Mistletoe is traditionally associated with lowering blood pressure in Europe. However years of research has also enriched the list of ailments that this lowly plant is said to help treat.
Mistletoe is a parasitic evergreen plant that typically grows on the branches of trees such as oaks, elms, firs, and pines. The plant usually forms clusters or “bushes” from 20 to 60 inches in diameter, and gets its nourishment from the tree on which it grows. The mistletoe possesses yellowish flowers and leaves; as well as waxy, white berries.
Long associated with Christmas ornaments, the plant has been a prominent figure in many epics and tales that originated in northern Europe. The Druids were of the belief that the mistletoe acted as protectors against misfortunes. In Norse mythology, Balder, the son of Odin, was slain by an arrow made of a mistletoe branch guided by the Norse god of mischief Loki, who knew that this was the one object that Balder’s mother Frigga had not enchanted to do her son no harm.
Mistletoe is commonly found in North America, Europe, Australia and some parts of North Asia. Both the European and American mistletoes are used as medical remedies. However, the European mistletoe is the one that often figures in traditional medicinal chronicles.
Mistletoe is an essential ingredient of the European anti-cancer extract called Iscador. Proponents of Iscador believe it can help stimulate the immune system, kill cancer cells, inhibit the formation of tumors, and extend the survival time of cancer patients. While the treatment has been approved in Europe, it still has to be similarly approved in the United States.
Amines, terpenoids, caffeic and myristic acids, mucilage, and tannins are some of the active constituents in the European mistletoe.
Mistletoe tea is prepared by mixing 1 teaspoon of the finely-cut dried mistletoe herb in 1 cup of cold water. Let the mix stand overnight at room temperature. Then heat the mixture before drinking. Limit mistletoe tea consumption to about seven to ten cups in a day.
Following are some health benefits attributed to this tea:
- This drink may help lower blood pressure.
- Possibly useful against such respiratory ailments as cough and asthma.
- May be effective against epilepsy.
- May be effective against nervousness.
- May be helpful against diarrhea.
- May be a helpful treatment against hysteria.
- May be useful against menopause and pre-menstrual syndrome.
- While not yet conclusively proven, mistletoe is said to possess potent anti-cancer and anti-tumor properties.