Iscador Side Effects

Immune system
Immune system (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cancer is among the most adverse health issues in the modern society. Despite the efforts of medical science to find a consistent cure for cancer, it continues to grasp millions of lives each year. In addition to artificial medication, many natural extracts have been adapted into cancer remedies throughout the history. Iscador is one such drug that comes from the mistletoe plant. Mistletoe or viscum album is a parasitic, berry-producing plant growing on trees. Although it is poisonous in general, twigs, berries and leaves of its European and Asian variations are processed to manufacture iscador, one of the most valuable cancer fighters in the modern world.

The idea of using mistletoe for cancer treatment runs back to 1920. The proposal was made by Rudolph Steiner, Ph.D., from Switzerland, the famous founder of the Society for Cancer Research. His concept was based on the fact that about half of German cancer patients were receiving successful treatment with mistletoe. He also founded Weleda, the chief manufacturer of iscador. Although many US doctors don’t approve the drug probably due to its poisonous origin, iscador is quite popular in Europe. Nevertheless, large doses of iscador can still be lethal so that it is usually used along with conventional cancer treatments.

Iscador is believed to help boost the immune system for killing malignant cells and shrinking tumors. It works best on bladder, stomach, intestinal and advanced skin cancers. Being a natural anti-inflammatory, it can also suppress pain for patients receiving radiation and chemo therapies. Although it can also slow bone cancer growth, it’s not very effective for esophageal or lung cancers. Doctors claim that it can stop metastatic spread when combined with other therapies like surgery. Welada’s researches have shown iscador’s effectiveness in animal studies, while patients taking the drug have shown a 40% better chance of survival than those who don’t.

Nevertheless, iscador can produce some disturbing side effects on rare occasions. Low-grade fever is the most prominent, which may be temporary or may even last over the course of treatment. Chills and headaches may accompany these flu-like symptoms. Nausea and vomiting have also been observed, in addition to abdominal pain, indigestion and diarrhea in some cases. Gastrointestinal medications can help suppress such discomforts. Patients may also suffer from chest pains and slower heartbeat during the first few days, while changes of blood pressure may last till the end of treatment. Hence iscador is not recommended for patients with heart or blood pressure problems, or those who use blood thinners or MAO inhibitors for combating depression.

Overdose situations are more serious, as they can cause seizures, comas or even death. Hence iscador should never be used as a home remedy; it must only be prescribed and administered by a licensed physician. However, if the necessary precautions are followed, benefits of iscador can easily overweigh its associated risks and side effects. The prepared drug is usually administered as an injection, and temporary inflammation around the injection site will usually disappear once the treatment is completed.

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