The Dangers of Mistletoe: 5 Reasons it’s a Holiday Menace

There are many Christmas traditions that will get one in a holiday mood. Decorating a Christmas tree, candy canes, consumer credit debt, and of course, mistletoe.

1. Species of mistletoe grow on trees the world over. However, it’s not living in perfect harmony with the tree. In fact, it’s eating it. Mistletoe is a hanging parasitic plant — its root penetrates the host tree, drains it of its lifeblood, and eventually overtakes it. Just like in Alien.

2. Etymologically, the word mistletoe comes from the German “mist” meaning “dung” and “tang” meaning “bough.” So, in essence, mistletoe means “branch of shit.” This is because mistletoe is spread by bird poop. The human equivalent would be having a florist shop grow out of one’s toilet.

3. Kissing under mistletoe remains a popular means by which one may inflict one’s lips on a co-worker at the office Christmas party. In this regard, some consider mistletoe to be a yuletide Spanish fly or a vegetal Viagra. Be assured, it’s far from an aphrodisiac. Mistletoe could be construed as a date rape drug. Its berries are chock-full of viscotoxins which lower your heart rate and can cause you to pass out, leaving you prey to the unwanted sexual advances of drunk guys in Santa hats.

4. Another one of the dangers of mistletoe is the misconception that smoking it will get you high. This theory was developed by people who are already high. Do not smoke mistletoe. That feeling of euphoria you may experience after a mistletoke is your soul leaving your body.

5. It’s for the above reasons that mistletoe is best kept out of reach. This is why it is hung high under the doorways until the government sends dudes in hazmat suits to get rid of it. Or for that matter, get rid of the guy in the Santa hat when he hangs mistletoe from his belt buckle.

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5 responses to “The Dangers of Mistletoe: 5 Reasons it’s a Holiday Menace”

  1. Sarah Bettany Avatar
    Sarah Bettany

    Actually Mistletoe is a keystone species, for example: ‘Three years after mistletoe removal, treatment woodlands lost, on average, 20.9 per cent of their total species richness, 26.5 per cent of woodland-dependent bird species and 34.8 per cent of their woodland-dependent residents, compared with moderate increases in control sites and no significant changes in mistletoe-free sites.’ – Mistletoe as a keystone resource – an experimental test – Watson & Herring 2012, available at: http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/279/1743/3853.short.

    I would also love to know your sources for mistletoe being used as a date rape drug, because I can’t find anything using either Google Scholar or Start Page.

    So, nice going, trying to encourage the destruction of such a valuable plant.


    1. Sarina, Your keyboard doesn’t have an ‘O”?

  3. The problem is that it’s too hard to tell a holiday mistletoe disguised as Santa, from an everyday mistletoe dressed as your chimney sweep on a bicycle. Apples aren’t always apples, and the truth isn’t nearly as clear as frog fingerprints in the dust. I certainly don’t need to point that out to you.

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