Just in time for Christmas | Gill Smith

This week Gill Smith, stage 4 cancer survivor and author of Because You Can, discusses a recent article written about Mistletoe therapy, just in time for Christmas…

Yesterday this was in a Sunday Times article:

It is often an excuse for an amorous encounter at Christmas parties, but now mistletoe is being touted as a potential treatment for cancer.

NHS patients in Scotland are being treated with an extract of the plant in the hope it can boost the body’s immune system and put cancer into remission.

At first, I thought this was new news, but in fact:

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said that in the past two years, 47 patients had been referred for mistletoe therapy at its Centre for Integrative Care at Gartnavel hospital. NHS Lothian said it had sent 42 patients to the clinic between April 2014 and March this year.

In England, two clinics are listed by the website Mistletoe Therapy UK as offering the treatment with possible NHS funding.

Mistletoe therapy has been available for some time in this country, but it is good to see NHS making it available. In Germany and Switzerland extracts of mistletoe are the most commonly used adjuvant to conventional cancer treatments.

It was Rudolf Steiner who first suggested mistletoe for cancer treatment in the early 1920s, but it has been used as a medicinal plant since ancient times. The tradition of kissing under the mistletoe started in ancient Greece.

I have been taking mistletoe for about two years. Firstly, as Iscador drops, prescribed by the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine. NHS England recently withdrew their funding for this, and other homeopathic medicines. Recently I have privately been using injections, under medical supervision. The ampoules come from Germany and must be kept refrigerated. I inject myself three times per week.

As with any complementary therapy I will not know if it is working. It may enhance the effectiveness of chemotherapy or radiotherapy, or even have some direct effect on reducing the cancer itself and prolonging life. Which is also the case for other complementary drugs and supplements that I take.

I’m very encouraged that the NHS is not ruling out mistletoe therapy. Maybe we will slowly see more complementary treatments becoming mainstream with NHS blessing. That would be a marvellous Christmas gift.