An intriguing case report has just been published of a 66 year old woman with metastatic melanoma who was treated with high dose mistletoe therapy.1 After two years she was in complete remission. Her cancer was confirmed with biopsy. She was treated with high dose intravenous mistletoe extract after declining chemotherapy. Doses of up to 2200mg of Iscador were used. Note that this is about one hundred times higher than “conventionally” dosed Iscador therapy. The patient also received a total of 26 intratumoral injections.
The following is an excerpt from the patient’s description of her experience:
“I realized that my own commitment to becoming healthy was needed, and learned to be grateful for everything that was healthy in me. This commitment to my own health also involved the development of an awareness of my life, including uncovering all those things which were sabotaging me from the inside.”
The idea that an individual can impact their own care and health has been almost completely lost in the field of oncology.
This case report is compelling because it shows a patient who responded in a time related and dose related fashion to the intervention (mistletoe). Cases where patients use only one intervention are important as they exclude the possibility that actually some other treatment was the cause of tumor response.
The physician involved in this case has published other such case reports using mistletoe.
The authors of this study, being the excellent scientists they are, wanted to add the following commentary:
Our case report presents a very good outcome in this patient, a complete remission according to the PET-scans. This, however, does not mean that the patient is completely cured from her disease, relapses are not definitely ruled out. Secondly, the result in this patient cannot simply be transferred to other patients. Malignant melanoma has different characteristics from one patient to another, and it cannot be foreseen how other patients will react to such mistletoe treatment. One cannot and should not conclude from this case report that mistletoe could be an alternative to current standard treatment.
Werthmann P, Hintze A, Kienle G. Complete remission and long-term survival of a patient with melanoma metastases treated with high-dose fever-inducing Viscum album extract: A case report. Medicine (Baltimore). 2017;96(46):e8731. [PMC]
Werthmann P, Helling D, Heusser P, Kienle G. Tumour response following high-dose intratumoural application of Viscum album on a patient with adenoid cystic carcinoma. BMJ Case Rep. 2014;2014. [PubMed]
Werthmann P, Sträter G, Friesland H, Kienle G. Durable response of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma following high-dose peri-lesional injections of Viscum album extracts–a case report. Phytomedicine. 2013;20(3-4):324-327. [PubMed]
December 2nd I presented “The Health Benefits of Eating Organic and Biodynamic Food”. I loved the opportunity to speak and even more to meet such a thriving group of the region’s farmers. I was impressed to meet Tradd Cotter the mushroom expert who presented on fungal remediation of environmental contamination. He runs Mushroom Mountain and I am planning on taking the girls there for the guided tour. I got to know many volunteers from the Heimerdinger Foundation. They cook hundreds of meals each week with local teenagers and deliver them free to cancer patients and their families. The best part- they use all organic food. We met Ian McSweeney who works as a consultant creating land ownership methods that make land more affordable and secure to farmers. He is a real leader in farmland conservation who I am sure will play a role in our future ecovillage.
At the heart of this all was Jeff Poppen. It was a pleasure to meet this genuine man of large spirit who has one of the oldest organic/biodynamic farms in the region. I can’t wait to visit!
Cimino A, Boyles A, Thayer K, Perry M. Effects of Neonicotinoid Pesticide Exposure on Human Health: A Systematic Review. Environ Health Perspect. 2016;125(2):155-162. [PMC]
Mokarizadeh A, Faryabi M, Rezvanfar M, Abdollahi M. A comprehensive review of pesticides and the immune dysregulation: mechanisms, evidence and consequences. Toxicol Mech Methods. 2015;25(4):258-278. [PubMed]
Huber M, van de, Parmentier H, et al. Effects of organically and conventionally produced feed on biomarkers of health in a chicken model. Br J Nutr. 2010;103(5):663-676. [PubMed]
Alfvén T, Braun-Fahrländer C, Brunekreef B, et al. Allergic diseases and atopic sensitization in children related to farming and anthroposophic lifestyle–the PARSIFAL study. Allergy. 2006;61(4):414-421. [PubMed]
Stenius F, Swartz J, Lilja G, et al. Lifestyle factors and sensitization in children – the ALADDIN birth cohort. Allergy. 2011;66(10):1330-1338. [PubMed]
Magkos F, Arvaniti F, Zampelas A. Organic food: nutritious food or food for thought? A review of the evidence. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2003;54(5):357-371. [PubMed]
Mie A, Andersen H, Gunnarsson S, et al. Human health implications of organic food and organic agriculture: a comprehensive review. Environ Health. 2017;16(1):111. [PubMed]
Guillette E, Meza M, Aquilar M, Soto A, Garcia I. An anthropological approach to the evaluation of preschool children exposed to pesticides in Mexico. Environ Health Perspect. 1998;106(6):347-353. [PubMed]
I stumbled across some interesting scientific studies on using lemon and quince as a medicine to address allergies and asthma. These remedies are some of the older Anthroposophic formulations- formulated by Rudolf Steiner out of his spiritual scientific approach (similar to his approach to mistletoe). These two fruits can first be observed in their strong form that is directed inwards. The lemon has a thick leathery rind- technically the exocarp is the yellow zesty part with oil pits located in its exterior. Next is the white pithy mesocarp and then the familiar inside is composed of organized carpals- these have chambers called locules that are in fact filled with juice-filled hairs. The entire structure is botanically known as a hesperidium- this is actually a berry with a leathery rind. This highly organized structure is notable for hairs and membranes which are indicative of what in Anthroposophic medicine is termed the silica forces. Note that silica forces are not identical to silica content itself.
The quince is a pear and apple like fruit in the rose family. It has a notably hard exterior with an aromatic smell when ripe. Both quince and lemon are distinctly sour.
The healing process must come to the assistance of the astral body, helping it enter in and take proper hold of the etheric. This can be achieved with the juice of fruits containing a leathery protective skin or rind. Observation of these fruits (lemon and quince) shows how strongly they are subject to form-creating forces working inwards. By applying a remedy of such juices externally and internally we can stimulate the astral body and urge it in the direction of the etheric. The juices’ mineral constituents (potassium, calcium and silica) enhance this stimulation from the side of the ego organization. Thus a real cure for hay fever is effected.
Lemon quince formulations have long been used in Anthroposophic medicine as citrus cydonia and gencydo. These formulations can be nebulized into the lungs in a breathing treatment, they are sprayed in the nose, they are injected- often in the area of the kidney region as a subcutaneous injection, and they are taken orally. My typical use of these medicines are as a complementary treatment of asthma, allergic sinusitis (hayfever), and to help with sinusitis.
