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Mistletoe - good for Christmas cheer and...bowel cancer?

Written by: QMI Agency
Nov. 30, 2012

Zahra Lotfollahi with a sample of mistletoe extract at the University of Adelaide's Waite Campus. (HO)


Researchers in Australia think mistletoe may have a more important use than provoking Christmas kisses — treating bowel cancer.

Zahra Lotfollahi of the University of Adelaide compared the effectiveness of three different types of mistletoe extract and chemotherapy on colon cancer cells and healthy intestinal cells.

One extract, from a species called Fraxini, was very effective against colon cancer cells, but was gentler on healthy intestinal cells compared with chemotherapy.

"This is an important result because we know that chemotherapy is effective at killing healthy cells as well as cancer cells. This can result in severe side-effects for the patient, such as oral mucositis (ulcers in the mouth) and hair loss," Lotfollahi said.

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"Our laboratory studies have shown Fraxini mistletoe extract by itself to be highly effective at reducing the viability of colon cancer cells."

 

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