Pucker Up

The sordid history of that amorous mistletoe

  • Clinical research shows mistletoe extract can kill cancer cells and affect the immune system.
     
  • The largest family of mistletoes, the Loranthaceae, has 73 genera and more than 900 species.
     
  • Mistletoe was associated with fertility and vitality through the Middle Ages.
  • Mistletoe is a parasitic plant, attaching itself and penetrating the branches of a tree or shrub to absorb water.
     
  • In Norse mythology, Loki tricked the blind god Hodur into murdering Balder with an arrow made of mistletoe.
     
  • Once considered a pest, mistletoe can have a positive effect on biodiversity, providing high-quality food and habitat for a broad range of animals in forests and woodlands worldwide.
     
  • Victorian England is credited with first recording the tradition of kissing underneath the mistletoe.
     
  • Custom says bad luck in love will befall any woman who refuses the kiss under the mistletoe.
     
  • The ritual of oak and mistletoe is a Celtic religious ceremony. White-clad druids climbed a sacred oak, cut down the mistletoe growing on it, sacrificed two white bulls and used the mistletoe to make an elixir to cure infertility and the effects of poison.
     
  • The ritual of oak and mistletoe is a Celtic religious ceremony. White-clad druids climbed a sacred oak, cut down the mistletoe growing on it, sacrificed two white bulls and used the mistletoe to make an elixir to cure infertility and the effects of poison.
     
  • Eating any part of the plant can cause drowsiness, blurred vision, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, weakness and seizures.

 

 

KISSING … BY THE NUMBERS

combined facial and postural muscles used (The Telegraph)

the year kissing was banned in England to prevent spread of disease

kisses on the Blarney Stone each year

seconds a movie kiss could last per 1930 Hays Code

minutes an average person spends kissing in his or her lifetime (Psychology Today)

years longer men live if they kiss their spouse in the morning (New York Times)

 

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