Baars and Savelkoul remark that patients receiving the subcutaneous injections will often note a permanent effect from citrus cydonia (lemon quince) injections. This is usually noted in the first 2 weeks.1 They studied the effects on immune cells of the formulation and found that the immune cell composition in patients treated with lemon quince was shifted in a way that decreased allergic susceptibility. Specifically T cells had more differentiation to IL-10 (which decreases allergy) and restores the balance of the immune system from Th2 to Th1 (allergic to non-allergic).
Baars et al. also studied the relative efficacy of the route of administration. The below graph depicts symptom scores in patients with hayfever. The blue shows the scores of those using the nasal spray while the red shows the scores of those receiving the subcutaneous injections. The subcutaneous injections of lemon quince were the most efficacious. Lemon quince therapy is a novel approach of shifting the immune balance away from an overly allergic immune system.2
This differs from the use of steroids and antihistamines which address the problem purely symptomatically. It also differs from sensitization protocols commonly used by allergists.
Baars et al. also studied the relative effect of both the lemon and the quince on countering the tendency toward hayfever.3
Citrus and Cydonia have different working mechanisms in the treatment of SAR (Hayfever) in vitro. Citrus mainly inhibits the chronic inflammatory activity and the SAR-related Th2 pathway activity whereas Cydonia mainly promotes the SAR-related Th1 pathway activity.
Basically, the lemon counters the allergic part of our immune system, while the quince promotes the other active arm of our immune system.
Grundmann et al. found that lemon quince preparations decreased the histamine output of mast cells and basophilic cells (histamine is typically a mediator of allergic symptoms). Eotaxin (a compound that attracts other allergy cells in the lungs and is strongly linked to asthma) was reduced by lemon quince preparations.4
In summary there is exciting evidence that both allergy and asthma can be treated with lemon and quince preparations. These have a tuning effect on the two arms of the immune system- down-regulating the allergic arm and up-regulating the active arm. The lemon quince preparations are a good example of how a humanized way of looking at the world and the human being leads to results that actually address underlying tendencies instead of simply covering up symptoms.
Baars E, Savelkoul H. Citrus/Cydonia Comp. Can Restore the Immunological Balance in Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis-Related Immunological Parameters In Vitro. Mediators Inflamm. 2008;2008:496467. [PMC]
Baars EW, Jong M, Nierop AFM, Boers I, Savelkoul HFJ. Citrus/Cydonia Compositum Subcutaneous Injections versus Nasal Spray for Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis: A Randomized Controlled Trial on Efficacy and Safety. I. 2011;2011:1-11. doi: 10.5402/2011/836051
Baars EW, Jong MC, Boers I, Nierop AFM, Savelkoul HFJ. A ComparativeIn VitroStudy of the Effects of Separate and Combined Products ofCitrus e fructibusandCydonia e fructibuson Immunological Parameters of Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis. M. 2012;2012:1-10. doi: 10.1155/2012/109829
Gründemann C, Papagiannopoulos M, Lamy E, Mersch-Sundermann V, Huber R. Immunomodulatory properties of a lemon-quince preparation (Gencydo®) as an indicator of anti-allergic potency. P. 2011;18(8-9):760-768. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2010.11.016
Cronometer is a free online tool (there is also an app for $2.99) that is essential in tracking your dietary intake. It is quite versatile and this is my guide to customizing it for a cancer fighting ketogenic diet.
First sign up.
Go into your profile and set your weight, height, birthday and activity level.
You may want a weight goal as maintain, gain or lose depending on your needs.
3. The box titled “Macronutrient Targets” should be adjusted as follows:
Check the “show full macronutrient targets” box.
Set the first box to “High Fat/Ketogenic”
Set the next box to “Rigorous”
Uncheck athletic bonus
Check “Net Carbs”
Check “Include sugar alcohols in Net Carbs”
You may now enter foods as you eat them in your food diary.
Mistletoe has been used for the treatment of cancer since 1917. This article will describe several different methods of using mistletoe. We will cover the most aggressive therapy down to supportive therapy and then mention special uses of mistletoe including bladder instillation for bladder cancer as well as other therapeutic approaches of interest. Scientific literature exists on most of these approaches and I will attempt to sketch the supporting studies. This does not serve as individual direction for patients, only as information for a better understanding of different approaches with mistletoe.
Heat Seeking Mistletoe Therapy
This approach is used in several European centers such as the Oeschelbronn clinic as well as the Martin Clinic. Very high dose, high lectin content mistletoe, usually from the ash tree, is first infused intravenously daily over several days. This loads the body with high levels of lectins but the intravenous dosing does not yet activate the dendritic cells. Dendritic cells are special immune cells that can activate and direct the cancer killing T cells of the immune system. A very high dose below the skin (subcutaneously) is then administered. This is where the dendritic cells live and they are activated especially strongly1. A fever of over 102ºF is often noted. Like a healthy fever this process is self regulated by the body. Patients need to have some reserve of vitality and be able to tolerate several days of fever, often with chills, body aches and feelings of malaise- usually over 2 weeks. But these fevers often hold an emotionally transformative power. Many of my patients have described lucid dreams. One patient had always had sleep disturbed by anxiety but had a lucid and peaceful experience of frankly speaking to her breast cancer, telling it that it has served its purpose and it may go now. This was accompanied by a regression of the tumor.
This Heat Seeking Mistletoe therapy as well as high dose intravenous therapy have been the methods most often associated with spontaneous remissions. Dr Maurice Orange reports on using this method and noting complete remissions from several cancers2. This case series included in a dissertation on mistletoe includes patients who used only mistletoe as treatment for their cancers (excluding chemotherapy and often surgery)3.
The Heat Seeking Mistletoe protocol will commonly give symptoms of short term, local inflammation where tumor is located. Patients treated in the Martin Clinic Healing House have reported such symptoms during the induction phase. A patient with cancerous tumors in her lungs from stage 4 breast cancer reported a non productive cough. Chest xray was negative for pneumonia or other concerning process. Several weeks later a chest CT scan showed her tumors had shrunk to less than half the size. Another patient had metastasis from colon cancer in her spine and liver. She had an achy pain in her right abdomen where her liver was, as well as similar pain in her spine and in her lower abdomen where her primary tumor was located. This occurred the day after her first treatment and corresponded with a robust remission that baffled her conventionally trained oncologist. These body pains are typically temporary and they represent an immune reaction to the tumor. Immune identification results in a robust attack against the tumor and changes the extracellular matrix (the body’s terrain) to resist further growth or metastasis.
