What is it?
First Aid

What is mistletoe?

Mistletoe refers to a group of evergreen plants with white berries. American mistletoe is often used as a decoration around Christmas.

Mistletoe is harmful to eat. The leaves are especially harmful.

What are the symptoms of mistletoe poisoning?

Eating a small piece of a mistletoe, such as a single berry or a small piece of a leaf, will most likely not cause any symptoms. If someone eats more than just a taste, they may feel sick to their stomach, throw up or have diarrhea. It is possible that eating a very large amount of mistletoe can cause more serious symptoms, like drowsiness and seizures, but it is unlikely a child would be able to eat that much.

People with sensitive skin may get a rash from touching mistletoe.

What should I do if someone has mistletoe poisoning?

If someone has eaten part of a mistletoe plant:

  • Take all the pieces out of their mouth.
  • Give them a few sips of water or milk.
  • Call the poison center at 1-800-222-1222, chat online or text POISON to 85511.

If someone has a rash from touching mistletoe:

  • Wash the irritated skin with soap and water.
  • Call the poison center at 1-800-222-1222 or chat online or text POISON to 85511.

How can I prevent mistletoe poisoning?

To prevent mistletoe poisoning, keep the plants up high, out of the reach of children and animals. See our plants page for more tips on dealing with potentially poisonous plants.

Last Updated: Tuesday May 17th 2016