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Hamamelis virginianaHamamelis virginiana (Hamamelidaceae)

WITCH HAZEL, SPOTTED ALDER

 

Adopted from North American Indian usage, the leaves and bark are used in pharmaceutical preparations for rashes and burns, and by herbalists and homeopaths for piles and bruises.

 

Witch hazel, now a common garden plant, was first employed by the North American Indians, who used its twigs for water divining and its leaves and bark as a medicine for swellings and tumours. Native to North America, it is a perennial shrub with a smooth bark, toothed oval leaves, and yellow flowers that appear in very late summer, followed by small black nuts containing white seeds.

 

PARTS USED

Leaves, bark.

 

ACTIVE INGREDIENTS

Tannins; flavonoids, including quercetin and kaempferol; saponins.

 

ACTIONS

Astringent; prevents haemorrhage; anti-inflammatory.

 

MEDICINAL USE

Applied externally for piles, bruises and inflamed swellings, and given internally for diarrhoea and colitis (an inflammatory disease of the intestines). In homeopathy, Hamamelis is given for piles and bleeding.

 

PREPARATIONS

Distilled extract, tincture, ointment, homeopathic remedies.

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