Ozark Encyclopedia – M – Mistletoe

Mistletoe – Phoradendron leucarpum

Parts used: foliage, berries

Traditional uses: Poisonous. ‘Tea ooze’ used to bathe head for headache. Infusion used for high blood pressure. Compounds containing leaves and branches used for lung trouble.

Used for dizziness – “Mistletoe leaves are made into a remedy for dizziness and head noises.” ~Randolph OMF 114

Used in love medicines – “The leaves and stems of mistletoe are made into some kind of ‘love medicine,’ but the whole matter is very secret. I have on two occasions seen women boiling big kettles of mistletoe out of doors but was unable to get any details of the procedure.” ~Randolph OMF 167

For a woman to get pregnant – “Mistletoe is used somehow by women who wish to have children, and some say that it can be administered by the husband, without the wife’s knowledge or consent. If a woman cannot conceive, the power doctor may take nine little switches and tie a knot in each. Then he burns them and makes the woman eat the ashes.” ~Randolph OMF 193

Used in witchcraft – “One often hears that mistletoe, known as witches’ broom, is used in casting magic spells and the like. Some farmers hang a bunch of mistletoe in the smokehouse, ‘to keep witches off’n the meat.’” ~Randolph OMF 261

“Mistletoe should be hung in the smokehouse to keep the witches off the meat.” ~Parler FBA IX 8447

Used for kidney health – “Eat a misteltoe leaf for your kidneys. It is good for them.” ~Parler FBA III 2607


Moerman, Daniel E. Native American Ethnobotany (NAE)

Parler, Mary Celestia Folk Beliefs from Arkansas (FBA)

Randolph, Vance Ozark Magic and Folklore (OMF)

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