The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

  • Support this site

    If you found the information here helpful, please consider supporting this site.If you found the information here helpful, please consider supporting this site.

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments


    Not to be a scrooge, but at this time of the year it’s worthwhile to review the safety of mistletoe.

    Mistletoe is the common name for a group of hemi-parasitic plants that grow attached to and within the branches of a shrub or a tree such as apple, oak, and elm.

    • Wikipedia has more information about the lifecycle of mistletoe.
    • It has been used since ancient times to treat many ailments
    • Mistletoe was used by the Druids and the ancient Greeks, and appears in legend and folklore as a panacea or “cure-all”.
    • Modern interest in mistletoe as a possible treatment for cancer began in the 1920s.
    • Extracts of mistletoe have been shown to kill cancer cells

    Now, the cautions as listed by the National Cancer Institute.
    Mistletoe extract

    • Very few bad side effects have been reported from the use of mistletoe extract products.
    • Common side effects include soreness and inflammation at injection sites, headache, fever, and chills.
    • A few cases of severe allergic reactions, including anaphylactic shock, have been reported.

    Mistletoe plants and berries

    • They are poisonous to humans.
    • Side effects caused by eating mistletoe plants and berries include seizures, slowing of the heart rate, abnormal blood pressure, vomiting, and death.
    • The severity of the side effect depends on the amount and the type of mistletoe plant eaten.

    The bottom line?
    Have a merry Christmas and happy holiday.

    12/23/08 21:04 JR

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