Mistletoe (Viscum album)

Traditional Indications

Mistletoe is hypotensive, vasodilator, cardiac tonic, sedative, antispasmodic, nervine, relaxant, diuretic, immunostimulant. Mistletoe is specific for lowering blood pressure. It is indicated for hypertension, arteriosclerosis, nervous tachycardia, hypertensive headache, chorea and hysteria. Viscum slows and steadies excessive heart rate and dilates the arteries, thereby lowering blood pressure. It acts directly on the vagus nerve to reduce heart rate while strengthening the peripheral capillary walls. It also has a sedative and tonic effect on the nervous system. It is indicated particularly when high blood pressure is associated with nervous tension and a high pulse rate, as well as for symptoms of nervous tension and spasm. According to Grieves, Mistletoe a great reputation for curing the 'falling sickness' epilepsy - and other convulsive nervous disorders. (1)

In Traditional Chinese Medicine Mistletoe is called Hu Ji Sheng. Hu Ji Sheng enters the Kidney and Liver channels and to Tonify the Kidney and Liver and treat back pain, knee pain, excessive foetal movement, high blood pressure, to strengthen the Bones and Muscles, and to expels Wind-Damp. (2)


The hypotensive effects of ethanol extract of mistletoe are well documented. (3, 4) Phytochemical analysis revealed that polyphenolics and triterpenoids, such as oleanolic acid and lupeol, are the major phytochemicals involved in mistletoes diuretic and natriuretic activity. (5)

Mistletoe extract has been shown to be an effective complementary drug in the treatment of cancer patients after surgical removal of the primary tumour. (6) In patients with locally advanced or metastatic pancreatic carcinoma, mistletoe treatment significantly improves the quality of life in comparison to best supportive care alone. Mistletoe is an effective second-line treatment for this disease. (7)

Antiproliferative effects of mistletoe extract in urinary bladder carcinoma cell lines have been demonstrated. (8)

1. PFAF. Viscum album. 2019.
2. Healing WRIo. Mistletoe (Hu Ji Sheng) 2019.
3. Radenkovic M, Ivetic V, Popovic M, Brankovic S, Gvozdenovic L. Effects of Mistletoe (Viscum Album L., Loranthaceae) Extracts on Arterial Blood Pressure in Rats Treated with Atropine Sulfate and Hexocycline. Clinical and Experimental Hypertension. 2009;31(1):11-9.
4. Ye F, Du GZ, Cui AQ, Lu XT. Study on the mechanism of compound mistletoe fluidextract in relieving hypertension. Journal of traditional Chinese medicine = Chung i tsa chih ying wen pan. 2009;29(4):291-5.
5. Jadhav N, Patil CR, Chaudhari KB, Wagh JP, Surana SJ, Jadhav RB. Diuretic and natriuretic activity of two mistletoe species in rats. Pharmacognosy research. 2010;2(1):50-7.
6. Maldacker J. Preclinical Investigations with Mistletoe (Viscum album L.) Extract Iscador. Arzneimittel-Forschung. 2006;56(06):497-507.
7. Tröger W, Galun D, Reif M, Schumann A, Stanković N, Milićević M. Quality of life of patients with advanced pancreatic cancer during treatment with mistletoe: a randomized controlled trial. Deutsches Arzteblatt international. 2014;111(29-30):493-502.
8. Urech K, Buessing A, Thalmann G, Schaefermeyer H, Heusser P. Antiproliferative effects of mistletoe (Viscum album L.) extract in urinary bladder carcinoma cell lines. Anticancer research. 2006;26(4b):3049-55.


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