Hamamelis virginiana L.
Also known as Snapping Hazel, Winterbloom
$3.50 per Ounce
History: Today Witch Hazel is found all over the world and is a very common home remedy; however, the plant is native to North America. Natives commonly used Witch Hazel for medicinal purposes. In fact, Native Americans taught early English settlers how to use Witch Hazel as a common remedy, who in turn took the plant back to Europe. Witch Hazel was introduced into English gardens by Peter Collinson, who maintained correspondence with plant hunters in the American colonies. Nowadays, it is rarely seen in the nursery trade except for woodland and wildlife restoration projects and native plant enthusiasts.
Modern Uses: The Commission E approved the use of witch hazel preparations for minor skin injuries, local inflammation of skin and mucous membranes, hemorrhoids, and for varicose veins.
Witch hazel is used as an active compound in topical ointments and suppositories for the treatment of hemorrhoids (Anon., 1991; Reynolds, 1989). The German Standard License for witch hazel leaf and/or bark tea infusion, for oral ingestion or as a mouthwash, approves its use as supportive therapy for acute, non-specific diarrhea, and also to treat inflammation of the gums and mucous membranes of the mouth (Braun et al., 1997). ESCOP indicates the internal use of witch hazel leaf infusion and/or fluidextract for symptomatic treatment of conditions related to varicose veins (painful and heavy legs, and for hemorrhoids) and the external use of the decoction and/or semisolid extract for bruises, sprains, and minor injuries of the skin, local inflammations of the skin, and mucosa, hemorrhoids, and relief of neurodermatitis atopic symptoms (ESCOP, 1997). In France, witch hazel extracts and tinctures are approved for oral and topical application to treat subjective symptoms of venous insufficiency and hemorrhoids. Local application is also allowed for relief of eye irritation and for oral hygiene
Active Ingredients: rich in tannin and gallic acid, bitters, traces of volatile oil
Actions: astringent, anti-inflammatory, vulnerary
Complementary Herbs: Pilewort