Hamamelis, which goes by the Latin name of Hamamelis virginiana, is also known as the golden thread tree, vein digitalis, witch hazel and American hazel. It is a tree that resembles the hazelnut tree with its large, rounded, serrated leaves. The flowers are bright yellow and the fruit of the witch hazel is a capsule containing 2 black seeds.
Witch hazel can be planted in a grove or inserted in a hedge. A sunny or half-shade exposure protected from cold winds is suitable in cool climates, and half-shade where it is hot in summer, because it fears excessive heat. It is resistant to most diseases, insects and parasites.
How to grow it ?
For growing the witch hazel plant, a rich, moist, cool and light soil is ideal. It is recommended to add compost to the soil in the fall. For optimal mulching, use dead leaves, pine bark and straw. The plant needs regular irrigation, with increased watering during hot periods. The culture in pot is possible during approximately 6 years.
How to harvest it ?
Witch hazel leaves are harvested when they are fully green, usually in early summer. After harvesting, it is important to dry them properly to use the leaves in the preparation of infusions.
The dried leaves can be stored for several months in a dry, dark place. They can be used to make an infusion by pouring boiling water over the leaves and letting them steep for about 10 minutes. Witch hazel infusions can have soothing and antiseptic properties, and are often used to treat digestive and skin disorders.
- Witch hazel is astringent, vasoconstrictor and helps fight edema while improving the elasticity of the venous system.
- For example, in cosmetology, witch hazel is used to cleanse dry and sensitive skin, to alleviate couperose, to promote microcirculation, to firm up skin tissue and to reduce dark circles.
- Decongestant, antihemorrhagic and circulatory regulator, it is used in hemorrhoids, hemorrhages, varicose veins, phlebitis, and leg ulcers.
- One can also employ it in the acute diarrhoea and in the inflammations of the gums and the oral mucous membrane.
Precautions of use
Some people may be allergic to witch hazel and may develop skin reactions or respiratory allergy symptoms. It is also important not to exceed the recommended dose to avoid potential side effects. When in doubt, it is always best to consult a health care professional.
Updated on 16 April 2023 at 12:00