Many people relate mistletoe with decorations for doorways or dropping hints to someone you like to keep the holiday tradition alive.
But do you know that is not all to the mistletoe? In fact, mistletoe has been known by many names over the years. The names go by all-heal, devil’s fugue, drudenfuss, golden bough, birdlime, and iscador.
It is also used in a broader context to heal health and mental disorders. In short, its potent extracts are known for preventing diabetes, promoting good sleep, boosting the immune system, treating skin conditions, and other problems.
Before going into the health benefits of mistletoe, let us first learn what are mistletoe and its different types.
What Is Mistletoe?
Mistletoe belongs to the Viscaceae plant family. It is an evergreen hemiparasitic plant which latches on trees and feeds off them. Its leaves, stems, and berries are harvested. The ayurvedic specialist uses these extracts to make herbal concoctions for treating physiological effects.
The plant has thick, bristly leaves that are lance-shaped or oval. It has dense branches in oval shapes that are two inches long.
Its flowers are found in compact spikes and are regular. They are more yellow compared to the leaves and appear during winters. The seeds are taken by birds and spread to other trees.
Types Of Mistletoe:
It is widely believed that hundreds of mistletoe species are grown around the world. Let us learn more about them:
American mistletoe also known as Phoradendron flavescent is the type of mistletoe that grows around the United States. It is also used as a holiday decoration.
European mistletoe also known as Viscum album is the type of species that have been used for years for preparing herbal medicine.
Loranthus ferrugineus is another species of mistletoe. It is less common and is used for treating high blood pressure and gastrointestinal disorders.
Other species is the Japenese mistletoe also known as Taxillus yadoriki Danser. It is used for treating several antioxidant and antimicrobial agents.
Health Benefits Of Mistletoe:
The health benefits of mistletoe include:
1. Lowers Blood Pressure:
The extract of mistletoe is known to have a great effect on hypertension, a growing mental condition affecting millions of people all over the world.
It helps lower blood pressure and eases the stress on our cardiovascular health, and cut down atherosclerosis impact.
The extracts of mistletoe also help in preventing heart attacks, strokes, and coronary heart diseases. It slows down the pulse and reduces the heart exertion.
These benefits are commonly prevalent in Japanese and European mistletoe species.
2. Anti-cancer Potential:
The most significant impact of mistletoe’s extract benefits is its function of slowing down cancer progression. Studies stated that breast cancer patients are likely to see an improvement in their overall wellbeing with the use of mistletoe.
Another research in China suggests that mistletoe contain chemo-preventive agents known to lower the side effects of chemotherapy like hair loss, nausea, and numbness.
3. Promotes Good Sleep:
Mistletoe has effective nervine properties and has been used for several years. If one is suffering from restlessness or insomnia, then having a strong tea of mistletoe can help induce sleep.
The chemical agents found in mistletoe can affect neurotransmitters release and soothe nervous sleep, and allow a restful sleep. The nervous system is connected to Circadian rhythms and calm down sleep cycle.
4. Treats Respiratory Diseases:
Mistletoe has nerve-soothing properties which make it important to calm down the respiratory system. From treating coughs to sore throats, and bronchial inflammation, it has shown its skill to calm irritation and discomfort in the chest.
5. Prevents Diabetes:
The herb has anti-diabetic agents and has been discovered recently and practised for generations.
Studies have indicated that it can help in lowering blood glucose levels, and others studies suggest that the mistletoe extract can stimulate insulin production in the pancreas which helps in regulating the body levels and reducing the disorder severity.
It is commonly suggested as a natural remedy for diabetic patients.
6. Calms Nervous System:
If you are suffering from depression or anxiety, restlessness, or other mental symptoms, then uses mistletoe as a nervine tonic. It helps lower stress hormone levels and calms your nerves to maintain a balance.
7. Boosts Immune System:
One significant health benefits of mistletoe are the effect it has on the immune system. This is the reason why this plant is used for the treatment of several chronic diseases and also protects from the sickness. The antioxidant, antibacterial, and antiviral agents of the herb protects the body, and strengthen the immune system.
8. Prevents Inflammation:
For several years, the mistletoe tinctures have been used for treating body inflammation. Arthritic pain is one of the common forms of inflammation present in several people, and a portion of this plant can greatly benefit to ease the pain and increase the range of motion as we one ages. The anti-inflammatory agents can be also good for digestive and gastrointestinal problems, too.
