The following lectures were given by Rudolf Steiner in 1922. Research at The National Cancer Institute has found that Mistletoe DOES kill cancer cells in vitro, but has not been able to extend the research to in vivio treatment for humans. Mistletoe was found to be an effective agent against tumour formation in rabits. Research is still in its infancy, however, and results as yet, are inconclusive. A summary of current research on the effects of Mistletoe in the treatment of Cancer is available here. --| Mistletoe and Cancer |--- Note: The use of the term 'etheric body' here is meant in the sense of 'body of formative growth forces'. Simply: a Rock doesn't GROW, but rocks and plants are both tangible (physical substance). The rock doesn't GROW, but the plant does. The part that makes the plant grow that the rock doesn't have is called the 'etheric body', or 'body of formative forces'. There is no need for me to analyse the whole nature of inflammatory processes, in their specific forms as affecting the different human organs. All that I can take as already familiar to you. But the unifying process, which is common to all inflammations, is not a matter of familiar knowledge. This unifying common process is perhaps best characterised as follows: in all cases of inflammation, whether very slight or very acute, and leading possibly to ulcers, spiritual science finds that the etheric body of the patient remains as a whole in working order. Thus we may be sure of being able to do something to restore the full efficiency of this etheric body, which has become impaired or impeded in a particular direction; to redistribute its workings, so as to make it a healing source. Our aim is to direct the activity of the etheric body in definite directions, whereas the healthy etheric body acts throughout the organism and permeates it in all directions. It is possible to set up reactive processes -- we shall deal with them presently -- which have power to stimulate the etheric body in regard to a system of organs in which its activity has become slack; so that, provided the etheric body as a whole retains a certain measure of health, it resumes its universal efficiency in this special direction. But tumorous formations of every kind are a different matter. They arise primarily from the actual enmity of certain processes within the physical body, against the action of the etheric body; these processes rebel as it were, so that the etheric body ceases to act in certain regions of the physical body. The etheric body, however, has very great powers of regeneration and the methods of spiritual science reveal that if it is possible to remove the hindrance and to expel the inimical action, the tumour can be overcome. We may lay down the rule that in cases of tumour, it will be necessary to simulate through the forces of nature, the removal of the counteracting physical processes which oppose the etheric body, so that the etheric body may once more extend its working to the region where it had temporarily receded. This principle is particularly important, let us say, in the treatment of carcinomatous growths. Carcinoma, if objectively studied, shows plainly, in spite of its great diversity of form, that it is essentially a revolt of certain physical forces against the forces of the etheric body. For instance, the characteristic indurations, which are so perceptible in the case of deep-seated carcinomatous growths, and though less perceptible still present when the growths are nearer the surface of the body -- these reveal the preponderance and the encroachments, so to speak, of the physical structure over the etheric structure, which should be there in the particular region. Careful study of their contrasting characteristics will lead us to the conclusion that inflammations, abscesses, and ulcers on the one hand and tumours on the other, are polar opposites. Of course, I must remind you that it is quite possible to take a carcinoma situated on or near the surface of the body, for an ulcer, at least in some features. As the similarity may be misleading, we must study more closely the essence of this polarity. Certain not precisely old but somewhat medieval technical terms are misleading and unhelpful in this respect -- and when l use the phrase medieval, I refer not to the Middle Ages but to those times which we have only just passed through. It is not quite correct to refer to tumours as neoplasms. They are "new" only in the trivial sense of not having been there before, but they are not "neoplasms" in the sense of sprouting on the actual soil of the organism, i.e., on its boundary, the skin. But owing to the vehement opposition developing in some special process of the physical body, as against the etheric, the body of man becomes subjected to the outer nature inimical to man; the formation of a tumour provides an easy passage for all manner of external influences; and thus we should not neglect the study of the complementary opposite of this whole phenomenon. For this I refer you to the study of the extra-human world, let us say, to the formation of the mistletoe to begin with. First of all we must observe the precise manner in which the varieties of mistletoe (viscum) develop on the soil of other plants. But this is not the main factor under consideration. For the botanist, of course, the parasitism of such plants as mistletoe is the essential point. But for the study of the