This section is from the book "An Experimental History Of The Materia Medica", by William Lewis.
Viscus Quernus Viscum baccis albis C. B. Viscum album Linn, Misseltoe: a bufhy evergreen plant, with woody branches variously interwoven; firm narrow leaves, narrowed at the bottom, set in pairs; and imperfect white flowers in their bosoms, followed each by a transparent white berry containing a single seed. It grows only on the trunks and branches of trees, and may be propagated by rubbing the glutinous berries on the bark that the seeds may adhere.
The leaves and branches of mifleltoe, formerly recommended as specifics in convulsive and other nervous disorders, and now fallen into general neglect, do not appear to have any con-siderable medicinal power. Instances have indeed been produced of their seeming to prove beneficial: but as there are, perhaps, no disorders, whose nature is so little understood, whose causes are so various, and whose mitigations and exasperations have less dependence upon sensible things; there are none in which medicines operate more precariously, and in which the observer is more liable to deception.
Half a dram or a dram of the wood or leaves in substance, or an insusion of half an ounce, the doses commonly directed, have no sensible effect. Both the leaves and branches have very little smell, and a very weak taste, of the nause-ous kind. In distillation they impregnate water with their faint unpleasant smell, but yield no essential oil. Extracts made from them by wa-ter are bitterish, roughish, and subsaline: the spirituous extracts, in quantity smaller than the watery, are in taste stronger, nauseous, bitterish, and subaustere: the spirituous extract of the wood has the greatest austerity, and that of the leaves the greatest bitterishness. The berries abound with an extremely tenacious, not ungrateful, sweet mucilage.