Mistletoe (Viscum, Iscador®)
I found this post in my files. If anyone recognizes it, let me know. In the meantime, it’s interesting knowledge to share.
“The day that is no day calls for a tree
That is no tree, of low yet lofty growth.
When the pale queen of Autumn casts her leaves
My leaves are freshly tufted on her boughs.
Look, the twin temple-posts of green and gold
The overshadowing lintel stone of white
For here with white and green and gold I shine –
Graft me upon the King when his sap rises
That I may bloom with him at the year’s prime,
That I may blind him in his hour of joy.”
– Robert Graves, The White Goddess
NAMES: Mistletoe – True Mistletoe – All-Heal – Heal-All – Holy Wood – Golden Bough – Druid’s Weed – Witches’ Broom – Wood of the Holy Cross – Devil’s Fugue – Birdlime – Lignum Sanctae Crucis – Omnia Sanantem
Host trees include apple, pear, poplar, linden and oak. It is usually found high on the tree, especially on soft-barked apple, willow and poplar trees.
Blooms from February to May with greenish or yellow flowers. The fruit is a small, round, transparent white berry with a black seed in viscous pulp. The berries ripen in late fall and stay on the plant all winter. Propagate by crushing the sticky berries against the bark of a tree. Birds, especially the thrush, spread mistletoe by wiping their beaks on trees after they have eaten the berries.
Primitive Aryans considered the sun’s fire an emanation of the mistletoe.
The Eye of the Year was blinded with a mistletoe stake in ancient Europe.
A Bronze Age burial found in England contained a skeleton covered with oak branches and mistletoe. The two plants have been associated with one another and held sacred in Britain since prehistoric times.
Mistletoe, rare on oak trees, was considered especially sacred when found on one. Mistletoe was the soul of the tree, the semen and life-essence of the oak.
The Latin word viscusas well as the Greek word ixias refer to the spermal viscosity of its berries. These words are connected with the words vis and ischu, which mean strength (hence Viscum and Iscador). The juice of mistletoe berries, seen as oak sperm when harvested from oak trees, was believed to have regenerative powers.
Robert Graves writes in Greek Myths I:
“As an oak king with mistletoe genitals representing the thunder god, he ritually married the rain-making Moon Goddess; and then was scourged, so that his blood and sperm would fructify the earth, beheaded with an axe, emasculated, spread-eagled to a tree, and roasted; after which his kinsmen ate him sacramentally.”
Mistletoe is sacred to Manannan, and to Ischys, Asculepius, Ixion,
Polycidus and Chylus, all personifications of the curative powers of the genitals of the oak tree.
Mistletoe and loranthus were the regenerative herbs of Asclepius.
Aeneas descended to the underworld to question his father holding a bough of mistletoe.
Mistletoe was the sacred, holy herb of the Druids. They ascribed it to the Moon and believed it to be the essence of the oak tree god. They also considered it a phallic emblem and a universal panacea. Pliny wrote that to the Druids mistletoe, “which they call all-heal in their language…falls from heaven upon the oak.” They considered it a remedy for all diseases, drinking the water in which mistletoe had been infused. They believed draughts of mistletoe cured infertility in animals. Druids sought out mistletoe on oak trees on the 6th day of the moon, when it was almost full. It was cut during the 7th month of the13-month year. The discovery of mistletoe, especially on oak trees, was an occasion of solemn worship.
Regarded as a magical plant throughout history.
Planet: Sun; Jupiter
Culpepper says: “That this is under the dominion of the Sun I do not question; and can also be taken for granted, that which grows upon the oaks, participates something of the nature of Jupiter, because an oak is one of his trees.”
Love and Sex
In ancient times a kiss beneath the mistletoe was a pledge of love and a promise of marriage. The kiss of friendship was given beneath a mistletoe to signify truce. Enemies who met beneath a mistletoe in the forest laid down their arms, exchanged friendly greetings and kept a truce until the following day.
Sex magic: Love – it is called the Lover‚s Plant – berries: Aphrodisiac
Making an engagement known by a kiss under the mistletoe augered happiness, good fortune, fertility and long life.
Language of Flowers: I surmount difficulties.
Symbolizes: peace – good will – the procreative principle
Banishes evil spirits
Makes poison harmless (could make it valuable for CHEMO patients!!)
Mistletoe is connected with Yule in modern times. Boughs with berries are hung in doorways at Christmas, and a man may kiss a woman if she is standing beneath it.
Needs caution. Poisonous in moderate doses and lethal in large doses.
Acts on the central nervous system: causes numbness – slows the heartbeat – specific against epilepsy – for mental disorders – small doses stop spasms and convulsions
Decoction of branches: diuretic – for: high blood pressure – chilblains -high blood pressure – hardening of the arteries
Used as an adjunct to traditional cancer treatments
Notably viscum (Abnobum, HEEL etc) and Iscador®
Used in folk medicine for: migraine – vertigo – cramps – gangrene – slow digestion – menstrual problems – stitches in the side – children‚s illnesses – as a nerve tonic – in liniment for stiffness – as a remedy for poison.
Tincture and lower potencies for: neuralgia – sciatica – rheumatic and gout.
Modes of Administration:
infusion – tincture – syrup – decoction – poultice – maceration – fluid extract – aqueous extract – medicinal wine