inter-relationships of extra-human nature to man, it is far more significant that the mistletoe as it grows on trees is compelled to follow a different yearly rhythm from that of other plants, its blossoms have been formed before the trees which are its hosts, begin to put forth their leaves in spring. Thus the mistletoe is a kind of winter blooming plant, protecting itself under the shelter of alien foliage, from the extremes of the summer sun's rays, or better,: from the light workings of summer; there is something of an aristocratic attitude about the mistletoe. (See Diagram 24). The sun must be taken -- in the sense of the XI lecture -- as being the representative only of the light workings: but this subject forms a chapter of physics and does not interest us here; it is unfortunately impossible to avoid phrases introduced into our language by an incorrect conception of nature. The whole manner in which the mistletoe attaches itself to other plants in order to grow and thrive is the essential point: it acquires and appropriates particular forces which may be described as follows. Its nature is to oppose all the tendencies of the straight course taken by the organic forces, and to urge towards all that to which the straight course taken by the organic forces is opposed. Let us try to elucidate this by means of a rough sketch, (see Diagram 24) representing an area in the physical body of man which revolts against the whole access of the etheric forces, so that the latter are, as it were, dammed up and stopped and thus what appears to be a "neoplasm" is formed; and the mistletoe counteracts this "pocketing" which has been formed and draws the forces again to the area which they do not want to enter. You may corroborate this statement by means of a test which can only take place as occasion offers. You can study the tendency of the mistletoe against the straight-lined organising forces, by its effect on the after birth. Mistletoe prevents or delays the emergence of the after birth from the human body, that is to say, it opposes the straight course of the organic process. And that is its most characteristic and significant property, to prevent the normal course of organic forces. But quite the same tendency of opposition is to be found in the mistletoe-effect in general. The counteraction of mistletoe against the etheric body's refusal to take hold of the physical body may lead one to a certain administration of viscum; it may happen, then, that the physical body is taken hold of too strongly by the etheric body, and convulsions may result. Other cases, on being treated with mistletoe, have the peculiar sensation of falling (vertigo.) And these symptoms are in line with a further pharmaceutical effect of mistletoe, i.e., its stimulation of seminal pollutions. Thus in all its manifestations, e.g., in connection with epilepsy also, mistletoe works "against the stream" in the organism of man. And this is due, not so much to its parasitism, as to its inherent contrariety: it claims always special indulgencies from nature as a whole. This plant, for instance, will not thrive in the normal course of the seasons, blossoming towards the spring and then bearing its fruit, but during an unusual time, in winter. By so doing, it conserves those forces which counteract the normal course of events. If it were not giving too much offense, one might say that nature had "gone mad" and did everything at the wrong time, in reference to the mistletoe. But this is just what must be made use of, if on the other hand the human organism becomes physically mad, i.e., in formation. Here the need arises to cultivate the understanding of precisely these connections. Mistletoe provides, beyond question, a means which -- when given in potencies -- should enable us to dispense with the surgical removal of tumours. The point is only to find out how to treat the mistletoe fruit in combining it with other forces of the mistletoe plant, in order to arrive at a remedy. The peculiar "madness" of this plant is shown in its method of fertilisation, which depends on transport by birds from one tree to another. The plant would become extinct were it not for this service of the birds. In a curious way, the fertilising elements of the mistletoe choose the path through the birds, and are excreted on another tree trunk or branch, where they "take root" anew. All these peculiarities illuminate the whole formative process of the mistletoe. The task is to blend the glutinous substance of the mistletoe in the right way with the triturating medium, and so increase gradually the potency of the viscum substance to a very high degree. Having ascertained the main formula, we should vary it, specialising according to the requirements of this or that organ; and also bearing in mind the particular tree on which the mistletoe grew; I shall make further suggestions in that matter. Another important point will be to arrive at a co-operation of this glutinous substance with certain metallic substances this effect can of course be arrived at also by the metallic ingredients of other plants. But the co-operation, for instance, of mistletoe from an apple-tree, with triturated silver salts, could produce something eminently capable of counteracting all cancers in the hypogastric regions. These things must be brought forward with caution at the present time. The trend of which they are manifestations is correct, beyond