Herbarium: Mistletoe

wiki Mistletoe_with_berriesViscum coloratum
European Mistletoe

As an Anamcara, Tadhg’s specialism is liminality, covering mind, body and spirit; and one way this is used to benefit discerning men and women is through the use of herbs for physical, mind, spiritual and ‘locational’ benefits. What follows, then, is information regarding Mistletoe from a traditional herbalist’s point of view.

Mistletoe is one of my favourites. Surrounded by ‘myth and magic’, bound up in history and the Christmas ‘rituals’ of kissing under it, it has some amazing properties for those with ailments, or those who require it for its  ‘locational’ benefits around the house etc.

Name & Description
The English name is said to have come from the Anglo-Saxon Misteltan, mistel from ‘mist’ and tan meaning ‘twig’. The plant is called Herbe de la Croix in Brittany as legend has it that Jesus’s cross came from its wood.

Mistletoe is an evergreen, plant found on the branches of deciduous trees. Roots growing from the yellowish-green, forked stem penetrate through the bark into the wood of the host. The leaves are opposite, leathery, yellow-green, and narrowly obovate. Pale yellow or green flowers appear from March to May.

Mistletoe ‘is under the dominion of the Sun, with something of the nature of Jupiter…’
Nicholas Culpeper, 1653

Mistletoe, especially at Christmastime, is associated with kissing. Many trace this custom back to the Greeks who used mistletoe in the Saturnalia festival. Mistletoe also figures in a Scandinavian legend of Balder, the god of Peace, who was killed with an arrow of mistletoe. He was restored to life, and mistletoe was then given to the goddess of Love, and it was ordained that everyone who passed under it should receive a kiss, to show that the branch had become an emblem of love, and not of hate. Something to think about, this Christmastime. And, ancient Celts, and their Druids used branches of the Mistletoe to announce the entrance of the new year, and as a protection against evil, especially (but not only) by hanging it from the ceiling.

It is said to have the following properties:

  • antispasmodic [relieves or eases muscular spasms]
  • cardio-tonic [stimulates or otherwise affects the heart]
  • diuretic [increases the volume and flow of urine which cleanses the urinary system]
  • emetic [causes vomiting]
  • hypotensive [lowers blood pressure]
  • narcotic [relieves pain and induces sleep]
  • nervine [has a calming or soothing effect on the nerves]
  • stimulant [excites or quickens the functional activity of the tissues giving more energy]
  • tonic [tones, strengthens and invigorates, giving a feeling of well-being]
  • vasodilator [widens the blood vessels, lowering blood pressure]

Hippocrates and 17th centuary herbalist Culpepper prescribed it for disorders of the spleen.

Uses (previously)
It has been said, formerly, to have been used in the treatment of breast cancer and/or for the side effects of chemotherapy in Europe, for heart conditions, lowering blood pressure, epilepsy, gout, depression and sleep disorders, tinnitus, dizziness, feelings of anxiety etc. However, even formerly, if the dosage was misjudged, then vomiting, diarrhoea and cramping etc could follow, and it wasn’t used for those that were pregnant or breast-feeding. It is for these reasons and others, including the fact that the US Food and Drug Administration lists this plant as ‘unsafe’ and the UK MHRA has Mistletoe berries on its list of banned substances, that we don’t suggest, nor use it (as a tincture) for internal or external bodily usage. We do, however, suggest it for use for ritual and ceremonial purposes (whether formal or informal), and ‘locational’ purposes around the house eg in rooms, home altar etc, workplace, faith-group meeting place.

‘It could have been the steeple bell, that wrapped us up within it’s spell. It only took one kiss to know… It must have been the mistletoe!’
Barbara Mandrell, It Must Have Been The Mistletoe

Current uses
For ritual, ceremony or for ‘locational purposes’, we currently use Mistletoe for the purposes mentioned above, but not in tincture form, as well as for:

  • dispelling negativity by hanging from ceilings etc
  • romance, love and fertility
  • healing
  • protection against evil

It us usual to combine it with an aromatic. Mistletoe can be combined with:

  • Thyme (an enhancer of the main constituent). Thyme also brings the benefits of rest, tranquillity and peace.
  • Myrrh. Myrrh has similar benefits to Mistletoe but also encourages deep spirituality, and is therefore popular for rituals and ceremony.
  • Sage. A sage ‘bundle’ used to ‘smudge’ can ‘hold’ the Mistletoe well, and is said to have the added benefit of making dreams come true.

It can be bought from Tadhg as:

z herbal ais 665 Untitled-1 copy 7

What to do now
For more information about mistletoe and to book a consultation for a herbal prescription and quantity of it, in this case for ritual and ‘locational’ uses only, wherever you are do please contact Tadhg direct.

Tadhg’s work is complementary and not alternative to allopathic medicine. Although we use mistletoe externally for ritual and ‘locational’ purposes, should you have an ailment do see your health practitioner, and should you have done so already and have been given advice and/or medicine, do please continue to use it until told otherwise by them. And remember, ‘intentionality’ is always important when it comes to a herbs effectiveness. Photographs used above are for representational purposes only. Do not self-medicate. Information here is for informational purposes only. E&OE.

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