Iscador (Viscum Album) as a Homoeopathic Remedy

Iscador (Viscum Album) as a Homoeopathic Remedy

Viscum Album

Iscador therapy is one of The most popular complementary therapy for cancer in Germany. It is most controversial topic because of insufficiency of evidence in old homoeopathic literatures. The Homoeopathic prospective of Viscum album is not limited to its use in cancer. Homoeopathic application of Viscum album is same as any other remedy that is on the basis of symptom similarity. It can be helpful in the cases of cancer because of toxic lactin viscumin which is present in leaves and berries of Viscum album. The tincture of Viscum album is prepared from ripe berries or bruised leaves or whole plant.


Iscador, homoeopathic remedy


 RIP- ribosome inactivating protein,N.O. -natural order, AD – Anno Domini


Iscador therapy is one of the most popular complementary therapies for cancer in Germany.  it is helpful in the treatment of early stage cancer cases as well as in advanced cases also. It is most controversial topic because of insufficiency of evidence in old homoeopathic literatures. In some researches it is found that it can helpful in reducing the subjective distress in later stages of cancer and helps in extension of life, in precancerous stages or early stage of cancer it will be helpful. For the purpose of iscador therapy as a therapeutic agent iscador is used which is basically extract o European mistletoe (Viscum album) is used. The homoeopathic prospective of viscum alb is not limited to its use in cancer. Homoeopathic application of Viscum album is same as any other remedy that is on the basis of symptom similarity. The tincture of Viscum album is prepared from ripe berries or bruised leaves or whole plant.

  It can be helpful in the cases of cancer because of toxic lactin viscumin which is present in leaves and berries of viscum alb. Viscumin is a cytotoxic protein.The tincture is prepared from leaves and berries of Viscum album. It is also one of the best remedy for low blood pressure. Pulse is slow due to central irritation of vagus.

Description of plant

The species name derived from Latin adjective “albus” means white. It and the other members of the genus ‘Viscum’ were originally classified in the mistletoe family viscaceae, but this family has since been sunk into the larger family Santalaceae. N. O. Loranthaceae. It is a hemi-parasitic evergreen shrub, which grows on the stems of other tree. It has 30-100 centimeters long stems with dichotomous branching. The leaves are present in opposite pairs, strap-shaped ,entire leathery textured about 2-8 centimetres in length and broadness is about 0.8-2.5 centimeters and yellowish green in colour. This species is diocious and the insect-pollinated flowers are conspicuous, yellowish-green, 2-3 mm in diameter. The Fruit is a white or yellow berry containing ( very rarely several ) seeds embedded in the very sticky glutinous fruit pulp. It is commonly found in the crowns of broad-leaved trees, particularly apple, lime(Linden), hawthorn and poplar [1]

Toxicity effect

The berries of European mistletoe can cause serious illness after eating it. It is potentially fatal in concentrated form. [2]Viscum album contain cytotoxin protein viscumin(Ribosome Inactivating Protein or RIP) that reduces the cell surface glycoprotein by binding to galactose and may  be through endocytosis internalized.[4] Viscumin inactivating the 60S ribosome sub unit results in strongly inhibition of protein synthesis. The structure of this protein is very similar to other RIPs showing most similarity with Ricin and Abrin.[3][4] some birds have immunity to the poison and enjoy the berries, especially the mistle thrush which is named for its favourite food.

Culture, folklore and mythology

European mistletoe features in many myths and legends from early written sources, into the modern period. In cultures across pre-Christian Europe, mistletoe was often seen as a representation of divine male essence (and thus romance, fertility and vitality).


