Mistletoe against high blood pressure

The term hypertension refers to either a transitory or a permanent increase in blood pressure. Blood circulation is a consequence of the pressure generated in our arteries by heart contractions. It is possible to measure this pressure by means of electronic devices. When high and low pressure range between 120 and 140 mm and 65 and 90 mm of mercury respectively, it is considered normal. When it is higher, we talk about hypertension.

This syndrome can be caused by several pathologic factors and it can be identified only through an accurate medical examination. When the problem is not serious, it can be treated by herb-based medicaments.

Where to find it

Mistletoe is a semi-parasite bush that grows on host trees like oaks, poplars and ash-trees, on which it sticks by means of big articulated wooden offshoots. Thanks to photosynthesis, this plant is perfectly able to produce the substances necessary to its own surviving. Mistletoe is a green plant with yellowish flowers and waxy white berries containing a whitish viscous liquid. The whole plant has always been used as medicament.

Healing properties

According to northern traditions, wearing mistletoe around one's neck kept evil spirits away. The habit of growing around the trunks and branches of trees - of oaks in particular - was attributed to the fear mistletoe had to touch the ground and consequently lose its precious power. This is the reason why the Celts worshipped this plant as a gift from heaven, a sort of divine sperm springing from the sacred oak.

Mistletoe, then, was to be collected following a precise religious ritual. On the sixth moon day after the winter solstice and during the Celts' "mother night", the white-dressed druids cut mistletoe branches by means of a golden sickle and let them fall on a white cloth. The ritual ended with the immolation of two white oxen and with the distribution of mistletoe to people, who could then invoke the Gods' benevolence and benefit from the healing properties of this plant.

Although mistletoe has always been appreciated by northern popular medicine, it has found its place in the pharmacopoeias - particularly in the German - only in the mid-19th century, when its active substances were discovered and experimented.

The results of the studies conducted on these substances for the last one hundred years are actually discordant, but very interesting all the same.

For the time being, science indicates only one therapeutic employment of mistletoe, i.e. in the treatment of hypertensive states.

by Dr. Ernesto Riva