The 12 Flowers of Christmas: Day 11

by Rachael Priest on December 21, 2011

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me: Mistletoe

As we approach the end of our Christmas flowers series, it is only fitting that we give a few moments to one of the hallmarks of Christmas tradition: mistletoe. Mistletoe has this magical power to bring a kiss to whoever stands beneath it. Pretty neat, right? Mistletoe also has therapeutic uses in homeopathic medicine.

What is Mistletoe?

Mistletoe is actually a parasitic plant, albeit a lovely one. It makes its home high in the trees of the west and along the Eastern Seaboard of North America. There are many varieties of mistletoe originating from Europe and North America. Although it is hard to imagine Christmas today without this plant, the tradition of using mistletoe as Christmas decorations didn’t come about until sometime in the 1800s.

Uses of Mistletoe

Aside from Christmas décor, mistletoe is used by herbalists and homeopathic practitioners as a treatment for respiratory and circulatory problems. Some herbalists believe it has anti-cancer properties although no clinical evidence exists to support this theory. One should exercise extreme caution when using mistletoe as a tonic, however. All portions of the plant are extremely toxic, with the berries being the most potent. Always speak to your doctor or a professionally trained homeopathic practitioner about whether or not mistletoe is appropriate for you, as well as what a safe dosage is.

While it is safe to handle mistletoe in moderation, you will want to take measures to prevent accidental poisoning. When you use mistletoe:

  • Hang it high, well out of the reach of children and pets
  • Consider wrapping the mistletoe in a mesh netting to prevent berries from falling to the floor
  • Wrap it and put it in the garbage when you are finished with it so that no children or pets accidentally find it
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after handling mistletoe.

With a few precautions, you can enjoy a multitude of stolen kisses all season long. On the other hand, you can just enjoy the beauty of the plant—whichever you prefer.

Christmas is nearly here and we at Buds ‘n Bows Flower Shop are so excited! Give us a call at 706-743-5830 if you’d like to add fresh Christmas flowers to your home décor or if you need a few unique last minute gifts. “We can hardly stand to wait, please Christmas don’t be late!” Merry Christmas!

 

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