Holly and Mistletoe - Christmas Staples

Around the holidays, we see a lot of mistletoe and holly. Although these plants are not on many herb lists, I was curious to know about their curative properties if any. I'm always interested in the plants around me. It seems that every plant I investigate has a colorful history, as well as some useful purpose or other.

Mistletoe (European)

Processed European mistletoe has shown success in killing cancer cells and strengthening the immune system, and is currently undergoing clinical trials. (This is a highly processed derivative, and unprocessed mistletoe should never be taken internally.)

Holly (Box Holly or Butcher’s Broom)

Box holly has been used effectively as a mild diuretic, and has show promise in treating orthostatic hypotension associated with illnesses like diabetes and Parkinson's disease. More commonly used in Europe and South America, it is typically sold in capsule form.

Just a note of caution about bringing mistletoe and holly in to use as decoration over the holidays. Pets and small children are always putting unexpected things in their mouths. These traditional plants can be dangerous if ingested, so be careful to keep them out of reach.

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