For the Celtic people plants were not just some fragments of bioplasma which man can consume and use as he wishes. The Celts believed that what they could see was just a "body". Beyond it there was an endless source of vital energy of plants which explained their therapeutic effects.
In addition, the Celts believed in the divinity that governed over plants and trees, Deva. They thought that this good spirit was the one who offered healing, relief and comfort through the use of plants.
The mistletoe was a very precious plant in the Celtic culture. It was considered a holy plant with a great power of healing and the remedy for any poison. The Celts organized special ceremonies for its harvest.
However, it is true that the mistletoe does not seem to be such a common plant. In spite of winter's freezing weather and lack of sun light the mistletoe maintains its leaves green and glossy, as if the seasons wouldn't matter to it. Even for those who are not very familiar with the world of plants, the mistletoe represents something special, this being clearly reflected in its use in numerous magical rituals.
Medicines and Rituals
In the Northern countries of Europe, peasants used to boil mistletoe branches in beer and then give the resulted drink to the cattle to keep them healthy. They also hung mistletoe branches in the stable or above the doors of their houses in order to ward off evil spirits. Moreover, it was believed that a dash of mistletoe mounted in silver brought good luck to the one who wears it as a jewel. In Wales there was a proverb reflecting the power of this plant: "No mistletoe, no buck".
The mistletoe has always been used in ointments and potions which cure goiter, tumors, epilepsy, erysipelas, gout, poisoning, plague, intestinal worms and frostbites.
Nowadays, the antispasmodic and hypotensive effect of the mistletoe has been officially confirmed by scientists. The tea or the mistletoe extract slows the heartbeat and dilates the arteries. The medicines based on mistletoe are very efficient in the case of dizziness, chronic spasms and hysterical manifestations.
The Mistletoe, Symbol of Peace and Joy
The mistletoe is believed to bring good luck. At Christmas or on New Year's Eve we must place it above the entrance door of our house. Couples must kiss under the mistletoe, this tradition symbolizing friendship and peace.
No matter how strange the beliefs or traditions about the mistletoe would seem, in this period of the year everybody wants to have a small twig of it in the house as luck, health and sunny days represent every man's needs.