Common names: Witch Hazel, Spotted Alder, Winterbloom, Snapping Hazelnut
History/Folklore: Witch Hazel is a deciduous shrub native to North America and has been used by Native Americans as a treatment for wounds, tumors and skin ulcers by boiling the bark and leaves in water. The remedy was adopted by early settlers and it is now a household staple.
Appearance: Has oval, toothed leaves that start out reddish/bronze that turn to green. The flowers, which appear in late fall/ winter, are small, yellow and fragrant. There is a spring blooming variety as well. The shrub can grow 10 to 20 feet with an equal spread.
Parts Used: Leaves, twigs and bark
Collection: Late fall and winter for bark, summer to fall for leaves.
Actions: astringent, tonic, sedative, anti-inflammatory
Indications: Use externally to relieve hemorrhoids, varicose veins, acne, sunburns, phlebitis, minor swellings, itchy skin and diaper rash. It can also soothe mosquito and other bug bites. Witch Hazel can be used internally (as a tea or tincture) for cases of hemorrhoids, diarrhea or weak, lax uterus, veins and intestines. It may also be internally used to relieve symptoms of colitis and irritable bowel syndrome. Please use common sense when using witch hazel internally.
Contraindications: Do not use witch hazel prepared with isopropyl alcohol internally. Do not use internally if pregnant or nursing.
Light: Full Sun to part Shade
Plant Type: perennial shrub