12th December – Mistletoe


Mistletoe. Viscum or Visscus quercinus.

1. This plant takes root on the Branches of Trees, and sometimes grows two or three Foot long; The Leaves are a yellow Green, the Flowers yellow and the Berries almost the colour of white Currans.

2. It grows upon several Trees, as the Apple, Crab, Hasel, Ash, Mapple, Lime, Willow, White-thorn and Oak. The last of which is hardly to be met with here in England, which perhaps added to the Honour that the Ancient Druids paid to this Mistletoe.

3. Mistletoe is accounted cephalic and nervine, particuarly useful for all kinds of Convulsion Fits, the Apoplexy, Palsy, and Vertigo, for which Purposes some commend the Mistletoe of the Hasel as better than the Others. The Viscus Aucupum or Bird Lime, was formerly made of the Berries of this Plant; but now in England it is made of the Bark of the Holly Tree. Bird Lime is a powerfull Attractive, good to ripen hard Tumours and Swellings. See Sir John Colebatche’s Discourse of Mistletoe.

4. Latin, Viscum. Spanish, Visco. Italian, Vischio or Panio. French, Guy. German, Bogelleim.

Taken from Volume 1 of Elizabeth Blackwell’s Herbals found in our Rare Books Collection available here.

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