According to the 13th century Prose Edda, the goddess Frigg had everything swear an oath not to hurt her son Baldr, except for mistletoe, because “it seemed too young” to her for that. After this at the thing, other gods had fun by shooting at him, or hurling stones, without him being injured at all. Loki, wishing him dead, tricked Baldr’s brother, the blind god Höðr into throwing mistletoe at Baldr, killing him.[5]

In the version of the story in Gesta Danorum, Baldr and Höðr are rival suitors for Nanna, and Höðr kills Baldr with a sword named Mistilteinn (Old Norse “mistletoe”).[6] In addition, a sword by the same name also appears in Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks and Hrómundar saga Gripssonar.[7]

Ancient Greek and Roman

Mistletoe figured prominently in Greek mythology, and is believed to be the Golden Bough of Aeneas, ancestor of the Romans.[8] Also in Greek mythology mistletoe was used by heroes to access the underworld.[9] The Romans associated mistletoe with peace, love and understanding and hung it over doorways to protect the household.[10]


When Christianity became widespread in Europe after the 3rd century AD, the religious or mystical respect for the mistletoe plant was integrated to an extent into the new religion. In some way that is not presently understood, this may have led to the widespread custom of kissing under the mistletoe plant during the Christmas season. The earliest documented case of kissing under the mistletoe dates from 16th century England, a custom that was apparently very popular at that time.

Mistletoe is commonly used as a Christmas decoration, though such use was rarely alluded to until the 18th century.[11] According to custom, the mistletoe must not touch the ground between its cutting and its removal as the last of Christmas greens at Candlemas. It may remain hanging throughout the year, often to preserve the house from lightning or fire, until it is replaced the following Christmas Eve.[12][13]

In Germany, the Christmas tradition is that people who kiss under mistletoe will have an enduring love or are bound to marry one another.[14]

Research papers regarding efficacy of viscum album

Use of Iscador, an extract of European mistletoe (Viscum album), in cancer treatment: prospective nonrandomized and randomized matched-pair studies nested within a cohort study [17]

 -In the nonrandomized matched-pair study, survival time of patients treated with Iscador was longer for all types of cancer studied. In the pool of 396 matched pairs, mean survival time in the Iscador groups (4.23 years) was roughly 40% longer than in the control groups (3.05 years; P < .001). Synergies between Iscador treatment and self-regulation manifested in a longer survival advantage for Iscador patients with good self-regulation (56% relative to control group; P = .03) than for patients with poor self-regulation. Results of the 2 randomized matched-pair studies largely confirmed the results of the non-randomized studies.


Mistletoe is a plant with a high potential for the treatment of various diseases. Its phytochemical composition and at the same

time its biological effects depend on the host tree. The key components responsible for anticancer activity are lectin and

viscotoxin. In addition, mistletoe also contains a sufficient amount of secondary metabolites from the class of flavonoids and

phenolic acids, compounds with important beneficial effects. These compounds are widely distributed in plants and there is

sufficient evidence to show that their consumption is closely linked to a decrease in the incidence of cancer, diabetes, and

cardiovascular disease. Studies on the synergistic effects between mistletoe polyphenols and lectins should be further developed to identify new targeted therapeutic applications of mistletoe preparations.

 Homoeopathic perspective


Mistletoe affects the nerves and female sexual organ.[18]

General tremor as if all muscles are in fibrillary contraction.[18]

spinal pain, due to uterine diseases[20][18]


Chorea from fright.[18]

Epilepsy, he felt a glow that rose up from feet to head. [18]

Gouty and rheumatic complaints.[18]

Blood would not clot and wounds would not heal.[18]

Sciatica with otorrhoea.[18]

Every muscle of the body, except those of the eyes, were paralysed[19]

Desire for wine which ameliorate


Winter,cold stormy weather[18]


Lying on left side[18]

Becoming chilled when hot.[18]

Suppression of menses.[18]


Fear of telephone[18]

Incoherent talk and spectral illusions; inclined to be violent[19]

Stupor, succeeded by almost entire insensibility.[19]

Keeps waking in night thinking the most horrible things imaginable.[19]

Great depression.[19]

Delusion upper part of the body is floating in air


Vertigo, persistent, after epileptic attack.[18]

Sudden throbbing in vertex.[18]


Feels as if someone was dragging her down from the waist.[18]

Sore about waist.[18]


Urine milky;after standing.[18] ,Urine turbid after standing, pink deposit (B).[19]


Metrorrhagia; blood partly bright and partly clotted and dark.[18]

Retained placenta[20]


Feeling suffocation when lying of left side.[18]

Bronchial asthma,connected with gout or rheumatism.[18]


Palpitation,during coitus, in males.[18]

