Mistletoe is a common decoration during the holidays and most of us associate it with kissing. Anyone standing beneath the mistletoe should be ready to pucker up. But this plant is not only made for this holiday party tradition as it is indeed a gift from nature.
Health Benefits of Mistletoe You Probably Don’t Know About
Mistletoe is considered a hemiparasitic plant, which means it can perform photosynthesis, but most of its nutrients come from its host which is a shrub or a tree. Although this may make mistletoe a negative plant, it can provide us humans with a ton of benefits:
Good for the Skin
Mistletoe can provide nourishment for our skin. It can also help us combat fast aging and can protect the skin from free radicals. Mistletoe works as an antiseptic, so it can be used to fight breakouts. What’s really good about this plant is that it is mild and does not irritate the skin.
Works for Minor Problems
If you have been bitten by a bug or you have warts, mistletoe can help you with your skin problem. The plant, particularly the juniper variety, has been used to sooth bug bites and warts after it has been turned into a lotion or cream. Navajo medicine also uses mistletoe to ease stomach pains.
Useful for Hair Growth
For people with brittle and thinning hair, there are products that use mistletoe to help strengthen the hair follicles. The extract from the plant is often used as an alternative to shampoo and can be used alongside hair conditioners.
May Treat Cancer
Research team from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine studied whether or not the extract from mistletoe is an effective treatment against cancer, particularly colon and liver cancer. According to the researchers, the patient who underwent the treatment using mistletoe extract injection started to feel better after the treatment. After the study, the cancer patient no longer had liver cancer after her operation. Surgery, diet, exercise, and the mistletoe treatment were credited for her quick turnaround. The Food and Drug Administration has not yet approved the treatment, however.
Although there are products that use mistletoe as an ingredient in teas, the plant is inedible. If you eat the plant or its berries, it can cause poisoning especially in children. Make sure you stay away from this plant and keep your cat or dog away from it as well to prevent gastrointestinal upset and other problems.