Mistletoe was regarded as a sacred plant with magical powers. The Druids and the ancient Greeks considered it to bring good fortune, protect against witchcraft, heal diseases and enhance fertility. They also used it to treat conditions from coughs and headaches to hypertension, menopausal symptoms, arthritis, rheumatism and epileptic seizures. Today, mistletoe is used (mainly in Europe) as a treatment for cancer.
The leaves, twigs and berries of mistletoe are used to make extracts that can be taken by mouth. In Europe, mistletoe extracts to treat cancer are prescription drugs that are given by injection.
Mistletoe’s main active ingredients are compounds called lectins and viscotoxins.
Mistletoe is used to:
- Stimulate the immune system.
- Support the heart.
- Support the blood vessels and protect the body against age-related changes.
- Help all forms of circulatory conditions, from varicose veins and arteriosclerosis to ischaemia (coronary heart disease) and related disorders.
- Decrease platelet aggregation and inhibit the formation of thrombosis.
- Help management of blood pressure.
- Treat coughs, especially convulsive coughs, as well as asthma and asthmatic attacks.
- Relieve symptoms associated with headaches and migraine by improving cerebral circulation and oxygen supply to the brain and the nervous system.
- Laboratory studies have found that mistletoe kills cancer cells and stimulates the immune system.
Flora Force Products containing Mistletoe
Domestic & culinary uses
Mistletoe is not used in cooking.
The mistletoe species used in health treatments is European mistletoe, a semi-parasitic plant that grows on trees in temperate regions worldwide. No records were found of it being grown in South Africa.
- By H. Zell (Own work)