Mistletoe and the Emerging Future of Integrative Oncology
Human disease is an elaborate dance between behavior, our environment, and chance. Medicine tries to tame human disease with science, but when our knowledge falls short, disease wins. This is too often the case with cancer. We spend billions of dollars each year trying to better understand it and develop tools to ease its effects.
Today, many allopathic medical practitioners are beginning to seek out a greater connection with holistic and integrative approaches. The authors of this book introduce one specific therapy and make a case for integrative health in general, including anthroposophically extended medicine, naturopathy, and other holistic approaches.
Mistletoe therapy has long been considered a viable treatment for cancer by the European medical community and is beginning to gain recognition in North America, as well. The mistletoe plant possesses many remarkable properties. As a therapy, it represents a rediscovery of ancient wisdom and shows us how the science of modern medicine might expand its reach and reconnect with a more human-centered medicine.
The book was structured following the syllabus for a three-day practitioner training hosted by the Physicians’ Association for Anthroposophic Medicine (PAAM). The chapters highlight several of our key lectures in a condensed form. The book serves as an introductory summary of—not a replacement for—those intensive professional trainings.
While this book should not be regarded as a treatment or diagnostic manual, it is intended to both prepare practitioners to begin mistletoe therapy training and to make this information available, in an accessible form, to anyone interested in learning about this approach to treating cancer.
Illustrated in color and b/w
“I cannot imagine a better introduction to mistletoe than the current volume. It is fascinating, clearly organized, and well written...a real page-turner for anyone interested in the tortuous journey of this widely misunderstood form of complementary treatment. Visitors to Germany are often amazed to discover the respect that physicians and patients have for a botanical treatment almost unknown in America—that is, mistletoe therapy and the broader category of anthroposophic medicine. Mistletoe has been approved for cancer in Germany since the 1960s. Even the U.S. National Cancer Institute states that mistletoe extracts are among the most widely prescribed drugs for cancer patients in Europe. Yet, in the U.S. mistletoe is either unknown or carelessly maligned. This situation is now changing because of a clinical trial at the renowned Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. This fact alone is causing greater awareness of mistletoe therapy and may help usher in a bright future for cancer patients seeking a more holistic form of treatment.”Ralph W. Moss, PhD
“In this pioneering book, doctors and patients will discover the incredible power of mistletoe therapy and its foundational place within integrative cancer care. As this book demonstrates, plant-based supplements that stimulate the immune system's own power—such as mistletoe—are a welcome addition to current cancer treatments and may eventually become first-line treatments (with fewer side effects).”Kelly A. Turner, PhD, NY Times bestselling author of Radical Hope
“Mistletoe was a cornerstone of my integrative oncology practice for over 35 years. This exciting collaboration by leading integrative physicians is not only a comprehensive deep-dive into the science and practice of mistletoe therapies, it provides a context in holistic cancer care. Nutrition, spirituality, metabolic therapies, naturopathy, and other natural medicines are given voice as the new paradigm of integrative medicine.”Neil McKinney, ND, author, Naturopathic Oncology: An Encyclopedic Guide for Patients and Physicians
“Although future cancer therapies may involve the cutting-edge science such as gene therapy it may also be that ancient wisdom will be just as important. Mistletoe has been used in tradition healing therapies for centuries, if not thousands of years and may prove to be one of our greatest tools in the treatment of cancer.”Robb Wolf, New York Times/WSJ bestselling author, The Paleo Solution and Wired to Eat, co-host The Healthy Rebellion Radio
“This new resource is an excellent and needed addition to the world of naturopathic and integrative oncology. Using Mistletoe as a therapy is something my colleagues and I have done for many years, and like all therapies there are so many subtleties to the art of its use. This book will take the practitioner from not only a safe and entry level position using mistletoe therapies but also elevate their technical and clinical competence. All the chapters are amazing, and ones such as chapter 5, ‘Test, Assess, Address...Don’t Guess! Adjusting Treatment Priorities in Response to the Patient’s Unique Terrain’ gets to the heart of elevating patient outcomes. This is an invaluable resource!”Dr. Paul S. Anderson, coauthor, Outside the Box Cancer Therapies; author, Cancer: The Journey from Diagnosis to Empowerment
“What a treasure this book is—for patients and practitioners alike. It’s time to shed the war metaphor and acknowledge that comprehensive healing must incorporate spirit, soul, and body. These authors provide an expansive and inclusive view of how we can approach and accomplish healing the whole person. As more of us embrace and practice the approaches introduced in this book, we will truly have actual healthcare rather than disease management.”Jan Adrian, MSW, founder and director of Healing Journeys
“This book is authored by some of the leading integrative oncologists who are on the cutting edge with their innovative approaches to treating one of the leading causes of death in the 21st century, cancer. If you or someone you love has cancer, this is a must have resource to learn about a non-toxic century old herb that has great promise in the comprehensive treatment program management of most cancers.”Dr. Mercola, Founder mercola.com, most visited natural health website for the last two decades
“More than an introduction to mistletoe therapy, this book is packed with information about this ancient yet “new” therapeutic option. Written for both the layman and the medically trained, the history and science of mistletoe along with relevant research are all reviewed. As a practicing Hyperbaric Medicine physician who regularly walks in the unconventional space, I found this information fascinating and completed my reading ready to charge forward. The authors will surely inspire those in both the functional medicine and allopathic community to incorporate the use of mistletoe as part of an integrative approach to the cancer patient. They have effectively helped to bridge the gap. The door has been opened!”Alan A Katz, MD, FUHM, FACEP, FAAEM, National Medical Director of Hyperbaric Medical Solutions
“This book provides a progressive and interesting look at alternatives to traditional cancer therapies, focused on provision of natural remedies as a component of integrative cancer care, especially utilizing Viscum Album Extract (VAE).