One picture of cancer therapy is the untying of a series of knots. Usually one needs to gently loosen from many angles these knots. Similarly with cancer we should work from many sides- working on not only the tumor, but diet, removing toxins from the environment, decreasing (long term) inflammation, emotional and spiritual, artistic, biographically and socially. The Heat Seeking Mistletoe protocol is a strong initial approach in this process usually reserved for turning the tide when strong measures are needed. Acute inflammation is used to resolve chronic inflammation in the same way that often a febrile state may resolve some chronic conditions.
High Dose Intravenous Mistletoe Therapy
The High Dose Mistletoe protocols are another strong way of working with cancer. High doses of mistletoe are infused intravenously. Two commonly used brands of mistletoe are Helixor and Abnoba. Fermented mistletoe preparations are generally always avoided in intravenous use due to the higher risk of allergic reaction, which is quite low with Helixor and Abnoba. Intravenous protocols with Helixor usually start with 50 to 100mg and will use either A,M, or P (Fir, Apple, or Pine). Daily or every other day injections are performed for 2 weeks- injections are held if there is fever. A similar regimen is used with Abnoba products but at doses of 20 to 60mg as abnoba has much more fever producing lectins than Helixor. As the subcutaneous injections are not immediately performed and the dendritic cells are not stimulated, there typically are not high fevers or flu like symptoms though these occur occasionally. The infusion dose is doubled each infusion until 800mg Helixor dose is reached or until any of the fever effects are reached. After this induction infusions are continued regularly- from weekly to once a month. Other methods are to transition to a high dose subcutaneous administration.
All infusions are targeted to last a minimum of 3 hours. Shorter infusion times can give a patient an itchy rash that is medically classified as a pseudo-allergic reaction. This reaction is not anaphylaxis as it does not lead to problems with breathing or to low blood pressure. It is self-limiting and improves with medicines like benadryl. I have only seen this reaction twice so far in short infusions and it has always been possible to continue mistletoe without a repeat reaction. Review of data from 69 human studies and dozes of animal trials have shown High Dose Mistletoe is generally safe in the prescribed doses.4 Most patients getting high dose mistletoe had less incidence of infections during the duration of treatment. Out of millions of doses of mistletoe that has been administered only a small handful of documented severe life-threatening allergy (anaphylaxis) has been reported5. No deaths have occurred. It is essential that intravenous administration is performed with at least a rudimentary kit to handle possible anaphylaxis. I have yet to see a case of anaphylaxis caused by mistletoe.
High Dose Mistletoe is often safely used side by side with chemotherapy treatments. Patients report higher quality of life with fewer side effects during treatment. In one trial the arm of patients not using mistletoe had a 60% rate of cancer related fatigue. In the arm using mistletoe this rate was only 8.8%. Both arms were receiving chemotherapy6. Another study showed Global Health status (a measure of overall quality of life) was increased during chemotherapy compared to controls. Diarrhea was 7% versus the non-mistletoe group at 50%. White blood cell count was increased significantly compared to controls7. Another qualitative study on the effects on quality of life in cancer showed that mistletoe helped bring about real improvements in patient’s individual biography. “Concrete personal achievements such as changes in the private and/or in the professional environment were spontaneously mentioned by the patients.”8 Another study on intravenous use of mistletoe for cancer concluded similar results. “The doctors reported long-term disease stability and improvements in patients’ general condition, vitality, strength, thermal comfort, appetite, sleep, pain from bone metastases, dyspnea in pulmonary lymphangitis carcinomatosa, fatigue, and cachexia; chemotherapy was better tolerated. Also patients’ emotional and mental condition was reported to have improved.”9
High Dose Subcutaneous Mistletoe Therapy
Mistletoe can be given in high doses with injections very similar to how insulin is administered. On the extreme side, with the Heat Seeking Treatment this is done at elevated doses after intravenous loading and can result in an area of redness 8 to 10 inches across or more. These robust immune reactions are often quite sore and very hot and inflamed. They can bruise and take time to go down; patients have associated high fevers that many experts have deemed essential for fighting cancer10. This extreme approach is used during induction therapy to stimulate the dendritic cells and natural killer cells as strongly as possible. Inflammation and slight swelling of existing tumors will often occur- the immune system will cause acute local inflammation. This response is a heartening sign of future response. The regular monitoring by a provider trained in this approach is essential- in Europe this is done in a hospital setting. Typically only people who have not been on mistletoe before will respond strongly to this treatment. Though not every patient is able to manage this approach it is the most likely to result in strong anticancer results in my experience.
A more moderate High Dose Subcutaneous approach is used to transition from High Dose Intravenous Mistletoe to home use. I use this approach especially in patients who come from a distance to do their induction therapy intravenously. Usually Abnoba or Helixor is used, though here the fermented mistletoe product Iscador is also an option. The goal reaction is an area about the size of a quarter to half dollar. Typically the doses initially used are lower (1-10mg of Helixor, and around 0.2mg Abnoba) but are gradually increased over the weeks to keep the immune response adequate but not overstimulated. Guidelines of every other day injection are the norm with the iron fast rule to hold off on injections if there is fever (over 100.4F) or if the area is still inflamed. The cost of a month of Helixor is approximately $50-100 per month initially and this increases as the dose increases. Abnoba can be dosed for $10-20 per month initially if doses are split per my instructions.
Side effects with this approach are usually easily tolerated- slight sweats, mild fevers usually low grade, and the areas of injection are itchy or mildly tender. Patients report similar quality of life increases with this approach as well as systemic reviews finding evidence of increased survival11. Most integrative oncology experts point to the need for addressing multiple areas of the patient’s domain of existence simultaneously in order to achieve control of cancer. These include addressing the glucose driven growth of cancer by adopting a ketogenic diet, eliminating toxins (including toxic social issues), and using specific super foods to address root causes of cancer12. I have seen dramatic results with this approach which uses mistletoe as a cornerstone of therapy.
In a remarkable case, a patient with metastatic melanoma with metastasis in the liver declined any treatment except mistletoe. He went into complete remission13.
This video is Dr. Luis Diaz, Professor of Oncology & Senior Researcher at Johns Hopkins Hospital, who is speaking about what prompted him to pursue a clinical trial using mistletoe therapy.
This video is a news report on two patients with cancer remissions thanks to mistletoe. Note that physicians are allowed to prescribe mistletoe in the United States. One issue is liability and malpractice coverage. Personally I feel the best malpractice coverage is a close relationship with the patient and the courage to always do what is right.
