toxic

The Plant Detective
5:00 am
Sat December 20, 2014

Mistletoe I: A Parasite That Can Hurt Or Heal

European mistletoe (Viscum album). (CC BY 2.0)
Credit Flickr user, free photos

Mistletoe, a parasitic plant that grows on a wide range of host trees, shows up on every continent but Antarctica - and on each continent, it's been used in folk medicine. From ancient Greece into twentieth-century America, it was prescribed for epilepsy. Over the centuries, arthritis, many menstrual problems, miscarriage (through controlling bleeding), hypertension and pain are just a portion of the long list of conditions it has treated. It's prescribed frequently in Europe. But don't try any of these uses without a trained health practitioner, because mistletoe can be toxic.

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The Plant Detective
8:00 am
Fri May 9, 2014

Astragalus

5/10/14: This week on "The Plant Detective:" For centuries, the root of Astragalus membranaceus has been used in Chinese traditional medicine, usually in combination with other herbs, to support the immune system and fight fatigue. Today, researchers are investigating roles for astragalus in cancer treatment and heart disease.

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