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Mistletoe - application and effects

Mistletoe - application and effects

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Mistletoe has always been said to have a health-promoting effect. A tea from the medicinal plant regulates blood pressure, relieves cramps, helps against heart failure and dizziness. It stimulates the metabolism and has long been a fixture in gynecology. The infusion can be mixed well with other teas. For example, marjoram, marigolds, willow bark or horsetail come into question.

The mistletoe - a half parasite

The mistletoe grows on deciduous and coniferous trees, especially on poplar, apple, fir and robinia. Mistletoe is half parasite, they do photosynthesis themselves, but use the water of the host tree. However, they do not destroy “their” trees.

The leaf mistletoe prefers apple trees, the fir mistletoe prefers the silver fir and the pine mistletoe likes to grow on pine, larch and spruce. Mistletoe is reproduced by birds, especially thrushes. The largest German thrush is aptly called mistle thrush. It eats the fruit, the seed passes through the digestive tract and sticks to the host tree with the feces.

Evolution has given the berries sticky flesh. The birds have to clean their beaks and drape the seeds on tree branches. The seeds are indigestible and the birds give them away with the feces.

The mistletoe shrub is about one meter high. The light green branches form a ball. In late autumn sticky, white berries sprout, which is reflected in the Latin name "viscum = sticky".

The flowers of the mistletoe are yellowish and smell a bit of orange. Male and female flowers differ externally and grow on separate trees.

Plant of myths

Mistletoe was considered a magical plant in various cultures. This is evidenced by names such as "ghost rod", "witch broom" or "druid foot". The people believed that this plant should never touch the ground, which is why it was named the "child of heaven". The designation may go back to the thrushes, which eat the berries, continue to fly, then excrete the mistletoe and bring them to other places.

The close relationship between mistletoe and birds was no stranger to our ancestors. The witch's nest, another name for the plant, was also known as bird mistletoe or bird glue wood.

The mistletoe balls show their full splendor only in winter. Like other evergreen plants, whether Christmas tree or holly, it stood for life that defies the cold.

In the magical medicine of the Middle Ages, mistletoe was used as a remedy for epilepsy: it did not fall off the tree, so the “drop addict” did not fall over - so the logic behind it. The anthroposophist Rudolf Steiner thought in similar superstitious analogies. He concluded from the fact that the plant "spreads like an ulcer" that it is suitable for cancer therapy.

Mistletoe (lat. Viscum album) was considered a panacea. Pastor Kneipp used it as a circulatory support. Hildegard von Bingen made a so-called "mistletoe mucus" from it, which should help with liver problems. Hippocrates also used the mistletoe for medicinal purposes.

Even today in Britain, a branch of mistletoe over the front door serves as protection against evil spirits. A freshly prepared mistletoe infusion shows a variety of positive health effects.

What is it about the magic plant?

Far from the old magic belief, healing effects of mistletoe have been scientifically proven. Today, it helps stabilize blood pressure and relieves cardiovascular problems. Mistletoe therapy is used for diseases of the metabolism and even for cancer therapies.

Gynecology uses mistletoe preparations against menstrual problems, menstrual pain and menopause complaints.

Preparation of mistletoe tea

The tea is made from the herb of mistletoe and is generally prepared as a cold extract. Because the infusion loses too many medicinal substances through boiling or brewing, and the weakly toxic substances (such as viscotoxin) are not dissolved by a cold approach and therefore do not pose any danger.

Basic recipe for mistletoe infusion:
  1. Put a heaped teaspoon of sliced ​​mistletoe into a cup of cold water
  2. Let the mixture stand overnight
  3. Filter the water through a sieve the next day
  4. Warm up the mixture slightly (do not cook!)
  5. Drink the tea in small sips

Danger: Mistletoe berries are highly toxic and therefore must not be used.

Healing effects

Mistletoe regulates blood pressure, we can drink it when the blood pressure is too high or too low. It promotes digestion and stimulates the metabolism. The protein compounds in the mistletoe promote the body's defenses. The tea inhibits blood flow and thus helps against heavy monthly bleeding.

Mistletoe stimulates the metabolism and is therefore considered complementary medicine in the treatment of diabetes mellitus. The treatment of hardening of the arteries (arteriosclerosis) can also be supplemented with mistletoe tea. Drunk cold, it relieves pollen allergy and hay fever.

Furthermore, the use of medicinal plant infusion has proven itself for dizziness, ringing in the ears and inner restlessness.

Tea blends with mistletoe

To treat high blood pressure, at least half a liter of tea should be drunk per day. In this case, a mixture with hawthorn flowers and horsetail herb can also be helpful.

Recipe for high blood pressure tea

For 2 cups you need:

  • 1 tsp mistletoe
  • 1/2 tsp hawthorn flowers
  • 1/2 tsp horsetail herb
  • 1 cup of cold water
  • 1 cup of boiling water

Preparation: Pour the cold water over the mistletoe and let the infusion steep for 8 hours. Put the remaining herbs in a jug and brew them with the boiling water. After 10 minutes, mix the cold mistletoe and infusion and strain the tea. Drink one cup of the warm drink each morning and evening.

In the event of increased menstrual bleeding or constant nosebleeds, the mistletoe chew is mixed with a teaspoon of sage, put on cold for eight hours and then drunk warm. Danger: If the bleeding is possibly due to a serious cause and / or there is no improvement, a doctor should be consulted.

To combat age-related heart failure, the medicinal plant can be mixed with hawthorn and wild garlic. The marigold in combination with the mistletoe helps against circulatory problems, dizziness, headaches and indigestion.

Mistletoe tea for external use

Mistletoe tea can be applied externally or added to bath water. Envelopes with a tea from the medicinal plant make rheumatic pain more bearable, are a proven home remedy for varicose veins and help with eczema.

Important information for collectors

Mistletoe is not protected. Anyone who collects them for commercial purposes requires approval from the authorities. Important: Collectors must not damage the host tree. Sawing off branches to get to the nests is prohibited for ecological reasons. (sw, nr)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Susanne Waschke, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch


  • Pia Dahlem, Gabi Freiburg: The Great Book of Tea, Moewig, 2000
  • Ursel Bühring: Practical textbook of modern herbal medicine, Haug, 2011
  • Cooperation phytopharmaceuticals: Mistletoe (accessed: August 30, 2019), cooperation phytopharmaceuticals

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