Low Dose Subcutaneous Mistletoe Therapy
Initially there is little difference between high and low dose subcutaneous mistletoe therapy. Low dose therapy uses a box of mistletoe called a series that often cycles from a lower dose to a somewhat higher dose and back again. The focus is mainly to stay on the series instead of following the immune response. In High Dose Subcutaneous Mistletoe Therapy the doses of Helixor can eventually reach over 200mg per injection. Low Dose Subcutaneous Mistletoe Therapy is given with either a palliative goal, as a traditional approach with mistletoe, mainly to counter chemotherapy side effects, or for indications other than cancer such as endometriosis, rheumatoid arthritis and other issues.
The case for direct injection of tumors with mistletoe is compelling. Injection of mistletoe into the tumor and surrounding areas delivers viscotoxins which prompt apoptosis (cell death) of the cancer. Simultaneously an immune response is called forth by the lectins which coordinates display of cancer antigens to the immune system which maybe important for recognition and immune clearance- and thus remission. One case report describes an older man with stage 3c colon cancer initially treated with surgery. When a colonoscopy showed a cancerous polyp the patient refused surgery but allowed his German physicians to inject this with mistletoe. After the second injection the patient’s cancer was put into complete remission14. A pilot trial involving injecting pancreatic cancer with mistletoe though endoscopy has shown promising survival results15. Two cases of cutaneous B cell lymphoma went into durable remission after intratumoral injection16. One of the patient’s described their treatment experience:
During one of the high fevers an old traumatic experience became disentangled and I have felt freed up since; I now feel better than before my cancer, physically and emotionally.
This type of healing is common after treatment with mistletoe.
Mistletoe was injected around the base of a man’s cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. This was the only treatment and the cancer disappeared17.
Intratumoral injections, without a doubt, cause many side effects. These include local swelling of the tumor and surrounding area, redness and fever. These reactions are thought to hold a critical role in opposing cancer18. Activation of the lymph nodes associated with the tumor can occur and this expected and beneficial reaction can cause concern to both patients and oncologists for fear of spreading of the cancer. Typically this response represents just the opposite- it is the immune system recognizing and fighting the cancer. When I feel that there is a safe route to inject a tumor with mistletoe and a willing and consenting patient, we will tread this path together.
Bladder Instillation of Mistletoe
One promising development in the treatment of bladder cancer is the instillation through a catheter of a mistletoe solution into the bladder. This trial showed that mistletoe for bladder cancer was at least equivalent to the use of BCG, without the side effects of BCG19 A mouse study showed that mice with bladder cancer treated solely with high dose mistletoe instillation in their bladders had an 82% cure rate vs the controls with only 18% cure. A phase 3 human trial is ongoing.
Other Applications of Mistletoe
In advanced cancer fluid can accumulate in the lung or the abdominal cavity. In one comparison study, mistletoe was injected into the lung cavity and was twice as effective as the conventional agent at keeping the fluid from returning to the lungs (60% vs 30%)20. There have been successful cases of using mistletoe to decrease fluid build up in the abdominal cavity (malignant ascites)21 with impact on disease progression and quality of life of the patient.
Especially for children another less invasive way of administering mistletoe is through a nebulizer machine (commonly used for home breathing treatments for asthma). This can also be a way to treat cancer in the lungs.
Older traditional use of mistletoe products, especially in brain cancer involved taking them by mouth. There has been little evidence this is helpful. The stomach acid destroys the active components of mistletoe. One specialist I know of in Eastern Europe bravely treats brain cancer with injections subcutaneously in the back of the neck (this is the lymphatic drainage from the brain).
Mistletoe has a vast role in cancer. Whether it is used as an additional agent for reducing chemotherapy side effects, or as the cornerstone of a transformative cancer treatment when no other hope has been given, it stands as the safest, most evidence based natural treatment for cancer in existence. It is time for this popular European medicine to become adopted around the world.
Saha C, Das M, Stephen-Victor E, Friboulet A, Bayry J, Kaveri S. Differential Effects of Viscum album Preparations on the Maturation and Activation of Human Dendritic Cells and CD4+ T Cell Responses. Molecules. 2016;21(7):912. doi: 10.3390/molecules21070912
Orange M, Lace A, Fonseca MP, Von Laue BH, Geider S, Kienle GS. Durable Regression of Primary Cutaneous B-Cell Lymphoma following Fever-inducing Mistletoe Treatment: Two Case Reports. Global Advances in Health and Medicine. 2012;1(1):18-25. doi: 10.7453/gahmj.2012.1.1.006
Kienle GS, Grugel R, Kiene H. Safety of higher dosages of Viscum album L. in animals and humans – systematic review of immune changes and safety parameters. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2011;11(1). doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-11-72
Hutt N, Kopferschmitt-Kubler M, Cabalion J, Purohit A, Alt M, Pauli G. Anaphylactic reactions after therapeutic injection of mistletoe (Viscum album L.). Allergol Immunopathol (Madr). 2001;29(5):201-203. [PubMed]
Bock P, Hanisch J, Matthes H, Zänker K. Targeting Inflammation in Cancer-Related-Fatigue: A Rationale for Mistletoe Therapy as Supportive Care in Colorectal Cancer Patients. Inflamm Allergy Drug Targets. 2014;13(2):105-111. [PMC]
Kim K, Yook J, Eisenbraun J, Kim B, Huber R. Quality of life, immunomodulation and safety of adjuvant mistletoe treatment in patients with gastric carcinoma – a randomized, controlled pilot study. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2012;12:172. [PubMed]
Brandenberger M, Simões-Wüst A, Rostock M, Rist L, Saller R. An exploratory study on the quality of life and individual coping of cancer patients during mistletoe therapy. Integr Cancer Ther. 2012;11(2):90-100. [PubMed]
Kienle G, Mussler M, Fuchs D, Kiene H. Intravenous Mistletoe Treatment in Integrative Cancer Care: A Qualitative Study Exploring the Procedures, Concepts, and Observations of Expert Doctors. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016;2016:4628287. [PubMed]
Orange M, Reuter U, Hobohm U. Coley’s Lessons Remembered: Augmenting Mistletoe Therapy. Integr Cancer Ther. 2016;15(4):502-511. [PubMed]
Kienle G, Kiene H. Complementary cancer therapy: a systematic review of prospective clinical trials on anthroposophic mistletoe extracts. Eur J Med Res. 2007;12(3):103-119. [PubMed]
Winters N, Higgins Kelly J. The Metabolic Approach to Cancer: Integrating Deep Nutrition, the Ketogenic Diet, and Nontoxic Bio-Individualized Therapies. Chelsea Green Publishing ; 2017.
