Introduction

A number of hemiparasite plants belonging to the mistletoe species, which are taxonomically related to the European mistletoe (Viscum album L.), grow in Argentina. According to the work carried out by Abbiatti (1946), 23 different mistletoe species grow in diverse phytogeographic regions of the country with the exception of the Pampean savannah, the Patagonian steppes and the arid Andean regions. The Monte (shrub-like) Formation due to the abundance of leguminous trees, which are the preferred mistletoe hosts, is the most densely populated.

From the taxonomic viewpoint, native mistletoe species belong to the three different families into which Loranthaceae (sensu latu) has been divided. These families are Loranthaceae D.Don (sensu strictum), Eremolepidaceae Tiegh. and Viscaceae Miq. (Barlow, 1964; Kuijt, 1988; Subils, 1984; Barlow et al., 1989) (Table 1).

Many uses have been described for native mistletoe species, which differ depending on ethnic heritage, geographic region and species. Phoradendron pruinosum and Ph. liga are both used in the Northeast of Argentina for cardiac disorders and Ph. hieronymi for asthma treatment (Martinez-Crovetto, 1981; Toursarkissian, 1980; Wagner et al., 1986), while Tobas (Chaco Amerindians from the Northeast of Argentina) use Ph. liga to sedate horses (Arenas, 1982). In the provinces of Salta and Catamarca stems with white fragrant flowers of Tripodanthus acutifolius are used in the Corpus Christi festivity, held in June during its flowering season (Abbiatti, 1946). A viscous substance called "viscina" or "liga" obtained from the berries of Tristerix corymbosus and Ligaria cuneifolia is used to trap insects and birds (Abbiatti, 1946; Diem, 1950). Eubrachion ambiguum, whose use has not yet been recorded in Argentina, is employed

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Coping with Asthma

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