American Mistletoe

Other Name(s):

Eastern Mistletoe, Gui Américain, Gui de Chêne, Mistletoe, Muérdago Americano, Phoradendron flavescens, Phoradendron leucarpum, Phoradendron macrophyllum, Phoradendron serontium, Phoradendron tomentosum, Viscum leucarpum, Viscum flavescens.


American mistletoe is a plant. The flower, fruit, leaf, and stem are used as medicine.

American mistletoe is used as a smooth muscle stimulant to increase blood pressure, and to increase muscle contractions in the uterus and intestine. It is also used to cause abortions.

How does it work?

Chemicals in American mistletoe affect muscles.


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Uses & Effectiveness

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Increasing muscle contractions.
  • Causing abortion.
  • Increasing blood pressure.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of American mistletoe for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Side Effects

American mistletoe is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth. All American mistletoe plant parts have historically been considered poisonous. However, some reports suggest that eating up to 20 berries or 5 leaves might not cause serious adverse effects. However, American mistletoe can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, decreased heart rate, hallucinations, and heart problems in some people. Also, one of the chemicals in American mistletoe seems to be similar to poisons in cobra venom. This chemical can cause “cardiac arrest,” a condition in which the heart suddenly stops beating.


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Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It is LIKELY UNSAFE to use American mistletoe during pregnancy or breast-feeding. Don't use it.

Heart disease: American mistletoe might make heart disease worse. Don't use it.


The appropriate dose of American mistletoe depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for American mistletoe. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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Foster S, Tyler VE. Tyler's Honest Herbal, 4th ed., Binghamton, NY: Haworth Herbal Press, 1999.

Hall, A. H., Spoerke, D. G., and Rumack, B. H. Assessing mistletoe toxicity. Ann.Emerg.Med. 1986;15(11):1320-1323. View abstract.

Krenzelok EP, Jacobsen TD, Aronis J. American mistletoe exposures. Am J Emerg Med 1997;15:516-20. View abstract.

Moore HW. Mistletoe poisoning: a review of the available literature, and the report of a case of probable fatal poisoning. J S Carolina Med Assoc 1963;59(8):269-271.

Spiller, H. A., Willias, D. B., Gorman, S. E., and Sanftleban, J. Retrospective study of mistletoe ingestion. J.Toxicol.Clin.Toxicol. 1996;34(4):405-408. View abstract.

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