Properties, Benefits and Uses of Holly

Holly, like mistletoe, is a very representative plant of the Christmas season. Without a doubt, it is a very striking plant with very beautiful leaves and a fruit which is particularly attractive due to its bright red color, hence it is widely used as a decorative element in the house during this special time.

However, holly has not only been prized since ancient Greece for its ornamental value. Considering the fact that it is mainly distributed in West Asia and Europe, its cultivation was introduced in America for its multiple properties which are very beneficial for our health and well-being.

Holly Data Sheet

  • Common name in Spanish: holly, acea, aceba, holly, holly-cherry, acebu, acabuche, asegu, aquifolia, cardón, cardonera, holm oak, hawthorn, crebol, cibro, chaparro, grabolé, xardonera, agrifolio.
  • Scientific name: Ilex aquifolium
  • Family: Aquifoliaceae
  • Characteristics: It is a shrub, the height of which is distributed over a range of 6-7 meters in height, although on some occasions holly of 10 meters have been described. It has very thorny dark green leaves. Its flowers are white or yellow and are grouped in corymbs.
  • Habitat: They are usually found in areas with high humidity where they do not get much sun, such as beech and oak forests, as well as hedges in humid areas.

Holly Benefits

Among the medicinal properties of holly, three stand out: it is an excellent diuretic, laxative and antipyretic. Most of these effects are due to a molecule called illexic acid, which is found in the leaves of this plant and allows us to remove excess fluid from the body.

The leaves are also considered to be sweat, which is why they have been widely used to treat colds, pleurisy, intermittent fevers, rheumatism, smallpox, and ailments such as jaundice.

Other properties reported in this plant include its emetic and tonic effect. In fact, in the past, they macerated holly leaves with wine to take it as a tonic.

Its use as a purgative has also been reported, making it an excellent cleanser for the intestines. However, these practices have now been abolished as their consumption can lead to high levels of intoxication, especially if the concoction was made with the fruits.

The calming and calming effect of the dried bark of this plant has also been mentioned, indicated for people with epilepsy and recurrent episodes of hysteria.

Likewise, holly leaves have also been used in the treatment of high blood pressure as they are known to improve arterial function and blood circulation. The extract is also used to combat dizziness and emotional problems.

There is no doubt that holly has great qualities to make us consider the use of this plant as part of conventional medicine.

How do you take holly?

The best way to use it is to make a decoction or tincture, but it will depend on what you want to treat:

  • As a diuretic: You can prepare a decoction based on 4 tablespoons of dried leaves per liter of water. The recommended dose is three cups a day.
  • As an antirheumatic drug: A decoction is prepared from 3 tablespoons of dried roots per liter of water and boiled for half an hour. This preparation is special for treating the conditions of arthritis, gout and dropsy.
  • As a purgative: Prepare a cold maceration of dry bark for 12 hours. You should drink 2 cups a day between meals.
  • As a tranquilizer: Infuse 2 tablespoons of the dried leaves in boiling water for 10 minutes. Use in hysteria and epilepsy. You can also make capsules to consume one or two grams per day, from dried powdered leaves.

Holly contraindications

Decoctions or infusions should be prepared from the fruits, which are highly toxic and can lead to death in large quantities.

Its consumption is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women, or in children under 10 years old. We always recommend that you consult your doctor first.

Other uses of holly

In addition to its ornamental use, holly wood is highly valued in carpentry because of its hardness and density. This wood is used to make quality game boards, shotgun butts, tool handles, and other crafts.

Likewise, the league is extracted from the bark of holly to hunt birds, a procedure that dates back to the 18th century.

Remember to always consult your doctor before starting any treatment with herbal remedies.