Kirsch A. Successful treatment of metastatic malignant melanoma with Viscum album extract (Iscador M). J Altern Complement Med. 2007;13(4):443-445. [PubMed]
von S-A, Goyert A, Vagedes J, Kiene H, Merckens H, Kienle G. Disappearance of an advanced adenomatous colon polyp after intratumoural injection with Viscum album (European mistletoe) extract: a case report. J Gastrointestin Liver Dis. 2014;23(4):449-452. [PubMed]
Schad F, Atxner J, Buchwald D, et al. Intratumoral Mistletoe (Viscum album L) Therapy in Patients With Unresectable Pancreas Carcinoma: A Retrospective Analysis. Integr Cancer Ther. 2014;13(4):332-340. [PubMed]
Orange M, Lace A, Fonseca M, von L, Geider S, Kienle G. Durable Regression of Primary Cutaneous B-Cell Lymphoma Following Fever-inducing Mistletoe Treatment: Two Case Reports. Glob Adv Health Med. 2012;1(1):18-25. [PubMed]
Werthmann P, Sträter G, Friesland H, Kienle G. Durable response of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma following high-dose peri-lesional injections of Viscum album extracts–a case report. Phytomedicine. 2013;20(3-4):324-327. [PubMed]
Steele M, Axtner J, Happe A, Kröz M, Matthes H, Schad F. Use and safety of intratumoral application of European mistletoe (Viscum album L) preparations in Oncology. Integr Cancer Ther. 2015;14(2):140-148. [PubMed]
Elsässer-Beile U, Leiber C, Wetterauer U, et al. Adjuvant intravesical treatment with a standardized mistletoe extract to prevent recurrence of superficial urinary bladder cancer. Anticancer Res. 2005;25(6C):4733-4736. [PubMed]
Gaafar R, Abdel R, Aboulkasem F, El B. Mistletoe preparation (Viscum Fraxini-2) as palliative treatment for malignant pleural effusion: a feasibility study with comparison to bleomycin. Ecancermedicalscience. 2014;8:424. [PubMed]
Stange R, Jänsch A, Schrag S, et al. [Favourable course of persisting malignant ascites]. Forsch Komplementmed. 2009;16(1):49-53. [PubMed]
“Give me a fever, and I can cure any illness.” — Hippocrates
Relating fever to cancer with an Anthroposophic understanding is a long journey though our recent and modern scientific literature provides fascinating supporting insights. Warmth is the expression of our human I (our spirit) activity. Having cold feet or hands is a sign of difficulty to properly take hold of the physical body, put simply- to incarnate.
Fever as “I am” process
Infection is a process well known to be associated with fever. In these cases the I organism attempts to take hold of the physical body and transform it. The body temperature rise comes out of the metabolic pole- muscle movement warms the body and muscles perform their best at a higher body temperature. Athletes warm up to get the best results from their bodies. The process of digestion is another clear example of an inflammation process. Food is a foreign substance that is taken inside of us. After a meal our body temperature rises and if there is an unhealthy, exaggerated response inflammatory markers such as sedimentation rate, CRP, and white blood cell count will increase. Lymph node swelling after eating has been noted as well. In normal digestion the gut becomes flushed with blood and lymph flow increases. The intake of a meal can be seen as a splinter, a foreign body that the human organism must overcome with a small but noticeable inflammatory reaction. The foreign body is overcome and transformed completely otherwise it causes disease.
Fever and Growth
Warmth has a suppressing effect on growth. This effect becomes clear when examining the male reproductive organs. The testes are kept further from the body in a state of relative coolness. In nearly all mammals the scrotum is found outside of the abdomen and where it is not there is usually a cooler core body temperature or specialized blood circulation to keep the intra-abdominal testes cool at around 2-4 degrees cooler than core body temperature1. Heating the testes with an ultrasound machine is even being investigated as a method for temporary male sterilization.2Researchers are concerned about a possible link between disposable diapers for children and subsequent infertility and some researchers have found that baby boys in disposable diapers have warmer scrotal temperatures than those in cloth diapers, though there are other studies with conflicting findings3.
Examined from the perspective of animal development we can see that cold blooded animals are often able to continue growing through their entire life cycle. Catfish can grow to staggering sizes as they continue growing every year they live. We would be shocked or amused to see a finch follow that path of growth. As the outstanding Goethean scientist and Anthroposophic physician Armin Husemann has noted, when warmth makes its way into the animal organism, perpetual growth is controlled.
Humanized Medicine’s Perspective on Fever
David Martin MD offers a brilliant overview of fever from an Anthroposophic perspective. He highlights the following thirteen themes of fever in the human being and provides compelling supporting evidence from the scientific literature.4
The leading motif in anthroposophic medicine is that warmth and, in disease, fever are direct manifestations of the “self” working on the body, making the body more an instrument and expression of the “ego,” the “I” (in German “das Ich”) [19–22, 25–27].
Fever may allow faster and/or more complete resolution of infections [8, 19–23, 26–29].
Fever may prevent recurrent infection [19–22, 26].
Fever may assist immune maturation in children [19–22, 25–27].
Fever may protect against developing allergic diseases [7, 19–22, 26].
Fever may help resolve allergic disease [7, 19–22, 26].
Fever offers a unique opportunity for caregivers to provide loving care [19–22, 26].
Fever may facilitate individual development and creativity [19, 20, 22, 23, 28].
Febrile illness may help a developing child take ownership of their body towards a better expression of their unique individuality and to overcome inherited (e.g., epigenetic) traits [19–23, 26, 28].
Febrile illnesses may be protective against cancer [19–22, 24, 25, 30].
Some febrile illnesses may contribute to curing cancer [19, 20, 25].
Febrile reactions to injecting mistletoe products in cancer treatment may improve treatment outcome [19–22, 24, 30].
Antipyretics such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen should be used sparingly: only if other means of relieving discomfort fail or if fever needs to be suppressed for other medical reasons [8, 19–22, 25–27].
Martin, D. D. (2016). Fever: Views in Anthroposophic Medicine and Their Scientific Validity. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM, 2016, 3642659. http://doi.org/10.1155/2016/3642659
The bolded statements have particular relevance. Fever shows its growth halting properties in the course of infections and there is accumulating evidence that fever often offers humans a protective advantage against infection. Its role in animals is much more clearly beneficial.
