Two time-honored holiday staples that can kill cancer cells, skyrocket survival by up to 40 percent, and much more
From evergreens to poinsettias, there are many botanicals associated with the December holidays. But two of the most iconic are mistletoe and frankincense.
They’re also some of the healthiest substances you’ll find in nature, with thousands of years of traditional medicinal use backed up by plenty of modern research.
So go ahead and warm up some fragrant frankincense oil, give your sweetie a smooch under the mistletoe, and read up on how these holiday favorites can help keep you healthy year-round.
Kiss cancer goodbye with mistletoe
More than 2,000 years ago, the ancient Celts and Druids in Britain called mistletoe an “all healer.” It grew on trees, without roots to the ground, and stayed green in the middle of winter. So it’s no surprise that they believed it had magical powers to heal.
Since then, Europeans have used mistletoe to treat a variety of acute and chronic health conditions, such as headaches and arthritis.
In 1916, Rudolf Steiner, PhD (best known as the founder of Anthroposophical Medicine, and the Waldorf schools) began research into mistletoe for the treatment of cancer. At the time, most scientists still considered mistletoe just a folk remedy. However, Dr. Steiner believed it possessed unique and powerful biologic properties.
Steiner believed that we have forces in our bodies that influence cell growth—either promoting it or controlling it. And that cancer can occur if those forces become imbalanced. He theorized that a liquid extract of mistletoe could help reestablish that balance and potentially fight cancerous tumors.
While that may sound a little far-fetched, current research actually seems to support Dr. Steiner’s conceptual work. In fact, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) reports that mistletoe is one of the most widely studied “alternative” therapies for people with cancer.1
It appears that chemicals in mistletoe extract may block cancer growth and even kill cancer cells directly. Plus, mistletoe appears to support the body’s immune system. Research also shows that mistletoe extract may improve the well-being and survival rates of people with melanoma and cancer of the cervix, ovary, breast, stomach, colon, and lung.
Mistletoe has been found to be particularly effective for breast and ovarian cancer. As has the cancer drug Taxol, which comes from the Pacific yew tree. In fact, this is the first time that I’ve seen the connection made, and it’s important to highlight—that two of the top treatments for breast and ovarian cancer come from the green plant kingdom.
What Europeans know that Americans don’t
According to the NCI, mistletoe extract is one of the most widely prescribed treatments for cancer in Europe. Yet the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) refuses to approve mistletoe as a treatment for cancer—or as a treatment for any other medical condition.
The most commonly used mistletoe extract is called Iscador, which is made from a European species of mistletoe that differs slightly from the American species.
There are nearly 200 studies on Iscador in humans and animals. One of the best-known was conducted in Germany and involved over 10,000 people with cancer of the colon, stomach, rectum, breast, or lung.2
Results showed that the people who received Iscador injections had a whopping 40 percent longer survival time than people who didn’t have the injections.
As is the case with many alternative therapies, Iscador injections are usually accompanied by other natural, complementary therapies—from mind-body approaches, to dietary changes. Together, these therapies help enhance the body’s natural cancer-fighting abilities.
Patients also receive Iscador injections prior to cancer surgery, or after chemotherapy or radiation, to help aid in recovery.
But because mistletoe injections aren’t FDA approved, some Americans travel to European clinics to receive this treatment. However, there are some practitioners willing to prescribe mistletoe extract to patients in the U.S. and Canada.
So if you or someone you know might be a candidate, consult with your physician—then weigh your options. It will mean booking a trip back to the “old country.”
Of course, there are many other natural approaches to preventing and reversing cancer that are relatively easy to adopt.
You can learn all about them in my Authentic Anti-Cancer Protocol—a comprehensive online learning tool that discusses no-nonsense, all-natural secrets for lifetime prevention and survival.
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In the meantime, let’s take a look at the second ubiquitous holiday botanical that offers a wealth of healing benefits…
Frankincense: The gift that keeps on giving
Gift-giving is traditionally associated with the holiday season because the Three Wise Men, or Magi, followed the star and arrived in Bethlehem bearing frankincense, myrrh, and gold for the newborn Jesus.
