Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) is a Medicinal Herb Used in Traditional Herbal Medicine.

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Medicinal Herbs & Therapeutic Botanicals

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Botanicals: Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)

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The name Hamamelis was adopted from a Greek word to indicate its resemblance to an apple-tree. This shrub, long known in cultivation, consists of several crooked branching trunks from one root, 4 to 6 inches in diameter, 10 to 12 feet in height, with a smooth grey bark, leaves 3 to 5 inches long and about 3 inches wide, on short petioles, alternate, oval or obovate, acuminate, obliquely subcordate at the base, the margin crenate, dentate, scabrous, with raised spots underneath, pinnately veined and having stellate hairs.

The leaves drop off in autumn, then the yellow flowers appear, very late in September and in October, in clusters from the joints, followed by black nuts, containing white seeds which are oily and edible. In Britain, the nut does not bear seeds, but in America, they are produced abundantly, but often do not ripen till the following summer. The seeds are ejected violently when ripe, hence the name Snapping Hazelnut. The leaves are inodorous, with an astringent and bitterish aromatic taste. The twigs are flexible and rough, colour externally, yellowish-brown to purple, wood greeny white, pith small. The bark as found in commerce is usually in quilled pieces 1/16 inch thick, 2 to 8 inches long, with silvery grey, scaly cork; longitudinally striated; fracture fibrous and laminated; taste and odour slight.

Botanicals: Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)



Witch Hazel


Biological Name:
Hamamelis virginiana


Other Names: 
Witch Hazel, winter bloom, striped alder, spotted alder, hazelnut, snapping hazel, pistachio, tobacco wood.

Parts Used:
Bark or leaves

Active Compounds: 
Tannins, composed mainly of gallotannins with some condensed catechins and proanthocyanin.
 Miscellaneous; flavonoids; quercitin, kaempferol, astragalin, myricitrin, volatile oil containing hexenol, n-hexen-2-al, a- and b-ionones.

Tannins, mainly the a-, b-and g- hamamelitannins, with some condensed tannins such as d-gallocatechin, l-epigallocatechin and l-epicatechin
Miscellaneous; saponins, volatile oil, resin.



Traditional Applications in Herbal Medicine:

Western Herbal Applications:


Astringent, anti-inflammatory, tonic, antiphlogistic, sedative, styptic.


Witch Hazel is the most applicable and easy to use astringent for common usage. Very valuable for stopping either internal or external bleeding. It is especially useful in the easing of hemorrhoids and relief of associated pain. Also used for the treatment of bruises and inflamed swellings, and varicose veins. Witch Hazel will control diarrhea and aid in the easing of dysentery.

Combinations : For the easing of hemorrhoids it will combine well with Pilewort.


Chinese Herbal Applications:


Other indications include:


Consult a qualified Herbalisst.
Tincture: take l-2 ml of the tincture three times a day or as prescribed.


No information available. Some herbs are known to react with your medication. Please consult your physician before starting on any herb.



  1. Stuart, Malcolm (1979). The Encyclopedia of Herbs and Herbalism. New York: Grosset and Dunlap, 1979.
  2. Hoffmann, David (1983). The Holistic Herbal: A herbal celebrating the wholeness of life. Findhorn Press, Scotland.



The information provided here is not for the purpose of self diagnosis or self treatment. It is provided for the sole purpose of providing general information about herbs used in herbal medicine. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions.

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