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Mistletoe

What is it?

Mistletoe is an herbal medicine used to treat high blood pressure, cancer, and a fast heart rate from feeling nervous. It may also be used to improve the immune system. This system protects your body from infection.

Other names for Mistletoe include: Viscum, Golden bough, and All heal.

Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist if you need more information about this medicine or if any information in this leaflet concerns you.

Before Using:

Tell your doctor if you

  • are taking medicine or are allergic to any medicine (prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) or dietary supplement)
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medicine
  • are breastfeeding
  • have tuberculosis (TB), AIDS, hyperthyroidism, an inflammatory disorder, or brain or spinal cord tumors
  • have any other health problems, such as high blood pressure or heart or blood vessel disease

Dosage:

Talk with your caregiver about how much mistletoe you should take. The amount depends on the strength of the medicine and the reason you are taking mistletoe. If you are using this medicine without instructions from your caregiver, follow the directions on the medicine bottle. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than the directions tell you to.

To store this medicine:

Keep all medicine locked up and away from children. Store medicine away from heat and direct light. Do not store your medicine in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Heat or moisture may cause the medicine to break down and not work the way it should work. Throw away medicine that is out of date or that you do not need. Never share your medicine with others.

Drug and Food Interactions:

Do not take mistletoe without talking to your doctor first if you are taking:

  • Blood thinning medicine (warfarin (Coumadin(R)) (6)

Warnings:

  • Mistletoe berries are very poisonous (2)
  • Before taking mistletoe, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Do not take mistletoe if you have tuberculosis (TB), AIDS, hyperthyroidism, an inflammatory disease, or brain or spinal cord tumors (5)
  • Mistletoe should only be prescribed by a specialist in herbal treatments (2)
  • Eating or drinking too much mistletoe may cause loss of consciousness (fainting or unable to wake up) and death (2)

Side Effects:

Stop taking your medicine right away and talk to your doctor if you have any of the following side effects. Your medicine may be causing these symptoms which may mean you are allergic to it.

  • Breathing problems or tightness in your throat or chest
  • Chest pain
  • Skin hives, rash, or itchy or swollen skin

Other Side Effects:

You may have the following side effects, but this medicine may also cause other side effects. Tell your doctor if you have side effects that you think are caused by this medicine. Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following side effects:

  • Low or high blood pressure (4)
  • Loss of consciousness (fainting or not able to wake up) (4)
  • Seizures (uncontrolled shaking) (4)
  • Change in eye sight or hallucinations (seeing or hearing things) (4)
  • Diarrhea, nausea (stomach upset), or vomiting (throwing up) (4)

References:

1. Anon: British Herbal Pharmacopoeia. British Herbal Medicine Association, Keighley, UK; 1983.

2. Newall C, Anderson L & Phillipson J. Mistletoe. In: Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. The Pharmaceutical Press, London, UK; 1996.

3. Brinker F: Herb Contraindications and Drug Interactions. Eclectic Institut Inc, Sandy, OR; 1997.

4. Fetrow CW and Avila JR: Professionals Handbook of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Springhouse Corporation, Springhouse, PA; 1999.

5. Fachinformation: Iscador(R), mistletoe extract. Weleda AG, Schwaebisch-Gmuend, Germany; 1997.

6. Product Information: COUMADIN(R) oral tablets, IV injection, warfarin sodium oral tablets, IV injection. Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, Princeton, NJ, 2007.


Last Updated: 9/4/2017
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