question, and based on well-established research in spiritual science. But on the practical side, we are dependent on the actual blending and preparation of the mistletoe substance, and have not yet sufficient knowledge for successful carrying out. Here spiritual science can only work to our full benefit if it is in continuous contact with clinical experience. And this interrelationship of spiritual science and medicine is made very difficult, for the opportunities for clinical observation and the investigations of spiritual science are kept widely apart by our contemporary social institutions. But just this can show that we can only succeed in these matters if and when both lines of procedure co-operate. Thus it is urgently desirable to collect experience in this direction, for it will hardly be possible to convince general public opinion in these matters, unless you can provide at least verification by external reports from clinics, etc. It is not so much an internal necessity to obtain such evidence; but it is an imperative external necessity. It is quite possible to prove that the therapeutic effect of the mistletoe is really based on the fact just put before you. It will only be necessary to proceed methodically. For, as I have already pointed out the trunk formations of trees are really practically outgrowths of the proper substance of the earth; they are only little mounds containing still the vegetable element and from them the other essential parts of all trees sprout forth. Now, suppose a mistletoe grows on the tree trunk, it sends its roots earthward, although it takes root on the tree. Now consider those plants which share the mad "aristocraticism" of mistletoe without sharing its "bohemianism" of living parasitically. One can expect to make similar experiences when testing such plants. This is bound to be so. Examine and test winter flowering plants with reference to their contrariety, their anti-tendency against the normal tendencies of the human organism, including, of course, the normal tendency to discase. We must expect the plants with flower "out of season" to have effects similar to that of the mistletoe. Extend the experiments to Helleborus niger, the hellebore, and similar effects will be found. It is, however, necessary to take notice of the contrast, already outlined, between the male and female respectively, Helleborus niger will hardly produce any effect -- or any visible effect -- if administered to women. But on men it will show appreciable influence in the Case of tumours, if it is applied in a higher potency arrived at in the Way already suggested for mistletoe. Rudolf Steiner - Lectures on Health, Lecture XIII. -- ...all tumorous formations up to carcinoma are really displaced attempts at the formation of sense organs. If you penetrate the human organism in the right way regarding such a pathological formation, you will find what part is played in the child's organization even the embryonic organization by the organisms of warmth and air in order to bring these sense organs into being. These organs can indeed be brought into being in the right way only through the organisms of warmth and air encountering the solid and fluid organisms, which results in a formation composed of both factors. This means that it is necessary for us to look into this relationship existing between the physical organism (in so far as this expresses itself in the metabolism, for example) and the formative, plastic organism (in so far as this expresses itself in the nerve-sense system). We must see, so to speak, how the metabolic organism radiates out that which carries the substance in a radial way, and how the substance is plastically molded in the organs by what the nerve-sense system carries to meet it. Bearing this in mind, we shall learn to understand in what way we can really approach a tumour formation. We can only approach a tumour formation by saying that there is a false relationship between the physical-etheric organism on the one side, in so far as it expresses itself in metabolism, and the ego organism and astral organism on the other side, in so far as they express themselves in the warmth and airy organisms respectively. Ultimately, therefore, we have above all to deal with the relationship of the metabolism to the warmth organization in the human being, and in the case of an internal tumour - although it is also possible with an external tumour - The best treatment is to envelop the tomour with a mantle of warmth. (I shall speak of these things tomorrow when we come to consider therapy.) We must succeed in enveloping the tomour with a mantle of warmth. This brings about a radical change in the whole organization. If we succeed in surrounding the tomour with a mantle of warmth, then - speaking primitively - we shall also succeed in dissolving it. This can actually be achieved by the proper use of certain remedies that have probably been suggested to you by our physicians, which are then injected into the human organism. We may be sure that in every case a preparation of viscum (mistletoe), applied in the way we advise around the abnormal organ (for instance around the carcinomatous growth) will generate a mantle of warmth, but we must first have ascertained its specific effect upon this or that system of organs. We cannot, of course, apply exactly the same preparation to carcinoma of the breast as to carcinoma of the uterus or of the