Witch hazel is a tall, deciduous shrub or small tree; growing to a height of up to 15 feet, the stems and branches are covered with scaly gray to light, brown bark. The alternate, elliptic to obovate leaves are coarsely toothed and often are finely h...
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Description - Research and Analysis
Witch hazel is a tall, deciduous shrub or small tree; growing to a height of up to 15 feet, the stems and branches are covered with scaly gray to light, brown bark. The alternate, elliptic to obovate leaves are coarsely toothed and often are finely hairy on the veins underneath. The fragrant, light yellow flowers have 4 strap-shaped petals and grow in nodding, axillary clusters, blooming in autumn when the leaves are falling. The fruit is a woody capsule which ejects two shining black seeds when they ripen during the summer or autumn following the flowers.
Witch hazel was first used, as far as we know, by the Native Americans.
The Native Americans watched for this plant to be in bloom; they took it as an indication that the frost was entirely gone and they might sow their corn. Also, it was a good spring herald for a good horse race.
Many wells have been dug in this land where the witch hazel has indicated. At one time, one would hear occasionally, of people making a business of "water witching." Despite the unscientific concept, some folks still swear by its many successes.
Witch hazel's name is thought to be derived from early American settlers who used this plant's forked branches as a divining rod in their searches for water or gold, just as the hazel's branches were used in England. It is also possible that the name was transferred from the English wych-hazel, or wych-elm, with its ultimate origin in the Old English word wican, meaning "to yield". The reference, of course, would be the springiness of the wood.
Leaves and bark have served mostly to make astringent preparations, which have been taken internally for diarrhea and used externally as a rinse or gargle for mouth and throat irritations, colds, and as a vaginal douche for vaginitis. For skin irritations, bruises, varicose veins, tonic after abortions, insect bites and stings, minor burns, and poison ivy, an ointment made from the fluid extract or a poultice can be applied. Local application for gonorrhea and leukorrhea. A poultice made from the inner bark is said to be effective for hemorrhoids and for eye inflammation. The inner bark also has sedative and hemostatic properties.
Twig tea was rubbed on athletes' legs to keep muscles limber, relieve lameness, wounds, and swellings; tea for bloody dysentery, cholera, cough, and asthma. Used externally for bruises and sore muscles, minor pains, itching. Diluted with water or mixed with honey, the powder may be topically applied as a dressing for burns, scalds, scrapes, bruises, abrasions, and crushed toes and fingers. An effective wash for sunburn, inflamed breasts, and for various rashes. It is often used as an after-shave lotion.
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Take 2 capsules three times daily with a glass of water.
Witch Hazel Leaf - 450 mg
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