Mistletoe (Viscum album)
Mistletoe is synonymous with Christmas, often seen hanging from ceilings, encouraging those who stand beneath it to kiss. To whom we owe this kissing tradition is not known, but the hanging of Mistletoe dates back to the rituals performed by the early Celtic tribes and druids, when it was used in ceremonies as a ‘cure-all’ and fertility enhancer, and later hung from ceilings to ward off evil spirits.
European mistletoe (leaves) is the variety commonly used by herbalists here in Australia, and it is often prescribed for its action on the cardiovascular and circulatory system. It helps to lower blood pressure and heart rate. It also has a stimulating effect on the digestive system and calms the nerves.
Traditionally, large doses of the fresh plant was used to promote labour as it stimulates the uterus to contract, however this is a rare practice in modern times.
In Europe Mistletoe is sometimes used in the support of cancer treatment. This gained notoriety in 1916 when Rudolf Steiner first advocated the use of fermented mistletoe extract injections to minimise the effect of chemotherapy and enhance the immune system, however this is practice rarely used outside of Germany.
The main active ingredients on Mistletoe are lectins and viscotoxins (polypeptides) however the concentration of these ingredients varies depending on where and when the Mistletoe is harvested.
|Grossarth-Maticek R, Kiene H, Baumgartner SM, Ziiegler R. Use of Iscador, an extract of European mistletoe (Viscum album), in cancer treatment: prospective nonrandomized and randomized matched-pair studies nested within a cohort study. Alternative therapies in health and medicine. 2001 May-June; 7(3).
|Lust J. The Herb Book: The Complete and Authoritative Guide to More than 500 Herbs New York: Benedict Lust Publications; 2005.
|Bone K. A clinical guide to blending liquid herbs: Churchill Livingstone; 2003.
Please note: This post does not serve as a prescription, rather as information to increase awareness of herbal medicine and empower you as an individual. Always consult with your health practitioner before making decisions about taking remedies.