Common Names: European mistletoe, Mistletoe, Mystyldene, All-Heal, Birdlime, Devil’s Fuge

European Mistletoe

European mistletoe is a semiparasitic plant that grows on several types of trees in temperate regions worldwide. Where the term “mistletoe” is used in this fact sheet, it refers to European mistletoe. (European mistletoe is different from American mistletoe, which is used as a holiday decoration.)

The medicinal parts of mistletoe are the leaves and twigs collected before the berries form, the fresh herbs of certain host plants, the fresh leafy twigs with fruit collected in the autumn, the whole fresh plant collected from apple trees, the leaves and the berries.

European Mistletoe is approved by Commission E for rheumatism and tumor therapy (adjuvant).

Laboratory studies have found that mistletoe kills cancer cells and stimulates the immune system. The use of mistletoe to treat cancer has been studied in Europe in more than 30 clinical trials. Although improvements in survival or quality of life have been reported, almost all of the trials had major weaknesses in their design that raise doubts about the findings. For example, many of the studies had a small number of participants or did not have a control group.

How Mistletoe Is Used?

The leafy shoots and berries of mistletoe are used to make mistletoe extract that can be taken by mouth.

In Europe, mistletoe extracts are prescription drugs that are given by injection. In the United States, mistletoe by injection is available only in clinical trials.

Folk medicine: For treating degenerative inflammation of the joints and as palliative therapy for malignant tumors through nonspecific stimulation. Other uses include long term therapy for cases of mild high blood pressure and as an arteriosclerosis prophylactic.

European Mistletoe tea may be used for high blood pressure, epilepsy, whooping cough, asthma, vertiginous attack, amenorrhea, diarrhea, chorea, nervous tachycardia, hysteria and nervousness.

Chinese Medicine: The herb is used for joint pain, tendon and muscle pain, lumbago, back pain, vaginal bleeding uring pregnancy and agalactia.

Homeopathic Uses: The drug is used for dizziness, high and low blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmia and joint degeneration.

Mistletoe Herbal Tea

Whole, cut and powdered herb are available in the forms of juice, coated tablets, drops, oil preparations, ampules and compound preparations. It is also used for tea:

Mistletoe herbal tea is among the finest herb teas available. Mistletoe leaves contains certain substances that dilate the blood vessels, which helps to prevent a build up of deposits on the artery walls. This helps prevent symptoms associated with such deposition. Mistletoe may also protect against high blood pressure.

A homemade medicinal tea is prepared using 2.5 gm (1 teaspoonful) finely cut drug with 1 cup cold water, steeped for 12 hours at room temperature, then strained. The dosage of medicinal tea is 1 to 2 cups daily.

European Mistletoe wine is prepared by adding 40 gm drug to 1 liter wine; the preparation is ready for use after 3 days. Mistletoe wine dosage is 3 to 4 glasses daily.

A liquid extract is made in the ratio of 1:1 with diluted ethanol; a tincture is made in the ratio of 1:5 with 45 percent ethanol. Liquid extract dosage is 1 to 3 ml 3 times daily, and the tincture dosage is 0.5 ml 3 times daily.

Side Effects and Cautions

  • Raw, unprocessed mistletoe is poisonous. Eating raw, unprocessed European mistletoe or American mistletoe can cause vomiting, seizures, a slowing of the heart rate, and even death. American mistletoe is unsafe for medicinal use.
  • In countries where commercial mistletoe is available by injection, such as Germany, those extracts are considered to be generally safe when used according to product directions and under the supervision of a health care provider.
  • Injected mistletoe extract may cause itching or redness in the area of the injection. Less commonly, side effects may include more extensive skin reactions, low-grade fevers, or flu-like symptoms. There have been very rare reports of more serious allergic reactions, such as difficulty breathing.
  • Because mistletoe has not yet been proven to be a safe and effective cancer treatment, it should not be used outside of clinical trials.

Read More: Essential Nutrients