Using Fever Against Cancer
Through understanding warmth’s effect on unrestrained growth we can now start to think about its use as a therapy in cancer. Though little scientific attention is focused on the possible beneficial effects of febrile illnesses in relation to cancer some compelling studies exist. A large prospective cohort study found that measles and influenza had a significant protective effect against cancers though whooping cough was found to increase cancer risk later in life5. Another study found a consistent protective effect against cancer in people who had a greater number of febrile childhood infectious diseases including whooping cough6.
Dr. Coley, Father of Immunotherapy
Some febrile illnesses may result in spontaneously curing cancer. Many recorded cases of spontaneous remission include an intense febrile illness prior to the patient’s recovery7. The history of one of the most gifted thinkers in early cancer research is illuminating. Dr William B. Coley had the difficult job of bone surgeon in New York in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s. This was prior to chemotherapy and radiation. Surgery alone almost always meant a grim prognosis for the sarcomas he was treating. After one particularly heartbreaking case Dr. Coley decided to try to find a different approach. He gathered all the case reports on spontaneous remissions from cancer and studied them in detail. Coley tracked one patient that had a severe skin infection and shortly afterwards had a complete remission from his terminal sarcoma. Coley found in total 47 case reports supporting the role of fever and tumor remission. He began injecting mixtures of heat killed bacteria into his sarcoma patients and reported some spectacular results. He reported routinely curing sarcomas, carcinomas and melanomas sometimes already metastatic. Eventually Coley’s toxins disappeared from medical treatment. There were some concerns due to different ways of injecting them as well as multiple different versions of the toxins. Coley’s colleagues who were developing radiation therapy and moving cancer treatment in other directions questioned his results and long term follow up of his patients8. They may have been motivated to focus science on their own fields of research.
From Coley’s Toxins to Mistletoe Therapy
Coley’s toxins and mistletoe similarly treat cancer with an increase in body temperature. Mistletoe is a parasitic plant that has been used in Anthroposophic medicine for 100 years (since 1917). In Germany alone over 10,000 doses are given per day for cancer treatment. Mistletoe likely acquired components similar to those found in Coley’s toxins by horizontal gene transfer from bacteria in the distant past.9 Mistletoe contains many compounds but the most important seem to be the lectins and viscotoxins. These have immunostimulating properties as well as direct tumor killing properties. There are several different producers of mistletoe products. They can all provoke fever during treatment. Iscador and Viscum Abnoba reliably are able to do so under certain treatment regimens. Improved quality of life and patient survival is frequently reported10. One study injected mistletoe directly into advanced pancreatic cancers. Most of the patients sustained a fever and their tumor growth was restrained and life expectancy seemed greatly increased11 (this was a retrospective trial focusing on safety and feasibility). A later trial confirmed the survival benefit of mistletoe in advanced pancreatic cancer12.
Reports of complete remission of cancer with mistletoe can also be found. Two patients with cutaneous B cell lymphoma were treated with mistletoe alone (they declined any other treatment) and had sustained complete remissions.13 In the United States the FDA has not approved mistletoe for general use. It is within regulations to import mistletoe for personal use under the care of an experienced physician14. Johns Hopkins is currently performing a study on intravenous mistletoe for treatment of cancer greatly assisted by Believe Big a nonprofit cancer foundation.
This post is meant as a thought provoking path connecting the creation of a fever process for the purpose of battling cancer. Mistletoe is the modern path forward on this path and we will explore mistletoe in depth in future posts.
Ivell R. Lifestyle impact and the biology of the human scrotum. Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2007;5(1):15. doi: 10.1186/1477-7827-5-15
Tsuruta JK, Dayton PA, Gallippi CM, et al. Therapeutic ultrasound as a potential male contraceptive: power, frequency and temperature required to deplete rat testes of meiotic cells and epididymides of sperm determined using a commercially available system. Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2012;10(1):7. doi: 10.1186/1477-7827-10-7
Partsch C-J. Scrotal temperature is increased in disposable plastic lined nappies. Archives of Disease in Childhood. 2000;83(4):364-368. doi: 10.1136/adc.83.4.364
Martin DD. Fever: Views in Anthroposophic Medicine and Their Scientific Validity. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2016;2016:1-13. doi: 10.1155/2016/3642659
Tennant P, Parker L, Thomas J, Craft A, Pearce M. OP12 Childhood Infectious Disease and Risk of Premature Death from Cancer: A Prospective Cohort Study. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2012;66(Suppl 1):A5.2-A5. doi: 10.1136/jech-2012-201753.012
Albonico H, Bräker H, Hüsler J. Febrile infectious childhood diseases in the history of cancer patients and matched controls. Med Hypotheses. 1998;51(4):315-320. [PubMed]
Kucerova P, Cervinkova M. Spontaneous regression of tumour and the role of microbial infection – possibilities for cancer treatment. Anti-Cancer Drugs. 2016;27(4):269-277. doi: 10.1097/cad.0000000000000337
McCarthy E. The Toxins of William B. Coley and the Treatment of Bone and Soft-Tissue Sarcomas. Iowa Orthop J. 2006;26:154-158. [PMC]
Orange M, Reuter U, Hobohm U. Coleys Lessons Remembered: Augmenting Mistletoe Therapy. Integrative Cancer Therapies. 2016;15(4):502-511. doi: 10.1177/1534735416649916
Kienle GS, Mussler M, Fuchs D, Kiene H. Intravenous Mistletoe Treatment in Integrative Cancer Care: A Qualitative Study Exploring the Procedures, Concepts, and Observations of Expert Doctors. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2016;2016:1-16. doi: 10.1155/2016/4628287
Schad F, Atxner J, Buchwald D, et al. Intratumoral Mistletoe (Viscum album L) Therapy in Patients With Unresectable Pancreas Carcinoma: A Retrospective Analysis. Integrative Cancer Therapies. 2013;13(4):332-340. doi: 10.1177/1534735413513637
Tröger W, Galun D, Reif M, Schumann A, Stanković N, Milićević M. Viscum album [L.] extract therapy in patients with locally advanced or metastatic pancreatic cancer: A randomised clinical trial on overall survival. European Journal of Cancer. 2013;49(18):3788-3797. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2013.06.043
Orange M, Lace A, Fonseca MP, Von Laue BH, Geider S, Kienle GS. Durable Regression of Primary Cutaneous B-Cell Lymphoma following Fever-inducing Mistletoe Treatment: Two Case Reports. Glob Adv Health Med. 2012;1(1):18-25. doi: 10.7453/gahmj.2012.1.1.006
One exciting project to further cancer treatment led by a Belgian Nonprofit is Repurposing Drugs in Oncology (ReDO). Old generic pharmaceuticals are put to new off label uses. The mebendazole you can take for that infestation of pinworms will also disrupt microtubule formation (this disrupts cancer cell division) and stabilizes the p53 oncogene (halting cancer cell growth). The metformin so useful for diabetes decreases insulin levels in the blood which has now been shown to slow down cancer and maximize survival. Sometimes these drugs are discovered from combing old data and seeing either a protective effect (this happened in metformin), other times researchers have stumbled onto treatments by paying attention to details. Researchers were studying glioblastoma (a type of brain cancer) in a group of lab mice. Usually these tumors grew easily but one group of mice simply would not grow the tumors. The difference was those mice had a pinworm infestation and were being treated for it with a close relative of mebendazole (later tests found mebendazole is the better drug for its anti-cancer effects).
