Mistletoe the Plant

Karen Frazier
mistletoe

Did you know that mistletoe, the plant, has been used for decades as a natural way to treat certain health conditions?

American Mistletoe

It is important to make a distinction between European mistletoe and American mistletoe. American mistletoe is the mistletoe used for Christmas decorations. All parts of American mistletoe, the plant, are poisonous to humans.

European Mistletoe the Plant

European mistletoe is a semi-parasitic plant that grows attached to the branches of trees or shrubs. It is European mistletoe, the plant, that is used in herbal preparations.

The leafy shoots and berries of the mistletoe are made into extracts that are used to treat a variety of conditions. In Europe, mistletoe extracts are available by prescription only, and injected in a clinical setting for the treatment of cancer. The extract form of the mistletoe is called Iscadore, and has been used in the treatment of cancer since the 1920s. While Iscadore is widely used in Europe for the treatment of cancer, there is criticism that no double blind clinical trials have been conducted to verify its efficacy as a treatment.

In the United States, mistletoe extracts are available only in clinical trials.

Herbal Uses of Dried Mistletoe

Dried mistletoe is an herbal treatment that has been used for hundreds of years as a means of treating headaches and seizures.

Dried mistletoe doesn't appear to have cancer-fighting properties; however, teas and tinctures made from dried mistletoe have been used as herbal treatments for centuries.

Mistletoe is believed to lower blood pressure and slow the pulse. Because of this, it has been used in the treatment of high blood pressure symptoms like headaches and dizziness, although it is not a specific treatment for the condition of high blood pressure - only its symptoms. It has also been used traditionally as a treatment for arthritis and snoring.

Cautions

Mistletoe can stimulate uterine contractions, so it shouldn't be used during pregnancy. It is best to consult an herbal health-care specialist before taking or administering mistletoe. If you do take mistletoe, never take it in its plant form. Purchase it from a reliable seller of herbs.

Mistletoe the Plant