Meet me under the Mistletoe
Everybody knows a turkey and some mistletoe
Help to make the season bright
Have you ever been struck with fright that you might meet the wrong person under a strategically placed branch mistletoe at your company Christmas party? Where did this legend originate? Was it created just to strike fear in young maidens?
The Legend of the Mistletoe
This fearful legend is of unclear origins. Some say it is traced to the Greeks, who revered the plant as sacred. Others claim that the custom is of Scandinavian origin, where Mistletoe was a symbol of the goddess of love. Anyone passing under the Mistletoe branch would be kissed, and a berry removed from the branch. Once the branch lost all of its berries, its power was depleted. In modern-day Great Britain and France, a kiss under the Mistletoe was a promise to marry and a prediction of happiness and long life.
Not so bad.
What is Mistletoe?
Mistletoe is a hemiparasitic plant, or one that attaches to a tree or shrub and absorbs its host plant’s water and nutrients. They attach to a variety of host plants, but are especially drawn to apple and juniper trees. Although the Mistletoe might seem a like a pesty plant, Mistletoes are home to many species of birds that build their nests on the plant and provide ripe berries for many bird diets.
Aside from inspiring kissing, what else is Mistletoe used for?
Mistletoe grows abundantly in northern Europe, where it has been studied as a supplemental treatment in cancer therapy, and to treat circulatory and respiratory system problems. Clinical studies have shown that injections of Mistletoe boost the body’s immune systems.
Next time you accidentally step under a Mistletoe branch, remember that it loses its power once all the berries are removed! You’re welcome.
Interested in a little more plant history? Check out this article on the ancient history of Frankincense & Myrrh.