A certain and poetic significance is attached to the term mistletoe because of the use of a European mistletoe (Viscum album) in the religious ceremonies of the Druids and in those of the early Christian church.1 Norse mythology associated it with the worship of Freya, the Norse Venus, while Ovid and Virgil attributed magical powers to it. A species of mistletoe was collected with religious ceremonies by the Persian magi.
European mistletoe (Viscum album) has been used in medicine from very early times, its use being referred to by Paulus Ægineta,2 Pliny, Dioscorides, Celsus,3 and by the Moslem physicians Avicenna4 and Ebn Barthar, although the conditions for its use have never been accurately defined. In the Middle Ages it had a high reputation in the treatment of nervous disorders.5 In the seventeenth century interest was aroused by Boyle's note on the cure of epilepsy by
ALBERT C. CRAWFORD. THE PRESSOR ACTION OF AN AMERICAN MISTLETOE. JAMA. 1911;LVII(11):865–868. doi:10.1001/jama.1911.04260090087003