Mistletoe is a potent, potentially toxic medicine that should not be used without the direct supervision of a trained professional.
uring the Middle-ages, Mistletoe was used medicinally for a number of complaints; migraine, vertigo, gangrene, slow digestion, menstrual problems, childbirth, as a nerve tonic, as a liniment in stiffness, as a remedy for poison and in cases of fits or what we now know to be epilepsy. Much of the magical folk uses of the herb is a direct reflection of its medicinal properties and uses throughout the ages. The earliest written records we have of its use date back to two English books, the 16th century work by William Turner (1510/1515 - 1568) Herbal in three parts and Nicholas Culpeper's 1653 book, The Complete Herbal. Culpeper says that;
"…both the leaves and berries of Misselto do heat and dry, and are of subtle parts; the birdlime doth molify hard knots, tumors and imposthumes (cysts); ripens and discusses them, drawing forth thick as well as thin humors from the remote parts of the body, digesting and separating them. And being mixed with equal parts of rozin and wax, doth molify the hardness of the spleen, and helps old ulcers and sores. Being mixed with Sandaric1 and Orpiment2, it helps draw off foul nails; and if quick-limes and wine 3 be added thereunto, it works the stronger. The Misselto itself of the oak, made into powder, and given in drink to those that have falling sickness,4 does assuredly heal them, as Matthiolus5 saith; but it is fit to use it for 40 days together. Some have so have so highly esteemed it for the virtues thereof, that they have called it Lignum Santi & Crucis, Wood of the Holy Cross,6 believing it helps the falling sickness, apoplexy7 and palsy8 very speedily, not only to be inwardly taken, but to be hung at their neck. Tragus9 saith, that the fresh wood of any mistletoe bruised, and the juice drawn forth and dropped in the ears that have imposthumes in them, doth help and ease them within a few days."
Though European Mistletoe (Viscum album) is seeing more research especially for Cancer and Aids treatment, American and African varieties also have a history of medical use. As I've said before and I'll say it again, this plant has potential toxicity even in small doses, there can be significant drug interaction and contraindications. You will notice that the applications listed below include some of the side effects caused by misuse, with this plant dosage and monitoring are crucial in preventing overdose and iatrogenic10 illness.
Possible side effects (adverse and/or overdose effects)
European American folk use of American Mistletoe
Native American use of American Mistletoe
Mesquite Mistletoe; Phoradendron californicum (Southwestern Arizona, S Utah, S. Texas)
Juniper Mistletoe; Phoradendron juniperium