Leaves, branches, berries.
Chemical analysis of mistletoe has revealed that this parasitic herb possesses calming, anti-spasmodic, purgative, immuno-modulator, immuno-stimulator, a potent hypotensive (causing low blood pressure), an excellent cardio-tonic, diuretic and vermifuge (any medication that helps to expel worms from the body) properties. Due to its multifarious therapeutic attributes, mistletoe is prescribed to cure cough, particularly spasmodic cough, asthmatic attacks attributed to psychological tension as well as bronchial asthma. Simultaneously, this herb is also used to alleviate the symptoms of epilepsy, hysteria, dizziness, nervous fits, neurosis, cardiac ischemia, arterial hypertension, hiccups, predispositions to virosis (a viral infection), digestive as well as uterine cramps, memory problems related to hypertension (high blood pressure), ganglionary ailments as well as immunity disorders owing to old age. The herb is also applied topically to treat gout, leucorrhoea (a white or yellowish vaginal discharge) and sciatica (pain in some portions of the sciatic nerve). The Druids and ancient Greeks were the first to use European mistletoe for the reported health benefits offered by the herb. These people employed European mistletoe in the form of a 'cure all' to treat almost all types of medical conditions. In effect, since long, mistletoe has been extensively employed in the form of an herbal therapy for an assortment of health disorders, counting alleviating headaches, pains caused by arthritis as well as the menopausal symptoms. Primarily, European mistletoe is employed to reduce high blood pressure and slow down the rapid heart rate, alleviate nervousness and induce sleep. When used in small doses, mistletoe helps to provide relief from headaches, panic attacks and, at the same time, augments concentration. Herbalists especially prescribe European mistletoe to treat epilepsy and tinnitus (a ringing or similar sensation in the ear). The extracts obtained from mistletoe berries are administered in the form of injection to cure cancer in anthroposophical (a medical philosophy founded on Rudolf Steiner's teachings) medicine. Mistletoe is a very effective remedy for women's problems. For instance, this herb is used to lessen the profuse menstruation flow, menstrual problems as well as hemorrhage following child birth. In addition, this herb can also be employed to treat persistent cramping, infertility as well as to cure uterine problems. Before being a part of a sequence of signs of the winter holidays, in the olden times, mistletoe was regarded to be a religious symbol of the pagans. Mistletoe was considered to possess magical properties since it was effective in curing ailments, brought good luck, defended against witchcraft and was also believed to be a source for treating infertility. For instance, during the Middle Ages, people were of the belief that hanging branches of mistletoe from the ceiling protected their homes as well as the inhabitants from tainted spirits. There are numerous other instances of the magical attributes of mistletoe. Among these, one relates to the Vikings, who regarded this species to possess the power of getting the dead back to life. On the other hand, the Romans used mistletoe to make their marriages lawful by a famous kiss under the mistletoe tree.
Mistletoe is indigenous to the northern regions of Asia and Europe. The species called European mistletoe (Viscum album) usually grows on trees that host them, particularly the apple trees. European mistletoe, one of the most common species of the genus, is harvested during autumn.
The effectiveness of European mistletoe in treating cancer has undergone considerable amount of research. There is little qualm regarding the fact that specific constituents of European mistletoe, particularly the viscotoxins, show anti-cancer activities, but scientists are yet to accept the worth of the entire plant for treating cancer.
Although mistletoe is sometimes used to treat cancer, the dosages of the herb mentioned below are all for non-cancerous conditions. This herb may be taken in various forms, including cold infusion, warm infusion, tincture, powder, dried herb and fluid extract.
Taking large doses of mistletoe may have a harmful action on the functioning of the heart. Even consumption of the berries of this parasitic herb may prove to be hazardous, particularly for children. Moreover, the mistletoe berries may also be toxic for your pets, particularly cats. People taking therapeutic preparations with mistletoe may experience adverse side effects like dehydration, mild to serious fever, diarrhea, seizures, delirium and even hallucinations. This herb or its preparations should never be used during pregnancy or be given to nursing mothers.