Kiss under the Mistletoe

In his famous work Naturalis Historia Pliny the Elder pays tribute to Gallic druids, even though he was a Roman through and through, and as such a natural enemy of the Celts. These barbarians, uncouth, rough savages – as labelled by the Romans – had special powers and knowledge which were passed from generation to generation. In a comic book series about Asterix the Gallic Celt, brought to life by its creators Rene Goscinny and Albert Uderzo, the famous druid Getafix is seen either meandering around the woods picking plants or protecting the magic potion whose recipe the greedy Romans could not succeed to obtain. The Celts did not leave behind any written traces about their culture; paradoxically, we can learn all about them from historical records kept by the Romans who tried their best to tarnish Celts’ reputation.

A good portion of our genes in the Balkans is Celtic. Before the Romans reached the Balkans, the Celts had lived here for millennia. Belgrade’s modern-day suburb of Karaburma used to be populated by the Celts; the location where the current farmers’ market stands used to be a large necropolis. The Celts used to roam the banks of the Danube, they adored tall trees, the oak in particular, a tree that also occupies the central position in Slav mythology. And it was in the tall strong trees where they used to find the key ingredient for the preparation of their “magic potion” – mistletoe.

It is precisely because of mistletoe that Pliny the Elder paid tribute to them. The Celts did not view it as an unimportant parasitic plant – as it appears to be on first glance – but a plant that has great powers. Mistletoe was the basis of their myths, legends and rituals – and what is most important – of their medicine. How powerful the druids were is best illustrated by the fact that the Romans understood that they first had to get rid of the druids if they wanted to subjugate the Celts. In the first century AD, the Roman Emperor Tiberius launched a massive campaign to execute the druids in Gall, but the later Roman Emperor Claudius brought in a law to ban those executions. Those Celts who adopted Christianity interwove its belief system with their pagan beliefs and continued passing their legends from generation to generation.

Why is mistletoe so special? And what is it that the druids understood in those ancient times when there was no chemical research, no labs or microscopes?

First of all, it was the way it reproduces – a bird needs to eat its ripe berry; after eating the white flesh of the berry, the bird has to wipe its beak on twigs and branches, leaving behind the seed. Once the sticky content is dried and hardened, the firmly attached seeds germinate, stealing nutrients and water from their host. The ancient Celts believed that the mistletoe, apart from the nutrients, also takes over the spirit of the tree, and thus remains green even in wintertime, when most of the vegetation is dormant.

Mistletoe’s modus vivendi – its ability to draw energy from its host – can be regarded in a new light when we learn that this exceptional plant has the power to destroy tumour cells. This fact has been recognised by modern medicine, and some hospitals use mistletoe to treat tumours as it has been scientifically proven that it prevents the growth of blood vessels of malign tissues. One has to be mindful of the fact that mistletoe berries are very poisonous and therefore this plant can be used only if professionally processed.

In addition to suppressing malignant cells, mistletoe has the power:

  • to regulate blood pressure and prevent arrhythmia
  • to prevent dizziness and cramps
  • to regulates hormones
  • to improve metabolism
  • to prevent diabetes
  • to accelerates the work of the lymphatic system
  • to eliminate hot flashes and irritability
  • to have a beneficial effect on the glands with internal secretion

Irritability, palpitations, mood swings, insomnia, hot flashes – these are the symptoms that every woman entering a menopause can recognise. As the druids used to have their magic potion in the times long past, Herba Svet nowadays has its own magic potion – Femisan B. Mistletoe is one of five plants that are ingredients in this precious food supplement.

In the end, let’s not forget the famous ritual that is practised all over the world at Christmas time: if a woman stands under the mistletoe, a man has the right to kiss her, without risking a slap on the face. Because that is exactly when hot flashes have begun and she is totally irritable…

Protector of the Weak and the Infirm

If we were to draw up a list of the most powerful plants, it would certainly be topped by mistletoe. Our ancestors glorified it since time immemorial and ascribed to it magic powers; modern science has proved that the magic is real. Mistletoe is strange in itself – it grows as a parasite on trees and feeds on them. We can spot it easily, on leafless tree crowns of deciduous trees in wintertime as mistletoe is still green. Its fruit is very poisonous, but the plant itself – if prepared professionally – has such potent therapeutic properties that it even has the power to destroy cancer cells. It is interesting that the therapeutic power of mistletoe depends on what tree it lives on: it has medicinal properties if it grows on the apple, pear and plum trees, not on conifers, willow, oak and linden trees.

What scientific research has established is that mistletoe stimulates our immune response at the cellular level and that it selectively attacks and destroys cancer cells. That is why it is used officially in many hospitals as therapy for malign diseases and precancerous conditions. What makes this possible are mistletoe’s viscotoxins, cardiotonic polypeptide and lecithins which have an impact on granulocytes which destroy pathogenic cells. Standard anticancer treatment destroys granulocytes and thereby the immune system of the patient. Unlike the standard therapy, mistletoe eliminates cancerous cells, but at the same time it protects and strengthens the patient’s immunity.

Mistletoe has a wide range of effects: it is a natural vasodilator – it widens the arteries which results in blood flowing more easily through vessels. That is why it is excellent for cardiovascular diseases, used both therapeutically and prophylactically. Mistletoe lowers blood pressure, it has a soothing effect on the heart muscle and helps flush excess water from the body. This magical plant calms cramps, aides wound healing and stops bleeding, stimulates healthy digestion, flushes out intestinal parasites, balances the hormones and helps with diabetes. As an efficient diuretic it can help with inflammations, rheumatism, arthritis and gout. It is the protector of the female reproductive system and strengthens both female and male fertility.

Numerous studies have confirmed mistletoe’s powerful anti-viral properties; with the emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, it has taken centre stage. It is mostly used in China to inhibit 3CVLpro, the main protein that helps the virus spread in the host’s body. But it plays its most important role by protecting the most vulnerable people, those most at risk from Covid-19 – the people with existing co-morbidities, heart patients and diabetics. This is where mistletoe’s effect on the glands with internal secretion and the cardiovascular system is precious.

Mistletoe is the biggest protector of the weak and the infirm, a true Robin Hood among the plants. It strengthens our immunity, helps the body to fend off external enemies, but also to restore balance in our body. What is very important to bear in mind is not to use it if not prepared by the experts. As all other medicinal plants, mistletoe works best if it joins forces with other plants. This powerful synergy of mistletoe with other plants is found in Disan – a natural bio-elixir which strengthens our immunity and protects our vitality and health. In addition to mistletoe, Disan contains broadleaf plantain, echinacea, nettle, lemon balm, angelica, heath speedwell and dandelion, together with honey and vitamin C. In addition to helping us fight off viruses, Disan will protect our respiratory tract, it will cleanse our lungs, soothe or calm coughs, stimulate circulation and micro-circulation, cleanse our blood vessels, but also calm and relax us. This is why Disan can also help smokers give up smoking.

Therefore, Disan is an obligatory part of a home pharmacy, a bio-elixir which is worth having at home, taken as prevention or having in your medicine cabinet “just in case”, particularly at the time of epidemics when we all need extra protection.