Possible side effects of mistletoe therapy

Mistletoe therapy is generally well tolerated. Undesirable effects occur only rarely. The most frequent phenomenon is a reddening of the skin at the injection site. However, this is not an undesirable side effect, but an almost desirable one, because it indicates the body’s reaction to the mistletoe extract in form of a mild inflammation. And this in turn means that the immune system is responding, which is a desired effect of mistletoe therapy.

This redness or erythema is therefore harmless up to a diameter of 5 cm and will usually subside on its own. It also serves as an orientation for dosing the mistletoe extract.

If the area reddens more and simultaneously hardens, the dosage of mistletoe extract may be too high. If the body temperature rises above 38 °C on the day of injection or if there occur signs of exhaustion, shivering, a general feeling of illness, headaches or short-term dizziness, the dosage is effective but probably too high. These are not signs of an intolerance reaction! If the dosage is reduced, these symptoms usually disappear again quickly.

 

Last update: April 17th, 2020/AB

Allergies to mistletoe extracts are rare. However, it is possible that they may occur. Therefore, the first mistletoe injections should be carried out under medical supervision. For intravenous mistletoe infusions this is always necessary.

The lymph nodes in the area of the injection site may swell slightly. This is also not an undesirable reaction, but only shows that the immune system is activated. The lymph nodes serve as storage for numerous immune cells.

If you are very sensitive to mistletoe extracts, it may be advisable to start with a preparation in a in a low dosage and increase the dose very slowly until the desired reactions occur.

Slight fever up to 38 °C is also not an undesirable but an almost desirable effect indicating that the body is regaining its ability to regulate body temperature.

In anthroposophical mistletoe therapy, all these reactions are considered in determining the optimum dose and preparation for each individual case. It is therefore possible that the doctor will use several preparations until the right one has been found.

Sometimes small knobs or knots form at the injection site because the injected fluid only spreads slowly in the tissue. This can be avoided by massaging the injection site circularly with a swab after the injection has been performed and the needle has been removed.

During mistletoe therapy, a pre-existing phlebitis or thrombosis can worsen. Mistletoe application should then be interrupted until the inflammation has subsided and the thrombosis has healed.
 

Last update: April 17th, 2020/AB

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