Witch Hazel – Hamamelis virginiana

American Witchhazel
American Witchhazel

Another native of the Eastern woodlands of North America this shrub can be found growing at the edges of dry or moist woods, and the edges of streams. Its common companions in the wild may be Carolina jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens), blackgum (Nyssa sylvatica), sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua), red maple (Acer rubrum), and post oak (Quercus stellata).

These trees produce a small flower in early spring, before the leaves have shown themselves. The yellow petals and sepals looks like someone crumpled them in their hand and left them dangling there to dry! The general effect is maybe best described as octopus-like!

Hamamelis virginiana was well known as a medicinal plant by Native Americans. Cherokee, Chippewa, Iroquois, Menominee, Mohegan, and Potowatomi tribes used it as a cold remedy, dermatological aid, febrifuge, gynecological aid, eye medicine, kidney aid, and in other ways (D. E. Moerman 1986). Witch-hazel was subsequently used by the early European settlers in similar ways. The bark and leaves are astringent, and here in more modern times is often employed in skin care products, shaving lotions; mouth washes, eye lotion, ointments and soaps. Try this recipe for toning of aging skin!

Rose Skin Toner
3 ½ cups witch hazel
½ cup dried rose petals

Mix ingredients together making sure it is all blended well. Allow to steep for several hours. Strain. Splash on your face after cleaning the skin.


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