If MacGyver got Cancer…
Ideally there are no common major side effects from these drugs. Rare effects such as temporary bone marrow suppression with cimetidine can occur but are exceedingly rare. Metformin can cause some gastrointestinal upset but it is often temporary. This makes it much easier to decide to try one or more of the “MacGyver Cocktail” drugs as I call them. We can creatively repurpose commonly available medications to fight cancer. Risk of adverse effects should be low while the benefit of increased response may be promising. Below are three of the most promising agents in general with a look toward their action and trials.
The ReDO project is purposefully not investigating metformin as it is already in the pipeline toward mainstream therapy.
there are now more than fifty trials investigating the use of metformin in cancer treatment, as well as prevention. It is clear then, that the repurposing of metformin as an anti-cancer agent has moved into the mainstream, and has no need of further effort to make the case for it.
Studies and Mode of Action
Observational studies of patient populations taking metformin note that it may decrease cancer occurrence by 10-50% (most recent data suggests the lower of these figures when compared to normal populations. The larger differences may occur in comparison between metformin users and users of insulin or insulin secretagogues which are thought to promote cancer). A recent review of metformin use during colon cancer treatment found a 32% greater overall survival in patients taking metformin along with standard therapy. Metformin inhibits cancer cell division, metabolism, and blood vessel formation. Specifically metformin works on mTOR and AMPK pathways. Metformin also directly reduces insulin levels in blood and it is known that insulin is a growth factor promoting cell growth. Most studies show positive trends with metformin in colon cancer, breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, glioma and prostate cancer.
Interestingly in Peutz-Jeghers syndrome a gene is mutated that normally stimulates AMPK resulting in poor AMPK function. In this syndrome there is an increase in both colon and breast cancer.
Metformin is commonly given to patients who do not have diabetes. One common indication is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Thus there is precedent for its safety in nondiabetic populations and it is not theoretically known to cause low blood sugar. Dosage is commonly 500mg to 1000mg orally twice a day. Cost is a few dollars for a month’s supply. There are few absolute contraindications but many conditions which would prompt caution in its use (no alcohol, stop before surgery, stop if getting intravenous contrast). See the full drug monograph here. There is a known interaction with cimetidine where cimetidine increases the levels of metformin (metformin overdose can be toxic). Always consult a physician before use.
Though mebendazole has been discontinued in the United States it can still be obtained at compounding pharmacies and retains FDA approval. Most people are treated for worm infestation with a single or short dose therapy though there are cases of infections requiring years of treatment and this is generally well tolerated. Prominent side effects are gastrointestinal upset and rash. There is an interaction with cimetidine which increases mebendazole levels so caution is advised there.
Mode of Action and Studies
Mebendazole interferes with microtubule formation and no cell can divide without microtubules (see animation). There is also an effect on the p53 tumor suppressor gene. This is a pivotal cancer “control” for all cells, considered “the guardian of the genome” by researchers. Mebendazole may also prevent new blood vessel formation (this is known as angiogenesis). This is important as growing tumors must tell surrounding tissues to form new blood vessels.
Mebendazole’s drug information can be found here. The most common regimens are dosed at 100mg by mouth twice a day though one of the clinical trials is dosing 500mg three times a day. Side effects include gastrointestinal upset and much more rarely rash, bone marrow suppression, and liver toxicity. Use mebendazole in conjunction with a physician as monitoring certain laboratory values would be prudent. Also cimetidine and other drugs can increase levels of mebendazole.
Cimetidine is a stomach acid reducer now available over the counter in the United States. Cimetidine has shown promise as a cheap drug with few side effects that has had multiple promising effects in trials. Importantly cimetidine acts on multiple enzymatic pathways in the liver- this means that it has a high chance to interact with other drugs (including chemotherapy). I suggest anyone using cemetidine be followed by their physician.
Mode of Action and Studies
Cimetidine acts on four pathways to block cancer. These are cell dividing effects, immune system effects, angiogenesis blocking, and changing how cells stick together. Histamine is usually associated with allergic reactions but researchers also noted cancer cells had a certain type of histamine receptor that triggered their growth. Cimetidine blocks this receptor. Tumors are often high histamine environments and this will block the cancer killing cells. Giving cimetidine enhances the immune function by blocking this effect on the immune system. Cimetidine has been found to reduce the “stickiness” of cancer cells. This decreases metastasis as the traveling tumor cells cannot find ground to latch onto and grow. Cimetidine also has important angiogenesis blocking effects (blocks the formation of new blood vessels in and around the tumor).
Cimetidine has been studied in melanoma, ovarian cancer, colorectal cancer, gastric tumors, pancreatic cancer, lung cancer, and gliomas. Human studies with cimetidine are also plentiful. One pilot study gave cimetidine peri-operatively and beyond with promising results. The calculated 3-year survival was 93% for CIM-treated patients and 59% for controls. Other blinded trials seemed to produce positive trends but less significant results. Another trial (randomized but unblinded) showed that patients with colorectal cancer treated with cimetidine had a significant 10-year survival rate of 84.6% versus the control group’s 49.8%.
Another study focused on the protective effects of cimetidine through surgery. It protected and enhanced immune function greatly in comparison to controls. Surgery and trauma itself is known to lower cellular immunity. From an Anthroposophic view the immune system is the expression of our “I” and this is linked to our physical form and posture. Surgery intrudes on this form so the disruption in immune function is not a surprising result. We also know posture affects the immune system- this study on yoga and the effect on immune cells shows an initial confirmation of this immune system-posture/form link.
