Did you know that… mistletoe is a parasitic plant?

You have most likely seen mistletoe decorating Christmas trees or wreaths. This plant, so representative of Christmas, is part of a tradition in which, if a couple stands under it, they must kiss so that love lasts; but had you heard that this plant is parasitic?

Mistletoe is the name given to a variety of plant species. These plants are hemiparasitic, that is, they have the ability to obtain food in two ways: one is by extracting it from its host through the root, which, when penetrating the branches of the trees, extracts water and mineral salts; or, by photosynthesis.

Although these plants are harmful to the trees where they grow, some species are used in traditional Mexican medicine to treat conditions such as: hypertension, heart problems, skin problems or high glucose levels. However, extensive studies have not been carried out to support its effectiveness for the treatment of these diseases.

In ancient times they gave fantastic qualities to this plant, especially at Christmas, because they believed that they were a unique species and their roots should never touch the ground.

For the Scandinavians this plant symbolized peace, since under it the combatants could declare a truce in battle or celebrate a marriage.

In the eighteenth century it was also considered a tradition that marriageable young women kissed under this plant could not refuse when a suitor courted them, and it was practically considered as a wedding request, especially if the kiss took place on Christmas Eve.

According to tradition, the mistletoe should not touch the ground when cut and should be placed on the threshold of the front door of houses throughout the year to protect them from bad luck. The mistletoe had to stay in the same place for a year and then burn it to burn all that bad luck with it.

This is where the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe was born, and of hanging it on the threshold of the door that lasts until today.

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