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Anthroposophical medicine is a holistic and salutogenetic approach to health. It thus focuses on ensuring that the conditions for health are present in a person; combating illness is often necessary but is insufficient alone. The approach was founded in the 1920s by Rudolf Steiner in conjunction with Ita Wegman, who carried the impulse forward after Steiner's death in 1925.

This approach to medicine begins from the proposition that true healing takes place when the body is stimulated to overcome the influences that are causing illness, whether these arise from its own constitution or the surroundings — whether they be poisonous substances, antagonistic organisms (bacterial or viral), or psychological states. Under circumstances where it is not possible to support the body's own resistance, it may be necessary to overcome symptoms by purely external means such as surgery and allopathic medicine offer. As conventional medicines and therapies may also be employed, anthroposophical medicine provides an extension of conventional medical approaches rather than an alternative to these.

As a variety of influences may be causing illness, a corresponding range of treatment possibilities are employed. Therapeutic approaches presently used by anthroposophical doctors include anthroposophic remedies based upon homeopathic principles, oil dispersion baths, massage therapy, artistic therapies to heal the psychological causes of illness, and biographical therapy to establish or re-establish a sense of purpose in the ill person. There are specialized trainings in each of these therapeutic professions, as well as in anthroposophical nursing and medicine. An anthroposophic doctor must also have a medical degree from an established and certified medical school.


The first steps towards an anthroposophical approach to medicine were made before 1920, when homeopathic physicians and pharmacists began working with Rudolf Steiner, who recommended new medicinal substances as well as specific methods for preparing these. In 1921, Dr. Ita Wegman opened the first anthroposophic medical clinic, now known as the Ita Wegman Clinic, in Arlesheim, Switzerland. Wegman was soon joined by a number of other doctors. They began to train the first anthroposophic nurses for the clinic.

At Wegman's request, Steiner regularly visited the clinic and suggested treatment regimes for particular patients. Between 1921 and 1925, he also gave several series of lectures on medicine. In 1925, Wegman and Steiner wrote the first book on the anthroposophic approach to medicine, Fundamentals of Therapy.

The clinic expanded and soon opened a branch in Ascona. Wegman lectured widely, visiting Holland and England particularly frequently, and an increasing number of doctors began to include the anthroposophic approach in their practices. A cancer clinic, the Lukas Clinic[1], opened in Arlesheim in 1963.

Mistletoe treatment for cancerEdit

One of the most prominent and well-researched anthroposophical treatments is a range of mistletoe extracts used to treat patients with cancer. The treatment is well established in Europe and is being explored for use in the USA. Journal articles reviewing the effects of mistletoe on cancerous conditions include:

  1. The story behind mistletoe: a European remedy from anthroposophical medicine.
  2. Isolation and identification of a tumour reducing component from mistletoe extract (Iscador).
  3. Increased secretion of tumor necrosis factors alpha, interleukin 1, and interleukin 6 by human mononuclear cells exposed to beta-galactoside-specific lectin from clinically applied mistletoe extract
  4. Mistletoe extract standardized for the galactoside-specific lectin (ML-1) induces beta-endorphin release and immunopotentiation in breast cancer patients.
  5. Mistletoe extract-induced effects on immunocompetent cells: in vitro studies.
  6. Isolation and properties of three lectins from mistletoe (Viscum album L.)
  7. Immunoprotective activity of the galactoside-specific lectin from mistletoe after tumor destructive therapy in glioma patients.
  8. Binding of recombinant mistletoe lectin (aviscumine) to resected human adenocarcinoma of the lung.

Present-day clinics and doctorsEdit

There are currently anthroposophical medical practices in more than 60 countries. Anthroposophic clinics in English-speaking countries include:



  • Holywood Community Health Initiative in Holywood, Co. Down



  • Fellowship Community Medical Clinic in Chestnut Ridge, NY
  • Raphael House in Fair Oaks, California [5]
  • Rudolf Steiner Health Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan [6]

References Edit


Lectures by Rudolf SteinerEdit

External linksEdit

Medical AssociationsEdit

Information about anthroposophic medicineEdit

Anthroposophic pharmaceutical companiesEdit

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