Modern herbal use
In the modern era mistletoe, as a medicine, has become somewhat shunned by many, not least because of a reputation as a poisonous plant.
But most plants with significant medical properties are also rather poisonous, so whilst it is right to be wary, that’s no reason to doubt its value.
Mistletoe is still regularly used in many medicinal forms, some more obvious than others.
The most significant modern use of mistletoe in herbal from is as a tea.
Taking mistletoe tea to help relieve blood pressure and circulatory problems is actually very widespread in continental Europe – and most continental pharmacies and shops selling herbal teas will offer you mistletoe tea in loose or bagged form.
This tea has never been popular in Britain however, perhaps because of those concerns about toxicity. But if you want to try it there are many ways of buying it online.
There’s a link to a supplier via Amazon here.
You may be using mistletoe without knowing it!
Some skin cosmetics, shampoos etc contain mistletoe, though it’s rarely mentioned on the main label.
Have a look at the small print ingredients, and see if you can spot it – it will be usually listed under the scientific name of Viscum album.
Mistletoe also features in herbal medicine for animals. Indeed there is a long history of mistletoe being used for fertility treatment in farm animals (and, conversely, to induce abortion in them – so this cannot be recommended!).
Modern herbal veterinary medicine uses focus more on the belief (which goes back centuries) that mistletoe can help calm nerves.
So, for example, you’ll find mistletoe is an ingredient in herbal calming tablets for your dog or cat.
Important note: If you’re buying mistletoe as a herbal product make sure you know which mistletoe species it is from. Within Europe it is almost always Viscum album but in other areas other species might be used and their properties may be different.. Buy from reputable firms with proper labelling – some websites (especially some Ebay suppliers) do not specify a species – and so their product could be very unsafe. Always read the label on medicines, and obtain professional medical advice if in any doubt.