Mistletoe is toxic, yet it is debatable whether it may cause death. All parts of the plant (berries, stems, and leaves) are poisonous. When mistletoe is consumed, it includes phoratoxin and viscotoxin, both of which are toxic proteins. These toxins can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, dizziness, and difficulty breathing. Because of the danger of consuming mistletoe, you should never eat it or drink tea made from it.
If you come into contact with mistletoe in any other way, seek medical help immediately. The botanical name for mistletoe is _mittanthemum_. It contains chemicals that block certain cells and tissues in the body's immune system and also contain anti-cancer agents. Research shows that these chemicals may be able to treat a variety of cancers.
Mistletoe is not recommended during pregnancy or if you have a history of kidney problems. If you do decide to try it anyway, only eat a small amount and monitor your urine for changes that may indicate trouble with your kidneys. Do not use mistletoe if you are breastfeeding or intend to breastfeed. There has been no evidence that mistletoe poses any risk to infants who consume it through their mother's milk.
Mistletoe is considered an invasive species in some areas of the United States.
According to most experts, all parts of the plant can be poisoned, but the berries are most hazardous. Other investigations have revealed comparable outcomes, suggesting that while mistletoe can be poisonous, its fatal reputation is overstated. The bottom line is that mistletoe is not poisonous. It may cause irritation to some people and interfere with blood clotting, but this does not mean it should be avoided.
Mistletoe Containing Toxic Chemicals The phoratoxin toxin found in Phoradendron species can induce impaired vision, nausea, stomach discomfort, diarrhea, blood pressure abnormalities, and even death. Toxic compounds are more concentrated in the leaves and berries. None of these substances are completely removed during processing, so some residue will remain after drying.
The seeds are also toxic but less so than the berries. Exposure to the seed coatings may cause gastrointestinal problems such as vomiting and diarrhea. In large doses, the seeds can be toxic to the heart through a mechanism that has not been determined.
The roots contain resin that irritates the skin and eyes and the fungus-infected trees exhibit ropy tendrils that seek out other trees for infection. Mistletoe is considered an invasive plant species in many parts of the world and is difficult or impossible to eradicate.
Its spread by humans is either accidental or intentional. Some people believe that if they hang up mistletoe branches outside their homes, it will bring them good luck. This is not true; mistletoe is a parasite that uses our resources without giving back. Its spread indicates that we are doing something wrong. Please do not release mistletoe into wild areas; this practice should be stopped because it threatens the survival of these plants.
People have used mistletoe for medicinal purposes since ancient times.
Humans are poisoned by mistletoe berries and all components of the plant. Birds, on the other hand, feed on mistletoe berries and use the plant for protection and nesting. The plant also serves as a host plant for the Great Purple Hairstreak butterfly caterpillar. Mistletoes contain toxic chemicals that kill other plants around them, which could damage or destroy food sources if used in large quantities.
Birds eat the berries to obtain nutrients they would otherwise not find elsewhere. They also use the mistletoe as protection from predators with its sticky seeds adhering to whatever surface they land on. Insects eat the berries and leave their bodies hanging from branches as a warning to other animals not to touch them. Humans can collect the berries for food or medicine. In some countries where it is used for traditional medicine, only trained professionals should harvest the mistletoe because of its toxicity.
Mistletoe has been used for centuries in various cultures across the world because of this ability to attract birds and insects. It has been used as bait for hunting, because the birds and insects feel threatened when they see the mistletoe attached to a tree and will come to harm themselves by eating it. Today scientists are studying how the poison in mistletoe may help treat cancer and other diseases.
Birds protect the mistletoe by eating the berries and then using their feathers to create a protective layer around the seed pods.
These and other mistletoe berries contain toxic chemicals that are harmful to many animals, including humans. European mistletoe grows best on apple trees, poplars, willows, lindens, and hawthorns. It is also invasive in some areas, especially where it is not wanted such as gardens and parks.
Mistletoe has been used for medicinal purposes since ancient times. Modern research has shown that the plant contains compounds with cancer-fighting properties. A decoction of mistletoe leaves was once used to treat leukemia. Today, an extract derived from the seeds is used to treat cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy or chemotherapy.
Mistletoe has long been associated with good luck. The old tradition is based on the idea that if you hit a tree with your foot while wearing mittens filled with mistletoe berries, you will receive money as a gift. This is why people wear mistletoe during Christmas time - as a symbol of goodwill toward others.
In Europe, mistletoe usually shows up during December and January. However, it can be found anywhere between early summer and late fall if there are apple trees around.
If you come across mistletoe in its full bloom state, be sure to take pictures because it's beautiful!