9. Eases Menstrual Disorders:
If you are suffering from menstrual pain and cramps, then make use of mistletoe plant. It is a great option. You can brew a mistletoe tea for calming the muscle inflammation, spasms, cramping, and release the tension.
Always seek advice from a health consultant before using a strong nervine remedy like mistletoe. It may be particularly harmful for pregnant woman and those considering getting pregnant.
10. Treats Snoring:
If you snore during your sleep, then you should try a cup of strong mistletoe tea. It soothes the nerves and promotes good sleep while easing respiratory problems. In addition, it can also help in reducing the chances of snoring whilst sleeping.
11. Use Topically To Treat Skin Conditions:
Mistletoe can be used for bathing purpose. You can also apply the paste of mistletoe onto skin for treating varicose veins, eczema, and ulcers on lower legs. Many also believe that mistletoe has pain-killing agents and can be used for treating joint pain when rubbed onto the skin.
12. Treat Anxiety and Depression:
Mistletoes are a powerful remedy to treat mood-related conditions like anxiety, depression, and fatigue, and also cancer treatments. Some studies have revealed that mistletoe can help during the recovering period of cancer patients.
13. Support Hormonal Balance:
Mistletoe is used in the treatment for menopause symptoms like insomnia, restlessness, and fatigue. It also regulates hormones when a woman is experiencing irregular periods.
14. Strengthen Bone And Teeth:
Mistletoe can treat several diseases. Its leaves also contain minerals which can help in strengthening teeth and bones.
15. Prevent Miscarriage During Pregnancy:
Mistletoe leaves help in preventing miscarriage. You may also consult a doctor if you want to use mistletoe leaves to its full benefits for treating bleeding problems during pregnancy.
Interesting Facts About Mistletoe:
This plant is widely odd; in the sense that it is used for other weird reasons. Here are some of them:
- Can be an effective poison- Yes, this is true. When ingested the mistletoe may actually poison animals but not humans. But it can cause blurred vision, seizures, vomiting, and drowsiness.
- Softens skin and hair-There is related evidence that mistletoe extracts when used in beauty products, works as an anti-inflammatory to help keep our hair and skin soft and protected.
- No scent-Do you know mistletoe really doesn’t have a fragrance? Rethink about all those air fresheners, candles, and soaps claiming to have mistletoe smell.
Where To Select And How To Use Mistletoe:
Mistletoe has been used as a dry herb. Dried mistletoe can be used whilst preparing herbal tea. The easiest steps to prepare mistletoe tea is using hot, not boiling water. Several of the tea benefits of mistletoe are listed above.
Mistletoe can also be taken as food or some doctor may prescribe injections.
There are several products of mistletoe or supplements that are available at stores. But choose wisely. Always read the labels well when selecting the herb. Speak to a doctor especially if you are a high blood pressure patient. Remember that the herb is known for causing side effects, especially if you consume its leaves.
The best way to use mistletoe is under the guidance of an experienced herbalist. They may monitor your pulse with a small dosage. If your pulse starts to weaken, then mistletoe may not be suitable for your body.
Here is the correct dosage of mistletoe leaves that you need to follow up with:
- Make use of a small dose of the leaves. Some herbalists use just one or two millilitres of the extract daily in small doses. Low doses are even suggested by doctors as a treatment for cancer.
- The herb or mistletoe fruit is used for preparing tea. The recommended dosage is 10 grams daily.
- The extracts are usually suggested by subcutaneous injection at a dosage of 0.1-30 milligrams, several times in a week.
Side Effects of Mistletoe:
Mistletoe leaves have significant benefits for our health. But, there are certain side effects of using the plant as herbal medicine. These side effects are as follows:
- Mistletoe can lead to diarrhoea.
- Its leaves can cause dry mouth and stomach ache.
- Lead to stomach bloating if taken in medium dose.
- If taken in a higher dose, mistletoe leaves can lead on to lose appetite.
Most people use the mistletoe leaves for its medicinal purpose. But you need to consult a doctor if you notice any of these symptoms after taking the plant.
- Sudden spots on the body.
There are several varieties of mistletoe that are used in herbal medicine. Only buy the mistletoe extracts from a well-trained herbalist. Before adding the herb into your diet, always speak to a health consultant to ensure that it’s great for your health.