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

    This blog ran from 2006 to 2016 and was 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.

  • 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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