pylorus. One must study the path taken by what is produced by the injection, but you will achieve nothing unless you bring about a real reaction. This reaction comes to expression as a state of feverishness. The injection must be followed by a feverish condition. You can at once expect failure if you do not succeed in evoking a condition of feverishness. Rudolf Steiner - Spiritual Science and Medicine, Lecture III. Stuttgart, October 27, 1922, p.m. --| Mistletoe |--- Mistletoe By Eileen Holland - Woody evergreen parasite with branching stems and grayish-green bark that grows on deciduous trees. - Host trees include apple, pear, poplar, linden and oak. It is usually found high on the tree, especially on soft-barked apple, willow and poplar trees. - Mistletoe has two long, narrow, leathery yellowish-green leaves at each joint and blooms from February to May with greenish or yellow flowers. - The fruit is a small, round, transparent white berry with a black seed in viscous pulp. - The berries ripen in late fall and stay on the plant all winter. - Propagate by crushing the sticky berries against the bark of a tree. Birds, especially the thrush, spread mistletoe by wiping their beaks on trees after they have eaten the berries. - Mistletoe grows quickly and has hard, tough wood. - Gather branches in the fall before the berries appear. - Dry them in the shade and store in airtight containers. - The leaves can be gathered in fall or winter. --| Mistletoe on the Moon |--- The minerals of to-day on which we walk about did not exist on the Moon; there were not as yet what we call rocks, arable land, humus. The lowest kingdom stood between plant and mineral. The whole substance of the Moon consisted of this kingdom. The Moon surface somewhat resembled a peaty soil, on which there were also plants forming a kind of pulpy plant-mass. The Moon-beings went about on a vegetable-mineral mass of a pulp-like consistency. This was the state on the Moon during certain periods of its development--one could also compare it with boiled lettuce. There were no rocks in the present sense, thenearest approach were certain formations occuring here and there which you can compare with the growths formed by the wood or the bark of certain trees. The Moon-mountains consisted of such lignifiacion, such wooden masses of lignified plant pulp. It was like a kind of aged plant grown dry. This was the earliest beginnings of the mineral kingdom and upon it flourished those plant-animals; they could make no independent movements, they were fixed to the ground, as the corals are to-day. In our myths and sagas, in which lies deep wisdom given by initiates, a memory is preserved of this, and above all in the legend of the death of Baldur. The Germanic Sun-god or god of Light had once a dream in which his approaching death was foretold to him. That made the gods, the Asen, who loved him, very sad; they pondered over the means of saving him. The Mother of the gods, Frigga, put all the beings of the earth on solemn oath that not one of them would ever kill Baldur; they all swore and so it seemed impossible that Baldur should ever fall a victim to death.On one occasion thegods were at play, and during the game they threw every possible sort of thing at Baldur without hurting him, they knew he was invulnerable. Loki, the god of darkness, the opponent of the Asen, cogitated, however, on how to kill Baldur. Then he heard from Frigga that she had made all beings swear not to kill him. Quite outside, however, there was a plant, the mistletoe, which was unaffected, this she disclosed to him; she had administered no oath to it. The crafty Loki took the mistletoe, brought it to the blind god, Hdur, and he, not knowing what he did, killed Baldur with it. So the evil dream was fulfilled through the mistletoe. It has always played a special role in popular custom, something sinister, ghostly, was expressed through it. What was taugh about the mistletoe in the old Trotten and Druid Mysteries passed over to the populace as legend and custom. These are the facts: On the Moon there was this mineral-plant pulp and upon it flourished the plant-animals of the Moon. Now there were some who evolved further and reach a higher condition on the Earth; others, however, had stayed behind at the Moon stage, and as the Earth arose could only assume a stunted form, they had to preserve the habits they had on the Moon. On Earth they could only live as spongers, parasites, on a plant-like foundation. So the mistletoe lives on other trees, since it is a relic left behind of the old plant-animals of the Moon. Baldur was the expression of what evolves further, of what brings light to the Earth; Loki, on the contrary, the representative of the dark forces, the backward forces, hates what has progressed, has gone on developing; therefore Loki is the opponent of Baldur. None of the creatures of Earth could undertake anything against Baldur, the gods who gave light to the Earth, for they were his equals, they had undergone evolution. Only a being still at the Moon-stage and feeling itself united with the ancient god of darkness was capable of killing the god of light. The mistletoe is also a definite curative remedy, as are poisons in general. Thus do we find deep facts of cosmic wisdom in the old folklore and customs. (Rudolf Steiner, *Theosophy of the Rosicrucian*, pp 108-110) --


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