Witch Hazel

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′.
Other Names: American Witch Hazel, Hamamelis, Hamamelis Water, Hazel Nut, Snapping Hazel, Snapping Tobacco Wood, Spotted Alder, Striped Alder, Winter Bloom.
Flowers: It blooms after the leaves drop, September through December.
Family: Hamamelidaceae (Witch Hazel Family)
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 asd-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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