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Each and every Christmas season we deck the halls with boughs of holly. We put up and decorate Christmas trees. We sing Christmas carols and make eggnog. We bake Christmas cookies and make peanut butter fudge. We buy Cheap Corey Brewer Jersey , wrap and exchange gifts. We roast chestnuts. We build a snowman and name him Frosty.

And we hang mistletoe, then loiter beneath it hoping for a kiss. But this plant is more than a kissing enticer. In fact, it may well one day spread more Yuletide cheer than any lip-lock can create.

Mistletoe extracts are being studied to evaluate their potential to fight cancer, particularly breast cancer. That may sound surprising, but some of our global ancestors probably wouldn't be that shocked by the news. Norse mythology says mistletoe helped kill the sun god. Celtic Druids, meanwhile, used it as a medicinal herb. During the middle ages, Europeans hung mistletoe above their doors to ward off evil spirits and witches.

So, what exactly is mistletoe and why have various peoples attributed so much power to it?

An evergreen, mistletoe is a semi-parasitic plant (a parasite is something that latches onto a "host" and feeds off it). It grows in certain trees, like poplar and apple trees, along with oak, beeches and chestnut. The plant produces waxy white berries and leathery leaves. Birds and butterflies use the plant for nectar.

Mistletoe grows on the trunks of the aforementioned trees Cheap Lonzo Ball Jersey , or in their branches. They are considered parasitic because their roots burrow into the trees and sap necessary nutrients. American mistletoe is found in the East, from New Jersey down to Florida. European mistletoe, by contrast, is a shrub that also produces yellow flowers along with the white berries.

It is believed that the Greeks began the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe. However, a berry was supposed to be plucked from the plant with each kiss, and the kissing was supposed to discontinue once all the berries were picked. Our modern traditions, of course, ignore this!

Some Europeans make mistletoe tea, which they believe improves blood circulation. Historically, mistletoe has been used in Europe and Asia to treat numerous maladies, ranging from high blood pressure, headaches and arthritis.

In the 1920s, some medical professionals began to express hope that mistletoe could help cure certain forms of cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute Cheap Kentavious Caldwell-Pope Jersey , extracts of mistletoe have been shown to kill cancer cells in laboratory experiments. These extracts also have stimulated immune system response. However, clinical trials utilizing mistletoe are not prevalent due to mixed results. Therefore, at least at this time, mistletoe injections have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Still, it's a safe bet that research will continue to determine whether mistletoe extracts can find a place in the world's fight against cancer. That's certainly something to think about this December when you hang the mistletoe in the doorway and wait for your loved one to plant that kiss!
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Brought to you by Imaginary Greetings, a regular contributor of valuable family oriented articles. To help create the perfect family holiday and for the best selection of animated lighting visit Santas Official Holiday Lighting Shop.

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