Hamamelis virginiana

Parts Used: Leaves and bark.

Pharmacy name: witch hazel leaves – Hamamelidis folium (formerly: Folia Hamamelidis), witch hazel bark – Hamamelidis cortex (formerly: Cortex Hamamelidis), witch hazel liquid extract – Hamamelidis extractum fluidum (formerly: Extractum Hamamelidis fluidum).

Botanical description. In the wild, witch hazel is found on the Atlantic coast of North America, on the Black Sea coast of the Caucasus and in East Asia. In Central Europe, it is known from garden and park plantings. It is a shrub up to 8 m in height, its leaves look like hazel leaves, inflorescences, consisting of 1-5 flowers, are placed in the axils of the leaves. Fragrant yellow petals are long, linear, coiled in a bud in the form of a spring. Flowers are found in autumn, so the fruits ripen only in the summer of next year. The fruits are ovoid, crack at the top when ripe and scatter the seeds within a radius of one meter.

Collection and preparation. The leaves are harvested in autumn and dried quickly but thoroughly. The bark is removed from the branches in spring. It is cut out in rings, cut into pieces 15-20 cm long or in a spiral. The removed bark is quickly dried in the sun.

active ingredients. Tannins (gama-melitannin), essential oil and flavonoids determine the effectiveness of raw materials.

Healing action and application. The raw material itself is not often used in medical practice – only sometimes in the form of tea. Nevertheless, the German National Health Service recommends tea from the leaves and from the bark of witch hazel as a fixing agent for diarrhea in school-age children and adults, as well as for inflammation of the gums and palate. If diarrhea persists after 3-4 days of taking it, you should consult your doctor.

  • Hamamelis leaf tea: 1 teaspoon with the top of the leaf pour 1/4 liter of boiling water and infuse for 10 minutes.
  • Hamamelis bark tea: Boil 1 teaspoon topped with bark in 1/4 liter of water for 10-15 minutes and strain while warm.

In both cases, with warm decoction, rinse your mouth or throat with inflammation several times every day. For diarrhea dosage: 2-3 cups of tea between meals. Galenic products, especially complete extracts (tincture, extract), are used for oral care and for inflammation of the mouth and throat. For local therapy of poorly healing wounds, witch hazel liquid products and ointments based on it are used. Another area of ​​application is the treatment of varicose veins, hemorrhoids, and also neurodermatitis. The German National Health Service evaluates witch hazel positively.

Use in homeopathy. Hamamelis is especially often used in homeopathy. Homeopathic product Hamamelis is prepared from the fresh bark of the branches or roots and from the fresh flowering branches. Used both internally and externally. Diseases of the veins are treated with witch hazel ointment, witch hazel compresses, and also by taking the medicine inside. Prescribe, as a rule, low degrees of dilution and even the original tincture. Hamamelis is used to treat wounds and inflammations of the mouth and throat. It is also used for painful and heavy menstruation. In this case, the agent is given in dilution D 1 several times every day, 5-10 drops.

Side effects. When used in therapeutic doses, side effects are not observed. In case of an overdose, irritation of the stomach and intestines is likely.

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