Habitat & Cultivation : Indigenous to Europe and northern Asia, mistletoe thrives on host trees, with a particular affinity for apple trees (Malus species). The harvesting of mistletoe typically takes place in the autumn season.
Parts Used : Leaves, branches, berries.
Constituents : Mistletoe comprises glycoproteins, polypeptides (known as viscotoxins), lectins, flavonoids, caffeic acids, other acids, lignans, acetylcholine, and polysaccharides found particularly in the berries. The viscotoxins play a role in inhibiting tumors and boosting immune resistance.
History & Folklore : Within Norse mythology, a mistletoe bough played a significant role in the demise of Balder, the god of peace. Following this event, the plant was placed under the care of the goddess of love, and a tradition emerged where kissing beneath it became a compulsory practice.
Medicinal Actions & Uses : Mistletoe finds primary use in reducing blood pressure and heart rate, alleviating anxiety, and facilitating better sleep. When administered in low doses, it proves effective in relieving panic attacks, mitigating headaches, and enhancing concentration. Mistletoe is further recommended for conditions like tinnitus and epilepsy, and it may be employed to address hyperactivity in children. In the realm of anthroposophical medicine, extracts from mistletoe berries are injected as a treatment for cancer.
Research : Extensive research has been conducted to explore the potential of mistletoe as an anti-cancer treatment. While certain constituents, particularly the viscotoxins, undeniably demonstrate anti-cancer activity, the comprehensive recognition of the entire plant’s value in cancer treatment remains a matter of ongoing investigation and is not universally accepted.