Sunday, April 14, 2013


Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)

Deciduous shrub or small tree. Leaves lobed, with uneven bases. 2-7". 

Buds hairy, stalked at base, without scales. Leaves and twigs hairless. 

Seed pods stubby, with 4 parts. Flowers yellow, petals very narrow and 

randomly curved.

Height: 10-25'.

Common Names: American Witch Hazel, Hamamelis, Hamamelis Water, Hazel 

Nut, Snapping Hazel, Snapping Tobacco Wood, Spotted Alder, Striped 

Alder, Tobacco Wood, Winter Bloom.

Flowers: It blooms after the leaves drop, September through December.

Habitat: Woods. Indigenous to North America and Canada.

Parts Used: Bark and leaves.

Harvest: The leaves can be gathered throughout the summer and dried 

quickly to ensure that they do not become discolored. The bark is 

gathered in the spring after sprouting.

Constituents: Leaves: Tannins, composed mainly of gallotannins with some 

condensed catechins and proanthocyanin, flavonoids; quercitin, 

kaempferol, astragalin, myricitrin, volatile oil containing hexenol.

Bark: Tannins, mainly the hamamelitannins, with some condensed tannins 

such as- gallocatechin, l-epigallocatechin and l-epicatechin, saponins, 

volatile oil, resin.

Medicinal Properties: Astringent, anti-inflammatory.

Uses: In the treatment of varicose veins, it should be applied on a lint 

bandage, which must be constantly kept moist. A pad of Witch Hazel 

applied to a burst varicose vein will stop the bleeding.

It is used for eye inflammations, hemorrhoids, bites, stings and skin 

sores, diarrhea and dysentery, and many other conditions for which a 

plant high in tannins would produce relief by virtue of its astringency. 

Herbalists consider it one of the best plant medicines to check 

bleeding, both internally and externally.

A tea made from the bark or leaves is given to stop internal bleeding. 

The same tea can be injected into the rectum to allay the pain and 

itching of hemorrhoids, which today comes to the consumer in the form of 

"pads" or ointments for hemorrhoid treatment.

A poultice of the fresh leaves or bark is useful for relieving the pain 

and swelling of inflammations. Dipped in a cotton ball, witch hazel 

water is dabbed on insect bites to calm pain and relieve itching. It is 

especially soothing on chigger and tick bites, as well as mosquito 

bites, and poison ivy rash.

Preparations and Dosages: TWIGS AND LEAVES:. Tincture [Fresh Herb, 1:2] 

10-60 drops as needed, and diluted for topical use.

BARK: Standard decoction topically.

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