“It begins with an important review of the history of cancer research, which provides the framework for modern day holistic approaches, especially regarding cancer cell metabolism and immunotherapy. Dr Johnson and Winters have assembled an outstanding group of authors with an in-depth knowledge of both the mechanisms of action, and clinical application, of anthroposophic medicine. All cancer care providers, including allopathic physicians, can benefit from reading this book and adopting adjuvant practices to augment traditional cancer therapies.
“The conclusions are provocative, calling for a more detailed look at more effective means to induce the immune response in cancer patients; and to tailor the type of host inflammation from a chronic low-grade smoldering condition, into a more robust acute and episodic response, which can perturb metastatic sites and cause regression of primary lesions. The appendices provide practical algorithms and treatment schedules. Please expand your thinking about the etiology and management of cancer by reading this book.”Jeffrey A Jones, MD, FACS, FACPM, FAsMA, OCL, Deputy Executive for Inpatient Services, Chief of Urology- OCL/MEDVAMC, Professor Baylor College of Medicine, Scott Dept of Urology/ Center for Space Medicine, Jamail-Abramson Chair in Urology Research
C O N T E N T S:
How to Use this Book
Foreword by Dr. Luis A. Diaz
Introduction by Dr. Steven Johnson, DO
PART 1: THE LANDSCAPE OF MISTLETOE THERAPY
1: Ancient Plant, Modern Therapy:
A Brief History of Mistletoe and Modern Oncology
Dr. Steven Johnson, DO and Dr. Nasha Winters, ND, FABNO
2: The Immunology and Science of Mistletoe
Dr. Paul Faust, ND
3: The State of Current Mistletoe Research
Dr. Paul Faust, ND and Dr. Marion Debus, MD
PART 2: MISTLETOE IN CLINICAL PRACTICE
4: Understanding Host Trees:
Best Practices in Choosing Mistletoe Therapies
Dr. Peter Hinderberger, MD
5: Test, Assess, Address . . . Don’t Guess! Adjusting Treatment
Priorities in Response to the Patient’s Unique Terrain
Dr. Nasha Winters, ND, FABNO
PART 3: HUMAN-CENTERED MEDICINE
6: The Physiology of Warmth
Dr. Adam Blanning, MD
7: What is “Constitutional Care” in the Anthroposophic World?
Seeing the Whole person, the Whole Human Organism, before Providing Care
Dr. Peter Hinderberger, MD
8: Pairing AM Adjuvants:
Helleborus and Other Anthroposophic Remedies Provided alongside Mistletoe Therapy
Dr. Steven Johnson, DO
9: Building the Bridge between Mistletoe and
Other Integrative Therapies
Dr. Nasha Winters, ND, FABNO
PART 4: WEAVING IT ALL TOGETHER: SPECIAL APPLICATIONS IN CLINICAL PRACTICE
10: Unique Scenarios: Novel Mistletoe Administration Routes
and Understanding Tissue-origins of Specific Cancer Types
Dr. Mark Hancock, MD and Dr. Marion Debus
11: Using Mistletoe Therapy in
Advanced Disease and End-of-Life Care
Dr. Steven Johnson, DO
12: What the Horizon Holds for Mistletoe Therapy . . .
and for an Expanding Integrative Approach to Cancer Care
Dr. Nasha Winters, ND, FABNO
Afterword by Holly Lucille, ND, RN
A: Basics of Mistletoe Administration
B: Dramatic Responses to VAE Therapy
C: Anamnestic Form
D: M.D. Anderson Prognostic Scoring System
E: Host Trees and Cancer Types: Basic Matching Guidelines
F: Terrain-centric Core Lab Tests and True Healthy Ranges
About the Contributors
References and Author Notes