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Is European Mistletoe Safe For Pets?

Herbs For Pets 3 min read
European mistletoe leaves and berries. Is European mistletoe safe for pets?

Mistletoe has more controversy surrounding it than just the kisses that happen under it. If you’re trying to find out whether or not European mistletoe is safe for pets, you may be finding conflicting information and we’re here to help you find answers.

What Is European Mistletoe?

There are many types of mistletoe. European Mistletoe, also known as Viscum album, roots into the bark of trees and grows as a parasitic shrub on its host. Mistletoe is an evergreen plant that grows in bunches up to 10 feet wide and has thin, leathery, tongue-like leaves. Along with leaves, mistletoe also has small, white, sticky berries. These berries are produced from yellowish flowers that grow in clusters of three. European mistletoe is not only native to Europe but also northern Asia. European mistletoe often chooses apple or oak trees as its host.

Mistletoe shrubs growing on a large tree

History and Traditional Use of European Mistletoe

The tradition of kissing under the mistletoe comes from Norse mythology. The god Balder was slain by an arrow made of mistletoe and the plant was entrusted to the goddess of love who decreed that those who pass under it should kiss.

European Mistletoe has been long used for medicinal purposes. Hippocrates is known to have used the herb for spleen conditions. In 19th century texts, European and American mistletoe were both recommended as treatments for epilepsy, typhoid fever, congestive heart failure, and menstrual cramps, however, this text also noted that large amounts had toxic properties. The Druids also used mistletoe to support the immune and cardiovascular systems.

Medicinal Properties and Toxicity of European Mistletoe

For as long as mistletoe has been used in herbal medicine, there have been conflicting beliefs about its safety.

Studies have found that mistletoe contains active ingredients that both raise blood pressure and lower it. European mistletoe is said to have mild sedative and diuretic properties which may be helpful for allowing pets with heart conditions to relax and expel fluid build-up in the body. Mistletoe has also been found to have immuno-stimulating properties. Mistletoe is commonly used in Germany for patients with cardiovascular conditions.

While European mistletoe has many beneficial properties, you can have too much of a good thing. At the correct dosage, both humans and pets can safely use European mistletoe as support for a variety of health conditions. In excess amounts, mistletoe can be dangerous. The berries in particular are thought to have a higher concentration of toxic properties compared to the stems and leaves. That is why it is essential to only use European mistletoe at a dosage that is vet-approved for your pet and to keep them away from any mistletoe plants that may be around.

Dried European mistletoe leaves and stems and a wooden spoon. Is European mistletoe safe for pets?

How to Safely Use European Mistletoe for Pets

If you are considering using European mistletoe for your pet, you must ensure that it is at a dosage safe for your pet. The best way to know a European mistletoe safe for pets is to consult a holistic veterinarian.

We use European mistletoe stems and leaves in one of our herbal supplements, Hearty-Heart. Hearty-Heart was carefully designed by a holistic veterinarian and master herbalist to ensure that it is safe and beneficial for pets. This blend of herbs is formulated to be safe for pets and to support cardiovascular health and function. Hearty-Heart can also help with symptoms of heart conditions like a lack of energy and coughing.


If you have any questions about European mistletoe, other herbs, or pet health in general, we can help! We have a team of pet experts in-house including veterinarians, vet techs, vet assistants, and nutrition specialists. Tap the button below to start chatting with us!

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Published: December 21, 2021

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