Christmas decorations and holidays are things that come to mind when we say Mistletoe. In America, people relate it to good luck. They use it for decorating their doorways and house during the holiday season.
But there’s more to this herb than just holiday traditions.
Mistletoe is also used as traditional herbal medicine for centuries across the world. In Europe, it is used for treating infertility, epilepsy, hypertension, arthritis, and cancer.
What is Mistletoe?
Viscum Album is the scientific name for Mistletoe. It also goes by names like birdlime, devil’s fuge, golden bough, all heal, mistel, and iscador. Moreover, it is a hemiparasite plant that latches on trees and feeds off them.
People harvest it for its leaves, berries, and stems used for making medicines. There are more than 900 species of it which are under 73 different genres. Some of them are toxic, while some are used for medical purposes.
Mistletoe is consumed as a solution or tea. But they are mostly available in the form of injections.
You can consume around 10mg of mistletoe daily in the form of tea. This dosage is typically utilized to help with hypertension.
Mistletoe Health Benefits
There are many health benefits associated with this plant. Of course, these benefits are based on some research studies and anecdotal reports. However, more evidence is needed to concretely prove them, and mistletoe should never replace any medications or treatment prescribed by your doctor.
Let’s check out some of the potential benefits of mistletoe.
1. Potential for Treating Cancer
As per the studies, mistletoe could help to slow the progression of cancer cells.
Research published in ‘an anti-cancer research journal’ has suggested that it has chemo-preventive properties. Common side effects like numbness, nausea, and hair loss from chemotherapy may be reduced via it’s consumption .
2. Lowers Blood Pressure
Hypertension, growing mental stress, and conditions are affecting millions of people worldwide. Mistletoe helps to lower your blood pressure and ease stress levels on cardiovascular health. It reduces the exertion of your heart and slows down the pulse. This remedy is popular in European and Japanese markets.
3. Promotes Good Sleep
Studies have indicated that mistletoe has anti-diabetic agents that can help in lowering blood glucose levels. The extract from the herb can help stimulate insulin production in the pancreas to regulate body levels.
It has been practiced for generations and is commonly suggested as a natural remedy to control sugar levels for diabetic patients .
4. Treats Respiratory Diseases
Mistletoe has a nerve soothing property that helps to calm down the respiratory system. It may help to soothe distress and uneasiness in the respiratory system. Also, it could be beneficial for chest tightness and bronchitis. On that note, it can calm the symptoms of distress and mental anxiety, which helps to relieve chest tightness and shortness of breath.
5. Boosts Immune System
The herb is beneficial to boost your immunity and prevents outside illness. It has antioxidant, antibacterial, and antiviral properties that help the body defend itself from any illness. It also helps to maintain immune health.
6. Prevents Inflammation
The tinctures of mistletoe have been used for treating body inflammation for decades.
One of the common forms of inflammation is arthritic pain. A small portion of the extract can benefit greatly and reduce pain. Its anti-inflammatory properties are also good for any digestive and gastrointestinal problems.
7. Eases Menstrual Disorders
Mistletoe can help you to ease excessive cramps and menstrual pain. A cup of tea can lower muscle inflammation, cramping, and spasms and release tension. Nonetheless, do seek medical advice before consuming it.
8. Use Topically to Treat Skin Conditions
Mistletoe can help treat skin conditions like varicose veins, eczema, and ulcers on the lower legs by applying its paste onto the skin. It is also best as a pain-killing agent for treating joint pain. You can also use it for bathing purposes.
9. Helps with Anxiety and Depression
Studies also show that mistletoe is an effective remedy for mood swings and conditions like depression and fatigue. Moreover, it acts as a nervine tonic for the body, lowering the stress hormone levels and bringing nervousness down to a manageable level .
10. May Support Hormonal Balance
Mistletoe may help females in balancing their hormones, especially during the menopause phase in terms of symptoms like restlessness, fatigue, and insomnia. Moreover, it can also help women who are facing irregular periods.
It could also help defend against weak bones and fractures during post-menopause conditions like osteoporosis.
Mistletoe Side Effects
There are also a few side effects for which you should be careful:
- It can cause mild fever, slow pulse rate, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, low blood pressure, headache, itching, and increased blood sugar.
- You can also lose appetite if taken in high quantities.
- Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers should not consume it, as it provokes uterine contractions.
- If you have any allergies, high fever, or chronic conditions.
- Tuberculosis (TB) patients should avoid it.
Is Mistletoe Tea Poisonous?
There are more than 900 varieties of mistletoe plants, and some of them are toxic. In addition, the plant contains proteins like Phoratoxin and Viscotoxi, which are poisonous if consumed in large quantities.
Studies also show that American mistletoe is unsafe to consume and can cause blurred vision, drowsiness, and vomiting. European mistletoe is also safe to consume.
Consult a herbalist or your doctor before taking any variety of mistletoe.
Is Mistletoe Tea Safe?
Mistletoe can also be consumed in the form of tea. The leaves and fruits are dried, chopped, and made into a fine tea mixture.
The tea is also rich in active ingredients, and regular consumption in the form of tea may be beneficial.
It is also used for decades and is a popularly recommended medicine for heart problems. It also helps to lower your blood pressure. Moreover, in traditional Chinese medicine, it is used for treating cancer and tumors.
Furthermore, mistletoe tea is best for many healing therapies. It also contains flavonoids and complex phosphatides, which are important for processing carbon hydrates and regaining energy.
Pure herbal tea has a bitter taste, and fruit is added as a natural sweetener.
How to Use Mistletoe Tea
Due to its high potency, mistletoe tea should be consumed in small quantities to get the best results. Limit your daily consumption to 1-2 cups. Furthermore, always follow the recommended dosages printed on the labels of commercial products.
Mistletoe Tea for Weight Loss
Some research also supports that a certain variety of mistletoe plants can help fight against the obesity-related issue. Drinking tea reduces hunger, increases your mobility, and thus can help to reduce up to 4 kgs. More studies are warranted to investigate the effects of mistletoe tea on weight loss.
Bottomline: Benefits and Side Effects of Mistletoe
Mistletoe is a Viscaceae hemiparasite plant. They’ve been used to make herbal extracts and medicines for decades. Moreover, it may help against cancer, reduce cholesterol levels, improve cardiovascular health and female health disorders, and help with anxiety and depression.
However, it can also be dangerous if consumed in large quantities. Hence, consult a natural practitioner or trusted herbalist before adding this to your health regime.
Disclaimer: This article is only a guide. It does not substitute the advice given by your own healthcare professional. Before making any health-related decision, consult your healthcare professional.
Editorial References And Fact-Checking
- Piao, B. K., Wang, Y. X., Xie, G. R., Mansmann, U., Matthes, H., Beuth, J., & Lin, H. S. (2004). Impact of complementary mistletoe extract treatment on quality of life in breast, ovarian and non-small cell lung cancer patients. A prospective randomized controlled clinical trial. Anticancer research, 24(1), 303–309.
- Eisenbraun, J., Scheer, R., Kröz, M., Schad, F., & Huber, R. (2011). Quality of life in breast cancer patients during chemotherapy and concurrent therapy with a mistletoe extract. Phytomedicine : international journal of phytotherapy and phytopharmacology, 18(2-3), 151–157. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.phymed.2010.06.013
- Bowman I. A. (1990). The everlasting mistletoe and the cardiovascular system. Texas Heart Institute journal, 17(4), 310–314.