction, called anaphylaxis, occurred after injections of mistletoe.
Side Effects and Warnings
Mistletoe is contraindicated in patients with protein hypersensitivity and/or chronic progressive infections (e.g. tuberculosis). Avoid use of mistletoe in patients with acute, highly febrile, inflammatory disease.
Most clinical trials were performed with unfractionated extracts, which contain numerous components, and it is difficult to ascribe adverse effects to any component of the mistletoe extracts. Most of the injected administrations of mistletoe may be accompanied by mild manifestations of similar side effects, most of them transient.
The most common reactions reported are erythema (reddening of the skin) and hyperemia (increased blood in an organ). Use of Iscador-M® has resulted in grade 3-4 toxicities (e.g. anorexia, general malaise, depressive moods, fever, and swelling at the site of injection). Other side effects observed have included drug related fever and pain at the site of injection. No drug-related discontinuation or toxic deaths occurred.
Avoid the use of mistletoe with cardiovascular disease, as many adverse effects are possible.
Avoid the use of mistletoe in active/uncontrolled hyperthyroid patients. The manufacturer of Isorel®, Novipharm, notes that mistletoe may additionally activate the patient's already accelerated metabolism and cause over-stimulation, thus worsening the patient's status. Also use cautiously in diabetics as insulin levels may be altered.
Congested intestine, diarrhea, gastroenteritis, nausea, and vomiting have been reported after mistletoe use. Moderate to mild flu-like symptoms, transient exacerbation of gingivitis, and fever were observed in some patients with subcutaneous administration of mistletoe preparations. Hepatitis has been reported due to ingestion of herbal tablets containing mistletoe and other plant extracts. Elevations of liver enzymes have been reported with high doses of mistletoe.
High urinary frequency/nocturia has been observed. Coma, delirium, fatigue, hallucinations, headaches, pain (generalized, bone, joint), abnormal blood cell counts, pancreas, and kidney damage have been reported along with seizures and sleeplessness. In one clinical study, muscle contracture and muscular pain were reported. Ascites, slowed heart rates, cardiac arrest, dehydration, and high or low blood pressure have also been reported.
Use cautiously in glaucoma patients or in those on cholinergics. Mydriasis and myosis/myalgia has been reported in clinical study after mistletoe administration. One report exists of eye irritation after the ingestion of mistletoe.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Avoid use of mistletoe in pregnancy and breastfeeding due to the potential uterine stimulant activity of mistletoe.