Witch hazel
Hamamelis virginiana

Witch hazel - Hamamelis virginiana (in the Hamamelidaceae or Witch hazel family)

Part used: Bark.

Taste/smell: Astringent.

Tendencies: Cooling, drying.

Dosage: Decoction: 1-2 teaspoons per cup of water; or 1:4 dry strength liquid extract: 10-60 drops 1-4 times per day.

Mental picture and specific indications: Witch hazel is indicated for venous congestion with hemorrhage, varicose veins and hemorrhoids with bruised soreness of the affected parts.

Use: (a) Astringent, (b) Anti-inflammatory, (c) Styptic.

It is used for passive hemorrhages, wounds, local inflammations and venous laxity and congestion like hemorrhoids and other varicosities. Witch hazel is beneficial for mucous membrane irritation like gum ulcerations, sore throats, weeping eczema and leg ulcers. It can be used as a compress for eye inflammations and treating the symptoms of diarrhea. The tannins in witch hazel precipitate proteins on wounds, forming a protective coating and promoting the skin to heal.

Contraindications: In sensitive individuals, irritation of the stomach may occur. In rare cases, witch hazel tannins may cause liver damage. Witch hazel should not be used long term due to tannin content. Do not exceed recommended dosage.

Copyright 1999 by Sharol Tilgner, N.D. (ISBN 1-881517-02-0) - all rights reserved.