Home Help Glossary
Search by Name Search by Uses Search by Dichotomous Key
Witch Hazel Witch-Hazel

Hamamelis virginiana

Found: in wooded areas throughout the northeast

Height: ranges from that of a large shrub to small tree. It can grow as tall as 4.5 meters (15 feet).

Leaves: have large wavy teeth with uneven bases. The buds have a distinct scalpel shape.

Uses: the bark and leaves of witch-hazel are used today in distilled extracts, ointments, and eyewashes as an astringent for piles, toning skin, relieving profuse menstrual flow, and eye ailments. Commercially, extracts from the tree are prepared to treat hemorrhoids, itching, irritation, and minor pains. Tannins found in the leaves and bark are reputed to have anti-oxidant properties as well as being an astringent and having hemostatic properties. In the U.S. it is approved as an ingredient in over-the-counter drugs used for external analgesic and skin protection products.