These wise men knew the real treasures of the earth. Gold, of course, is healthy for your pocketbook, but it also has physical health properties.
Gold salts are anti-inflammatories used in some arthritis medications (which would prove important to older men traveling thousands of miles).
And myrrh, which is a tree resin, is an anti-inflammatory and an antibacterial used in dental products. Some research has also found that myrrh and gold may be toxic to prostate cancer cells.
But frankincense—or its more modern name, boswellia—has the most scientific research behind it. It’s a plant resin that has been used for thousands of years as a traditional remedy for a variety of ailments. You can take it as an oral supplement (I recommend 400 to 500 mg daily), apply it topically, or inhale its oils during aromatherapy.
Frankincense (or boswellia) has five key health benefits:
1. Bone and joint health. Boswellia is actually the “B” in my ABCs for joint health. (The “A” stands for ashwaganda, and the “C” for curcumin, both also from South Asia.) Modern research shows boswellia helps reduce inflammation, relieve joint pain, and improve mobility.
Studies comparing boswellia to standard non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) for arthritis show that the botanical is just as effective at controlling inflammation—but without the side effects of NSAIDs, such as accelerated joint damage, GI bleeding, and heart toxicity.
2. Digestion. Boswellia can help with constipation, gas, stomachache, and irritable bowels—all of which are more common this time of year, with all of the holiday season’s rich delicacies.
One study found boswellia to be effective for treating symptoms of ulcerative colitis when used three times per day over six weeks.3 The effects were similar to sulfa drugs commonly used to treat bowel disease.
3. Respiratory health. Boswellia helps treat conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, and cough when used in steam inhalation.
One study found that people with asthma who took 300 mg of boswellia three times daily for six weeks noticed improvements in symptoms.4
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4. Dental health. Like myrrh, adding frankincense to dental pastes or rubs helps prevent cavities, tooth decay, oral infections, and halitosis (bad breath).
Plus, studies show it effectively combats gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) caused by dental plaque. It also eases irritation, redness, and swelling in gums.
5. Cancer. Lab studies show frankincense helps fight cancer cells in the bladder, breast, brain, cervix, colon, liver, lung, pancreas, prostate, skin, and stomach. It works by activating genes that regulate cell cycle arrest, cell growth suppression, and cell turnover.
Frankincense also appears to distinguish cancer cells from normal cells, which could eventually help doctors target treatments and avoid toxic chemotherapy.5
Frankincense’s well-established anti-inflammatory effects may also help combat cancer by reducing the chronic inflammation that appears to lead to increased aggressiveness in some cancers. Plus, it seems to help balance the immune system and boost proliferation of immune cells, which helps fight against some cancers.
I recommend 400 to 500 mg per day of frankincense/boswellia. Your joints will be more comfortable, and you’ll get a host of other health benefits as well.
So this holiday season, take advantage of all of frankincense and mistletoe’s benefits. You’ll feel better in mind, body, and spirit.
2“Use of Iscador, an extract of European mistletoe (Viscum album), in cancer treatment: prospective nonrandomized and randomized matched-pair studies nested within a cohort study.” Altern Ther Health Med. 2001 May-Jun;7(3):57-66, 68-72, 74-6 passim.
3“Effects of Boswellia serrata gum resin in patients with ulcerative colitis,” Eur J Med Res. 1997 Jan;2(1):37-43.
4“Effects of Boswellia serrata gum resin in patients with bronchial asthma: results of a double-blind, placebo-controlled, 6-week clinical study.” Eur J Med Res. 1998 Nov 17;3(11):511-4.
5“Frankincense: From the Selection of Traditional Applications to the Novel Phytotherapy for the Prevention and Treatment of Serious Diseases,” J Tradit Complement Med. 2013 Oct-Dec;3(4): 221–226