The mistletoe of the U.S. is the phorandendron flavenscens, the Oklahoma state flower.
Mistletoe is a true vegetable parasite which sends suckers penetrating through the bark of the host tree, thus obtaining nourishment from it.
In the Dark Ages, superstition surrounded this plant. It was considered sacred because of a belief that mistletoe did not grow from seeds but from bird droppings, because it grew only high in the trees and never on the ground.
People hung it around their necks and from the ceilings of their homes to repel witchcraft and ward off evil spirits. Mistletoe is still used today in many homes at Christmastime.
The Saxons, at the commencement of the New Year, distributed mistletoe plants among the people as a sacred relic; it was deemed a panacea against every disease and remedy for poisons.
Birds eat the fruit.
Mistletoe also produces a substance known as bird-lime which is excessively sticky and is used on fly-papers.
The WHOLE PLANT is used, leaves, berries, and twigs. It should be gathered when the berries are ripe and, after drying, kept in air-tight containers.
Its principal use is as a nervine.
Mistletoe is considered a specific in chorea. Its nervine and tonic properties make it of great value in epilepsy, convulsions, hysteria, delirium, nervous debility, or any trouble caused by weakness or disordered state of the nervous system; it quiets the nerves, will lessen cerebral excitement, and will favorably influence febrile conditions. Make a decoction using 1 oz. herb to 1 pt. water and take from 1 to 3 T. (according to age) every 1, 2, or 3 hours. There will be no unpleasant reaction as with bromides.
A good remedy for nervous troubles is made by simmering 1/2 oz. of each mistletoe, valerian rt., and vervain herb in 1% pts. water for 10 min. Strain and take 2 T. 3 times daily.
If the digestive organs are weak, add a little cayenne.
During parturition, when pains are light, it produces prompt uterine contractions, will anticipate hemorrhage, and will assist in the expulsion of the placenta, when retained. In all uterine hemorrhages, it is useful.
Its antispasmodic properties will be useful in the relief of asthma, epilepsy, and other spasmodic conditions.