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Mistletoe counts a large number ofpropertybeneficial but it is not without contraindications. Here is all the information about the plant, its cultivation and the therapeutic properties of its preparations.
Mistletoe, characteristics of the plant
Themistletoe, botanicallyviscum album, is a plant of the Viscaceae or Santalaceae family.
It is a semi-parasitic shrub that develops spontaneously in the wooded areas of Europe and America. It thrives clinging to host trees such as oak, poplar, apple and hawthorn.
It develops in a bushy, rounded shape, with evergreen branches, flowers gathered in bands and globose berries. The berries contain a viscous liquid (that's where the name comes from); this whitish liquid is potentially toxic. The "medicamentous" part of the plant consists of the herbaceous part (from the leafy twigs). The berries are not usable and should be kept out of the reach of children.
Themistletoeit is a very versatile natural remedy: it is useful in case of gastrointestinal problems, hypertension and, recent researches have shown its immunotherapeutic properties: some of the active ingredients contained in the mistletoe would be able to stop the proliferation of cancer cells. Due to these properties, mistletoe is considered an anticancer plant.
Mistletoe-based infusions are used to improve the efficiency of the circulatory system (to improve the flow of blood to the brain) and to stimulate diuresis.
Mistletoe remedies are also used to counter gastrointestinal problems, to reduce stress and to alleviate cases of affection affecting the respiratory tract.
Mistletoe is used in the form of non-alcoholic extraction, in the form of bud extract or in the form of medicinal herb for infusions. The infusion times are about 10 minutes and it is recommended to take 2 or 3 cups a day. Each cup is prepared with 300 ml of boiling water and a tablespoon of medicinal herb.
Contraindications of Mistletoe
This plantit is not withoutcontraindications:it should be avoided both in case of any ascertained hypersensitivity towards some components of the plant, and in the case in which drugs are taken; If you are taking medications such as anticoagulants, immunosuppressants and antidepressants, you would do well to consult your doctor before starting any administration of mistletoe products.
As we have seen with the berries, the other plant parts of the mistletoe also have a certain toxicity: the doses must always be controlled! Berries should be avoided because if ingested they can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
How to take mistletoe
A dry preparation for herbal teas and a non-alcoholic extraction (tincture) are obtained from the plant.
- The mistletoe-based herbal tea is prepared by boiling a cup of water to which a tablespoon of dried herb will be added. During the infusion (lasting about 10 minutes), keep the cup covered, then filter and mix hot.
- ThereViscum album tinctureallows you to benefit from all the active principles of mistletoe using a few drops.
Viscum album tincture is not easy to find, in fact you can only buy it in the most well-stocked herbalist's shops or by taking advantage of the online purchase. On Amazon, for example, a 50 ml bottle of 100% pure product is offered at a price of about 15 euros.
The anticancer properties
Research conducted in 2014 on breast cancer cell lines (in vitro) showed that the concomitant administration of doxorubicin and lectin extracted from mistletoe gives rise to an antitumor action. The concomitance of these active ingredients would slow down or even block the proliferation of malignant cells. Despite this research, other authors claim that the studies performed on anticancer properties mistletoe are not sufficient to confirm its real therapeutic efficacy; despite the discrepancy of opinions, in some European countries (such as Switzerland), the mistletoe it is used in preparations used as adjuvants in conventional anticancer therapy.