The Myth Behind Miscletoe Essay

1514 words - 6 pages

Maybe you have seen this plant during Christmas time. Couples kissing, under this leafy, pretty plant. You might even hear it mentioned in holiday songs and poems. The plant I am mentioning is mistletoe. The festive plant, mistletoe, is mostly known for a kissing tradition, however mistletoe has been very useful in medical events, cultures, and have affected various trees.
Mistletoe has been extremely beneficial to medical science throughout the ages. It has been known to help cure or relieve epilepsy, hypertension, headaches, menopausal symptoms, infertility, arthritis, and rheumatism. Mistletoe is one of the highest alternative medicine remedies for cancer. In European countries, extracts made from European mistletoe are among the most prescribed remedies for cancer patients.” (National Cancer Institute p.2) In the International Journal of Cancer, they ran multiple tests with the mistletoe extract and found that the results of the clinical testing is highly inconsistent. In fact the stronger tests found that there is no improvement in quality of life in the patient. “The search terms were alternative medicine, cancer, controlled clinical trial, Eurixor®, Helixor®, Iscador®, lectin, malignancy, Mistel, mistletoe and derivatives. In addition, manufacturers of commercial mistletoe products and other experts were asked to contribute published as well as unpublished material, and our own extensive files were hand-searched.” (Eduard Ernst,Katja Schmidt, and Miriam Katharina Steuer-Vogt p.262–267) Because of limited data on the efficiency of mistletoe, only patients with primary or secondary brain tumors, leukemia, or malignant lymphoma are treated with mistletoe extract. Mistletoe extract is not used on pregnant or nursing women, because the mistletoe contains toxic constituents. Some side effects following injection could be redness, itching, inflammation, and induration at the injection site. Other reactions include mild fever or flu-like symptoms. Anaphylaxis has been reported. To reduce the toxicity of the plant, standard preparations make the mistletoe into small doses of ML-Ι or depleted of lectins to reduce the toxicity. (Unknown p.1) All of this research and remedies from mistletoe extract wouldn't be possible without the cultures who cultivated mistletoe.
Mistletoe has been a very influential plant through different cultures. The first thing we think of when we hear the word mistletoe, is most likely a couple kissing under a plant during the holidays. This tradition stemmed from the belief that the mistletoe was related to fertility. Where the tradition started though, is quite vague. Some believe that it started with the Vikings and other belive it started with the Romans. Even though the origin remains a mystery, we do know where the myths started. One viking myth about mistletoe was mistletoe could resurrect people from the dead. The believed this because one of their gods, Balder, had a dream he was going to die. His mother,...

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