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Ahwahnee Village


Mistletoe
Phoradendron villosum
tintikla (Southern Miwok)
tintila (Central Miwok)

High above you in the black oak are bunches of dark green growth — this is mistletoe. Miwok people cut the root ball (from which the mistletoe grows) from the tree and carved it into a ball. The ball was used to play a rough game similar to field hockey.

Mistletoe leaves and berries are poisonous, yet Miwok people picked mistletoe leaves, boiled them and drank the resulting tea as a treatment for rheumatism, epilepsy, hysteria, and other nervous conditions, and to induce abortions.

Mistletoe has seldom, if ever, been used in recent times by local Native Americans for any of these purposes. Today, many local Indian people (like non-Indians) only use mistletoe to decorate their homes during the Christmas season.



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