Mistletoe may conjure up for you visions of smooching couples, Yuletide decorations, celebration and feasting. Or you may not give mistletoe much thought at all. I do hope you find a new appreciation for mistletoe after this post.
Mistletoe is a parasite plant that attaches itself to the bark of hosts trees. In my area of the world, they are most commonly found in hickory trees. It may also be found in apple, pine, oak, etc. It is a winter time plant. If you go out foraging for mistletoe, you will see it growing very near the tops of trees in bundles. Getting it down from the tree is a breeze! Well, it is a breeze if you have a gun, or in my case, a husband with a gun.
My husband and I have made it an annual event each December, just before the solstice to traipse through the woods hunting mistletoe. After he blasts it out of the tree, we run around like kids gathering it up. Now, some say that mistletoe should never touch the ground. However, I can never remember to bring and old sheet to lay under the tree…so, my mistletoe does touch the ground. YIKES!!
There are some precautions to using mistletoe as a medicinal herb. Many people claim that the plant is poisonous and we should all just leave it alone. Others say the berries are poisonous. I don’t know if the berries are truly poison, but they can certainly make you very sick. I would just leave those alone.
For those who are brave, this herb can be used safely. Just remember: NEVER ingest any herb without first consulting your healthcare practitioner! Also, if you are pregnant or nursing, do not use mistletoe.
What can we use mistletoe for besides kissing? Epilepsy, hypertension, internal hemorrhage, infertility, arthritis, and some cancers. It is being used as an injectable drug in Europe to treat certain kinds of cancers, however, it is not available in the USA. The leaves are ground into powder and used as a tea or it can be tinctured to be used as drops for any of its other uses.
When I use mistletoe, I only use the leaves and young twigs dehydrated and ground as finely as I can. I make sure that I don’t use any of the berries. Better safe than sorry, right?
Since mistletoe is not quite an herb and not quite a tree, it has an otherworldly essence. It speaks of the in-between. It is dawn. It is dusk. It is that period of time between seasons. It is balance. Metaphysically, mistletoe is used in protection, healing, love, fertility, and exorcism spells. When it is burned as incense evil is banished. Place a sprig under your pillow to have beautiful dreams.
Mistletoe seems to be often overlooked except at Yuletide; however, it is a powerhouse herb. I believe that more research should be done in the area of mistletoe’s effect on cancer cells. I also hope that you are able to find a bundle of mistletoe and give/receive loads of kisses this holiday season.
Bright blessings, dear ones!