The common mistletoe (Viscum album L.) is a hemiparasite, evergreen plant, native to Europe, North Asia and North Africa. It should not be mixed up with yellow mistletoe or Loranthus europaeus that grows on oak trees and can be recognized from its yellow color. That one is not an herb and is a deciduous plant. The common mistletoe is hanging on the guest tree in different forms and its diameter can reach 3m, its height 1m and it lives up to 70 years. The flowers appear at the bottom of the leaves between March and May and are yellow color. The fruit of mistletoe is a white, semitransparent berry that appears in November-December. It is toxic for us, but the titmouse and the throstle like it very much. The fruit has one large seed embedded in the very sticky, glutinous fruit pulp. It sprouts only on branched, but not in water or soil. The sticky juice was used to make birdlime, an adhesive to trap small animals or birds.
Flavonoids, caffeic acid, saponin, alcaloids, resin, choline, acetylcholine, lectin, polipeptide, viscotoxin and in the fruit polysacharides. The lectin and the viscotoxin in large dosis are toxic substances. Do not exceed recommended daily dosis!
The mistletoe is one of our first plant. The Celts respected it as a sacred plant, cut its branches with golden sickle so that the rust won’t hurt its miraculous effect. In order not to touch the ground, it was picked into a white canvas held by virgin girls. The rare mistletoe gathered from oak tree had a very high value among Celts, it was collected on the 5th day of Celtic New Year, in January. It made Germanic warriors invulnerable; if hanged over the craddle it protected new-born babies from evil fairies who meant to exchange the child. Young girls hid mistletoe under their pillows on midsummer night in order to find out the identity of their future husbands. It was the symbol of eternity of the world and imortality of the soul. According to the anglo-saxon tradition people meeting under a mistletoe must kiss each other. This is a gesture of forgiveness and love, based on Scandinavian legends.
Leaves and twigs thinner than 5mm can be collected from November to February. Its active substances depend on the time of picking and on the guest tree. For instance the mistletoe picked from an apple tree or hawthorn is more effective antihypertensive and against uric acid. Wildcrafting mistletoe is a hard job. It need to be cut, then dried without berries. The woody parts dry slowly. In order to avoid mold, keep it in a dry and airy space.
Do not collect mistletoe from maple, linden, walnut, willow or poplar tree.
Mistletoe can be widely used, first of all as a remedy for congestion, hypertension, arteriosclerosis and heart arrythmia symptomes. Mistletoe improves the permeability of veins, that is why we use it against vertigo, tinnitus, varicose and to improve concentration skills. It also has a diuretic effect. It tempers any kind of bleeding from wounds, nose, uterus or lungs. It can be used for coughing, whoop, asthma or for any other cramp. Due to its tranquillizer effect it might prevent epileptic fits or headaches. Mistletoe strengthens the immunity system. It strengthens the musculature of the uterus and increases the chance of conception. In a small dosis mistletoe is recommended to diabetes, since it decreases the sugar level in blood.
Herb tea: do not prepare hot tea form mistletoe. Macerate 3 g of dried plant in 2,5 dl distilled or lime-free water for 12 hours. Steep it in the evening, strain in the morning and drink it cold or tepid before breakfast.
For hypertension or arteriosclerosis 1 cup daily on empty stomach is recommended. Those suffering in cardiovascular diseases should drink 1 cup before going to bed, 1-3 times a week. For unsteady blood pressure drink mistletoe tea 2-3 times a week on empty stomach. In order to strengthen you uterus, make a 4-week-cure and consume 3 times daily 1 spoon of mistletoe tincture. To prevent any diseases and to strengthen your immunity system, is enough to drink 2-3 cups monthly, which needs to be prepared and consumed in the way explained above. Mistletoe is a medicinal plant, but its use demands special attention.
Medicinal wine: 40 g fresh mistletoe macerated in 1 l sweet white wine for 10 days at room’s temperature. Drink one glass twice a day before meal. Make a 15-day-long cure twice a year.
External use: warm boultice made of mistletoe leaves and mashed berries is used for vasoconstriction, varicse vain or arthralgy.
Already the famos Swiss doctor, Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) has used mistletoe for treating cancer. According to the newest German researches the mistletoe has citostatic (cell protecting) and immune system strengthening effects and prevents formation of metastasis.