Witch Hazel

Synonyms: snapping hazel, winterbloom, wych-hazel, stripped alder, spotted alder, tobacco wood
Scientific Name: Hamamelis virginiana
Family: Hamamelidaceae

Habitat

Witch hazel grows wild on the Atlantic coast of North America.

Constituents

Tannins (hamamelitannin), volatile oils, organic acids, flavonoids

Description

This shrub, which can grow into a tree up to 8 meters high, appears bewitched in many ways. In the autumn, when most of nature begins to rest, fragrant yellow flowers with narrow, ribbonlike petals, appear between the hazelnut-like leaves like harbingers of spring, enveloping all the branches like small stars. The longish fruits, angular at the top, do not mature until the following summer to autumn so that the shrub bears fruits and flowers at the same time. When the fruit reaches full maturity it bursts open at the top scattering its seeds to a distance of several meters.

Uses

Hamamelis has astringent, soothing and anti-oxidant properties. It is used for digestive complaints and sore gums and mouth. Witch hazel is also used for skin and leg care.

Interesting Facts

The name hamamelis is made up of the ancient Greek words 'hama' meaning simultaneously and 'melon' meaning apple or fruit, a reference to the simultaneous appearance of flowers and fruit on the shrub. The name may also come from the word 'hamatus' meaning hooked, angular, which refers to the shape of the fruit.

The first people to use witch hazel for its healing properties were the North American Indians. European settlers saw the amazing healing effects they achieved with this plant, which was how it found its way to Europe in the 18th century. Incidentally, the Indians also used witch hazel branches to make bows and as divining rods to locate water and mineral deposits.

The Plant at Dr. Hauschka Skin Care

Witch hazel is one of the key plants in Dr. Hauschka Skin Care. Dr. Hauschka Skin Care essences from the leaves and bark are used in almost all face care products and in many of the decorative Cosmetics. Witch hazel water is used in Regenerating Neck and Décolleté Cream. The plant is valued for its astringent and firming effects and its stimulation of connective tissue. Witch hazel thus helps to give a clear, rosy complexion. On account of its astringent and anti-inflammatory properties, Dr. Hauschka Facial Toner is also particularly suitable for use as after shave lotion.

In Dr. Hauschka Skin Care medicines witch hazel supports the healing process in wounds and vascular formations. It helps in the treatment of hemorrhoids, anal fissures, varicose symptoms and many other conditions, i.e. in Quercus Ointment*.

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