All about mistletoe and its properties

It brings good luck to the new year with the mistletoe, if then it comes to oak mistletoe - which the ancient Druids collected with a golden sickle and which is very rare - the year will begin under the best auspices. The oak mistletoe, which is so called because it grows on oaks, was also the only one that the druids collected and used to prepare healing potions (beware of the toxicity of the berries!) including the one that in the fantasy of the Uderzo and Goscinny comics gave invincibility to the small rooster Asterix.

The mistletoe it is a parasitic plant, indeed semi-parasitic, and for this reason it manages to be green when the other trees are bare, with rabbit-eared leaves, pale green twigs and white berries. The mistletoe it is a semi-parasite because it penetrates with its suckers into the tree that hosts it and sucks its sap, but in part it also nourishes itself because the plant is equipped with chlorophyll and like all other plants it exploits carbon dioxide, water and sunlight. The mistletoe it can also become a parasite of itself but is usually found on fruit trees, apple and pear trees in particular, on poplars, pines and firs. Oak, as mentioned, is a rare occurrence.

If kissing under the mistletoe brings joy and fertility, so they say, probably depends on how this plant spreads. The flowers of mistletoe they can be male or female, from the female ones fertilized by bees at the end of winter the white berries that the birds are greedy are born. The birds, however, expel the seeds from the beak and these, which are given a viscous part, attach themselves to the branches of the trees on which they are regurgitated and proliferate here.

We mentioned earlier the toxicity of mistletoe and indeed in excessive doses this plant is toxic. The danger is above all in the berries, so any preparation must be made using only the green leaves and twigs. The advice of experts for the preparation of infusions and decoctions of mistletoe is to collect the branches and leaves at the end of autumn (perfect for Christmas) before the appearance of the berries, which in the case must be eliminated. The harvest can be dried in the shade and stored in dark glass or terracotta jars. In phytotherapy preparations based on mistletoe they are considered an excellent regulator of blood pressure.

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