Mistletoe is a plant that has been the protagonist of many legends since the dawn of time. Being native to Europe and North Asia, it has traditionally been associated with fertility rituals and is even believed to be the only herb capable of killing King Balder, a character belonging to Norse mythology.
Besides its great mythical and Christmas tradition, it has also been highly regarded for its medicinal characteristics. In fact, the Druids had a special appreciation for him and he was a fundamental ingredient in many of the preparations they used to treat illnesses.
- Common name in Spanish: mistletoe
- Scientific name: Viscum Album
- Family: Lorantaceae
- Characteristics and habitat: It is a semi-parasitic plant with articulated and persistent stems, which is characterized by long branches and a fruit in the shape of a small berry. It can reach up to a meter and grows on the branches of various trees, especially hardwoods such as apple and poplar, although they can also be seen in some varieties of pine.
Benefits of mistletoe
As we have already said, mistletoe was a very popular plant in ancient times for its medicinal use. It has been shown to have many medicinal properties, among which its analgesic, sedative, anti-inflammatory, antitumor, antirheumatic, diuretic, antispasmodic and lipid-lowering action stands out.
Considering all of its capabilities, it’s no surprise to learn about its growing popularity in alternative medicine. Mainly, it is widely used to fight against certain types of cancer due to its cytostatic and anti-tumor action, which helps to reduce the effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
More and more centers are offering mistletoe treatment to cancer patients, and more and more patients are accepting it, because this treatment causes tumor cells to “suicide” and improves the response capacity of the immune system.
On the other hand, it should be mentioned that, thanks to its sedative and relaxing properties, mistletoe is very effective in relieving sciatica pain. Its hypotensive properties are also highlighted, being its consumption very suitable for the treatment of hypertension, as it can help lower blood pressure at the same time as it helps blood circulation.
Due to its vasodilator and anti-inflammatory effects, it is used to reduce inflammation in hemorrhoids and varicose veins. Likewise, it is used in the treatment of rheumatic diseases such as multiple sclerosis, osteoarthritis and other degenerative diseases.
It also helps regulate cholesterol and remove retained fluids, especially when combined with other herbal remedies.
How do you take the mistletoe?
Like most herbal remedies, the most common way to take it is in the form of an infusion. However, in the case of mistletoe, it can also be taken in other ways:
- Infusion: Take half to a cup of mistletoe infusion 3 times a day, prepared with the branches, leaves and berries. Recommended for the treatment of hypertension, detoxification and the treatment of benzodiazepine dependence. For the treatment of nervous disorders it is good to combine it with valerian or skullcap; in this case, take half a cup of moderately loaded infusion, 3 times a day.
- Dyeing: preferably do it from the fresh plant. Take 10 drops 3 times a day to lower blood pressure.
- Fluid extract and berry extract: It is recommended to consult an herbalist about the dosage to strengthen the immune system in cancer treatments. These are given as subcutaneous or intravenous injections and in some cases are applied directly to the tumor or affected area.
- Mistletoe leaves macerate: equal parts of mashed leaves and alcohol are prepared. Then the resulting solution should be refrigerated for two weeks. It is used to relieve tired legs and circulatory problems.
- Lemon berry juice: Mistletoe berries crushed and mixed with the juice of one lemon in equal proportions are used to treat skin conditions, such as pimples and styes.
Contraindications of mistletoe
- Its use is recommended under strict medical supervision, especially when it is necessary to consume the berries of this plant.
- When given as injections, it can cause swelling and pain at the injection site, as well as headache, fever, and chills.
Other uses of mistletoe
Many use mistletoe for ornamental purposes because it is a plant that stays green all year round. In December, the twigs of this plant with its fruits are sold in small bags, mainly as a symbol of good luck.
Many people place the sprig of mistletoe behind the main entrance as it is believed to accumulate curses and protect the inhabitants of the house. When the new year begins, they burn the old branch and replace it with a new one.
Remember to consult your doctor before starting any treatment with herbal remedies.