We all know that mistletoe is festive holiday decoration and a convenient excuse to wrangle a kiss out of your crush, but did you know that ingesting the leaf has a sh!tload of nutritional and therapeutic uses?

As you start to clean up your holiday decorations try one of these alternative uses for mistletoe before tossing it out:

1. Sleep

While its berries are poisonous, extract of the leaf can be used as a remedy for sleep disorders (the perfect holiday gift for your friendly insomniac). We have a theory that this herbal practice is a remnant of the ancient Druids’ use of mistletoe to ward off evil spirits.

Mistletoe

photo by Anna Heckler

2. Cancer Therapy

A bunch of laboratory experiments have suggested that mistletoe’s ability to stimulate the immune system could combat cancer growth. In fact, a German herbal regulation commission has promoted the use of mistletoe injections to treat symptoms of malignant tumors.

3. Anxiety attacks

Feeling stressed out? Take a sip of mistletoe tea, or swallow a few drops of mistletoe extract. Funny that the herb works as such a calming agent, since according to Norse Mythology the branch was used as a weapon to slay Balder, the god of peace.

Mistletoe

photo by Anna Heckler

4. Menopausal Symptom Relief

Drink mistletoe tea if you’re suffering from hot flashes or hormonal imbalances—since this herbal beverage benefits the glandular system, aids the metabolism, and favors the pancreas, it reportedly has positive effects on hormonally induced ailments.

Mistletoe

photo by Anna Heckler

5. Anti-inflammatory agent

Wash mistletoe-steeped water over open wounds or lesions in danger of infection. Or, if you’re breaking out, try dousing the affected skin in mistletoe tea. Rumor has it that the anti-inflammatory element of mistletoe will counter infectious pathogens.

In search of more festive edibles?

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