A cochrane review (a usually reliable group that performs studies on groups of studies) concluded that in resected colon cancer tumors there was significant survival benefit when cimetidine was added.
In melanoma a case series showed remarkable improvement after the addition of cimetidine. Later trials could not replicate these results. Studies in Gastric cancer have had positive results with a subsequent study not replicating these significant benefits but showing positive trends.
Studies on renal cell carcinoma consistently find greater amounts of complete response, partial response and stable disease in patients treated with cimetidine than controls. Usually cimetidine is combined with interferon treatment and multiple trials have been performed.
Additionally cimetidine may be useful in increasing the levels of other anti-cancer drugs, including other MacGyver cocktail drugs and chemotherapy medications. This should always be done carefully in conjunction with the treating physician.
Cimetidine’s drug information with side effect profile can be found here. Dosage is typically 400mg by mouth twice a day. Cost is a few dollars per month. Importantly this drug has interactions with other drugs so it is important to be followed by a physician.
The investigation into useful MacGyver drugs for cancer is just beginning but holds much promise. Some of the trials use the drug alone but most employ these medications in addition to conventional treatment. As in any therapy risk versus benefit needs to be weighed as best as possible and the fact that these drugs are old means they are also better known. They are also inexpensive and usually easily obtained. Some barriers to obtaining these medications are that they are not proven in broad therapeutic situations. Most oncologists want to deal only in terms of what is well studied for a specific situation. Potential harm does need to be avoided. However I think there is good argument that in many situations trying what might work by reaching out of the box is well justified.
Three brief case reports demonstrate the typical beneficial effects of mistletoe in cancer treatment.
The first case is a patient with a rare advanced appendiceal cancer who had suffered from extreme fatigue, abdominal pain and severe nausea and vomiting. Shortly after starting Helixor injections her symptoms have improved. She reports her pain is gone for now, she is eating and has gained several pounds, and she is less fatigued. She is making trips outside the house again.
The second case is a patient with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. Shortly after starting mistletoe therapy the patient’s palpable lymph nodes have disappeared.
The third case is a patient with stage 4 colon cancer. After the first week of intravenous mistletoe therapy her appetite is back, her energy is “better than it has been for years”, and she has noticeably more functional status. She is able to easily ambulate from her car up the stairs into the clinic where as before she had a very difficult time.
The Case Report
In this age of randomized controlled trials we often forget the power of the case report. Personally, in our individual case, we don’t care that statistically it is very improbable for the events of our life to occur. What matters is that they do actually occur in our life, whether this event is meeting our future life partner at an otherwise mundane errand, or a cancer cure. Case reports demonstrate the working of the guiding spiritual forces in our life (in Anthroposophy we call this karma).
A recently published study is giving yet more support to arnica. This study can be found in its entirety here.Arnica montana is used in Anthroposophic medicine for many issues- the most common use is for wound healing including as a boost for post surgical healing. The feedback I receive from patients after using arnica has been very positive. Combudoron is a combination of arnica and stinging nettle that has proved itself as a wonderful burn remedy. It often surprises me how well burns heal and do not scar after use of Combudoron. It has proved itself innumerable times in sunburn.
From an Anthroposophic perspective arnica supports the I and the astral body. Steiner described it as calling the higher self to support the astral body. Arnica montana grows in a habitat of high elevation, well drained poor soil and is a perennial. Arnica relates to the silica forces and this is demonstrated by the fact it is very hairy. Hair is a sign of the silica processes which encompass cosmic forces- this is shown especially strong in the lanugo hair of the fetus and newborn. Arnica contains strong essential oils and further shows its relationship to warmth by resisting the cold harsh conditions it thrives in. High elevation further emphasizes the link to the astral in this healing plant. We are blessed with a living combination of support for these higher members of the human being balanced in one plant.
In the study multiple potencies of arnica were tested on cell cultures. The researchers were able to show consistent up regulation and down regulation of certain genes in these cells that was significantly higher than controls. The 7 up regulated genes included low-density lipoprotein-receptor-related protein1 (LRP1), fibronectin1 (FN1), lysine(K)-specific methyltransferase (KMT2D), complement component receptor1 (CR1), heparan
sulfate proteoglycan (perlecan,HSPG2),microtubule-actin crosslinking factor1(MACF1), and fibrillin2 (FBN2). Most of these genes have a direct action in the healing of wounds. For instance fibronectin forms an essential part of the extracellular matrix and is noted to be important especially in tendon healing.
The researchers also performed something called a “scratch test”. A plate of cells was scratched with a needle and the time it took for new cells to migrate in and repopulate the scratched area was compared. Arnica treated cells were found to have a faster recovery from the scratch test.
Of note the findings were noted with potentized (homeopathic) arnica as well as less dilute arnica and all forms had a significant effect on both the genes and the scratch test.
Below is a philosophical exchange I had with a materialistic thinker on a site called Quora where people can ask and answer various questions. I have anonymized the exchange to lift it out of the personal at the suggestion of a reader.
What problems have arisen in medicine in the past 5 years?
Written Nov 17 ·
The biggest problem in medicine is the incursion of “alternative” medicine into the marketplace, government regulations, and medical schools. There are now hospitals so cruel as to offer acupuncture to cancer patients. Naturopaths and homeopaths are getting, or close to getting, licensure in many states. Some medical and nursing schools are including crap courses such as Reiki. It’s not that this is all that’s new in the last 5 years, but with the rise of the NCCIH
sucking tax money away from real science it’s getting worse.
And, of course, we’ve seen worsening vaccine compliance in many areas during the last 5 years. There are signs that this deadly tide of stupidity may be turning, but too many children are being killed or injured by it.
Medicine’s big challenge is one of communication and education. The conspiracy theorists have too many people fearing “big pharma” and thinking that their doctor is making them sick on purpose. It’s a despicable thing to believe.
The real trend is the dehumanizing of medicine. Evidence based medicine is problematic in that though it is a useful tool, epistemologically it is just a framework for viewing. The Euclidian framework had to be surpassed to understand many modern issues in physics. Materialism can’t truly heal as it can’t understand life. It can become highly technical but how to apply this in a human and healing way? This is our modern issue in medicine.
I agree that dualism is unnecessary. You seem to place a lot of faith in the power of thought, friend. To say “It doesn’t work that way” implies some certainty. If thinking is some excretion of matter and follows the matter’s rules, not it’s own, then I would trust thinking as much as a corporate controlled media. But thought can be known and seen to follow rules internal to the thoughts. You disagreeing only proves this to be the case.