Plants and People Project

Witch Hazel - Hamamelis virginiana

The bark, twigs, and leaves of this plant have been used in the past to make a variety of medicines. Today you can buy over-the-counter Witch Hazel preparations at many pharmacies.

Witch hazel is used in the making of medicines for hemorrhoids. Peterson Field Guides Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants

One interesting use of Witch Hazel is that its forked branches are made into a divining rod. This tool is used for dowsing water or gold which is also known as 'Water Witching'.

Native Americans used a poultice made from witch hazel to treat external irritations and varicose veins. Indian Herbology of North America

Indians used witch hazel to treat sores and insect bites. Smithsonian Institution - National Zoo

"The nutty seeds taste sort of like pistachios and were greatly enjoyed by native Americans." Floridata

The interesting blossoms of witch hazel appear in late autumn or winter! A capsule is formed in which 1 or 2 seed develop. As the capsule dries it shrinks, opens and ejects the seeds as far as 30 feet. Field Guide to Trees of the Eastern Region

The seed is eaten by birds and squirrels.

Witch hazel leaves

Witch Hazel ecology

DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past. Be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.

Identification and other facts / More Facts / Futher info

Witch Hazel Bush

Witch hazel pod

witch hazel bush lossoms

Witch Hazel blooming in fall

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Posted 8/2/05 Cindy O'Hora