Hypertrophy .[18]

Low tension.[18]

Pulse is slow due to central irritation of vagus.[20]


Tearing, shooting pains in both thighs and upper extremity. [18]

Sciatica;with otorrhoea.[18]

Sensation of a spider crawling over back of hand and foot. [18]

Red hot coal applied to the heel as if.[18]

Glow sensation from foot to head.[18]

Lumbago from a chill, wants someone to press against the back.18]


Drowsiness (2nd d.). -Wakes thinking of horrible things; gets to sleep again soon by changing thoughts Sleep dreamful; worrying dreams of affairs of day. [19]


Chilly even near a stove; cold, chilly feeling creeps over him frequently (B).-Skin warm and very moist (2nd d.).-First cold and then hot feeling without being actually hot (B1).-On waking always very hot except on knees, legs, and feet, which are very cold.-Hot feeling at night during micturition[19]


In the homoeopathic literature very less information regarding its application in the cancer cases. It has indications to apply as per the totality of symptoms. It is one of the important remedy for cardiac disorders, uterine disorders,rheumatic complains and many more like other remedies.


  1. Tree News, Spring/Summer 2005, Publisher Felix Press Archived October 15, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
    1. Poison Control Jump up to:a b Olsnes S, Stirpe F, Sandvig K, Pihl A (November 1982). “Isolation and characterization of viscumin, a toxic lectin from Viscum album L. (mistletoe)”. The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 257 (22): 13263–70. doi:10.1016/S0021-9258(18)33440-9PMID 7142144. Retrieved 2009-06-22.
    1. Jump up to:a b Stirpe F, Sandvig K, Olsnes S, Pihl A (November 1982). “Action of viscumin, a toxic lectin from mistletoe, on cells in culture”. The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 257 (22): 13271–7. doi:10.1016/S0021-9258(18)33441-0PMID 7142145. Retrieved 2009-06-22.
    1. Faulkes, Anthony (Trans.) (1995). Edda, pages 48–49. Everyman. ISBN 0-460-87616-3
    1. Saxo Grammaticus (src. auth.) Hilda Ellis Davidson (ed. & commt. auth.) Peter Fisher (trans.) (17 January 2008) Saxo Grammaticus: The History of the Danes, Books I-IX (revised edition) Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK & Rochester, NY: Boydell & Brewer (a.k.a. BOYE6 a.k.a. Boydell Press) ISBN 978-0-85991-502-1
    1. Simek, Rudolf (1993). Dictionary of northern mythology. Cambridge [England]: D.S. Brewer. ISBN 9780859915137.
    1. Virgil (19 BCE) The Aeneid The Woodland Trust – Mistletoe: meaning, mythology and magic  Jump up to:a b BBC News – Tenbury Wells: Centuries-old romance with mistletoe
    1. Susan Drury, “Customs and Beliefs Associated with Christmas Evergreens: A Preliminary Survey” Folklore 98.2 (1987:194–199) p. 194.
    1. Drury 1987. Sydney J. Tanner. There’s more to mistletoe than just a kiss prompter. December 10, 2009
    1. ^ Zeit – Warum küsst man sich unter dem Mistelzweig? Plantlife website County Flowers page Archived April 30, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
    1. Kleszken E, Timar AV, Memete AR, Miere F, Vicas SI. On Overview Of Bioactive Compounds, Biological And Pharmacological Effects Of Mistletoe (Viscum Album L). Pharmacophore. 2022;13(1):10-26.
    1. Grossarth-Maticek R, Kiene H, Baumgartner SM, Ziegler R. Use of Iscador, an extract of European mistletoe (Viscum album), in cancer treatment: prospective nonrandomized and randomized matched-pair studies nested within a cohort study. Altern Ther Health Med. 2001 May-Jun;7(3):57-66, 68-72, 74-6 passim. PMID: 11347286.
    1. Material medica of homoeopathic medicine by Dr.S.R.Phatak,B.Jain publisher new delhi
    1. A Dictionary of practical material medica –JH Clarke, B.Jain publisher new delhi
    1. Boericke W, new manual of homoeopathic material medica with repertory, B.Jain publisher new delhi

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