About Witch Hazel and Its Benefits

Witch hazel is a number of species of bushes belonging to a genus called Hamamelis. The plants are native to North America, though one species grows naturally in China and another is native to Japan. Though it is common, growing wild in many places, the shrub is an attractive one and many people grow it as a landscaping plant. In fact, the picture above was taken in New York City’s Central Park. The name, ‘witch hazel’ really has nothing to do with witchcraft. The green branches are extremely limber and flexible, quite like river willow in that regard, so they were often used for the practice of water dowsing. The ‘witch’ comes from this. (“Wiche” in middle English means ‘bendable’.) Witch hazel appearance Most of the witch hazels grow less than six feet tall, but some species can become small-diameter trees that can grow to¬†over 20 feet tall. A few have been known to even get twice this height. The alternate leaves are oval in shape, usually pointed at the tip and up to six inches long by four inches wide. The flowers can be almost white, orange, red or yellow. They are usually less than three-quarters of an inch in length and each has four petals. The seeds that this bush produces are in capsules and when they dry out, the capsules pop audibly and burst, sending the black, shiny seeds over two dozen feet away. Medicinal properties of witch hazel The leaves and inner bark or cambium of Continue Reading →

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