Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)
Main Facts about Witch Hazel
This is a shrub or small tree, with twisting stems and long branches, yellow flowers, coarsely toothed and hairy on undersides leaves that turn bright yellow in fall. Its bark is smooth and gray or brown. The name "Witch hazel" has nothing to do with witches. It derives from the Old english word for "pliant" since its branches were used as archery bows.
Using Witch HazelWitch hazel's leaves, twigs, and bark contain tannic acid, gallic acid, and volatile oils. Witch hazel works as an astringent and is usually applied topically to help with some skin conditions. It can be used for burns (including sunburns), minor injuries, localized skin inflammation, hemorrhoids, diaper rash, insect bites. Witch hazel water is also used as skin cleanser, body lotion, aftershave, massage liquide for body and scalp. Witch hazel naturally tightens skin and promotes faster healing. Apply it to minor cuts and scrapes to stop bleeding. Store-bought Witch hazel often contains alcohol which disinfects so it acts as desinfectant. Herbal tea made from bark and leaves can help with diarrhea and dysentery, respiratory illnesses, it can relieve sore throats and when applied topically - with blisters and the pain associated with them. If you have sore throat gargle with Witch hazel tea to reduce swelling, dry up excess mucus, and ease pain caused by laryngitis, sinusitis, tonsillitis, or other throat maladies. Witch hazel can be used to stop minor bleeding of the gums and mouth. Try a teaspoon of witch hazel tea with one drop each clove and myrrh oil to relieve teething pain for infants. The same way you may also use to soothe pain caused by emerging wisdom teeth or after oral surgery to reduce discomfort and inflammation.
Witch Hazel is a remedy for: Hemorrhoids
Caution!Witch hazel is generally considered safe when applied topically. Internal use is not recommended, due to concerns that ingestion of witch hazel may cause nausea, vomiting, constipation, liver damage, and other adverse effects.
Cooking with Witch HazelThe leaves and the bark of the plant are used for herbal tea. Boil the leaves and/or the bark in a pot of water, then cover and let the mixture stand for about 45 minutes. This way you can get the herbal drink at its full strength.
How to grow Witch HazelWitch hazel grows in moist, light woods and along rocky streams. May be propagated from seeds, by cuttings or layering. It grows best in partial shade in moist, peaty, or sandy soil.