L'hamamelis virginianais a popular flowering plant for itspropertycurative. In nature, it grows in mixed broad-leaved forests with a semi-shrub pattern.
It is a deciduous tree that generally grows up to 6 meters in height, only rarely does it go up to 10 meters. The younger branches show a gray surface which later turns brown. So also the bark of the main trunks which appears slightly scaly.
The leaves ofhamamelis virginianathey are similar to those of the hazelnut tree. They are obovate, 4 to 17 cm long and 2.5 to 13 cm broad. L'witch hazelprefers moderately fertile, humid and limestone-free soils. For cultivate the Virgilian witch hazelthe soil must allow good water drainage and the location must be in full sun or only partially in the shade.
Witch hazel is donecultivateboth as an ornamental plant and for medical purposes. It is among the few species with winter flowering and for this reason it is appreciated in gardens and parks. The plant is famous for itsproperty.
Among the natives of North America, thehamamelis virginianait is considered a "medicinal plant". Its uses are particularly appreciated and documented by the Cherokee and Iroquois populations.
Thewitch hazel teait has always been used for hispropertypain relievers and anti-inflammatory. In Native American tribes it was used to relieve pain of various kinds and to counteract phlegm and colds. Wraps ofwitch hazelthey were used by the Cherokee to heal skin lesions and skin wounds. In the past it was used as a natural emetic in case of poisoning.
Thepropertyand ibenefitsofwitch hazelthey are not known only to Native Americans. This plant is widely used in herbal medicine and pharmacology.
The Committee for Herbal Medicines (HMPC) of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has produced monographs based on the components of the plant used for medical purposes.
For example, extracts of bark, branches and stems of witch hazel (Cortex hamamelidis) are rich in active ingredients that make it suitable for the preparation of acreamfor topical use. This cream, based on the formulation, can be used for itching and burning of the skin, for the treatment of hemorrhoids or for other inflamed mucous membranes.
For internal use, witch hazel extracts are used to relieve tummy pains and menstrual cramps. The active ingredients extracted from the leaves have roughly the same uses.
In herbal medicine you can find an additional preparation based onwitch hazel: essential oil.
Today, the species hamamelis virginianait is considered a good onenatural remedymainly used in herbal medicine and inhomeopathy. Its vegetable components are used for the formulation of creams, ointments, oils, teas and tablets for internal use.
Inhomeopathywe speak of "Hamamelis virginica" referring to extracts obtained from fresh bark, roots and twigs.
Of the active ingredients of witch hazel, the tannins called "hamamelitannins" are of considerable importance. These substances showed specific cytosxic activity against colon cancer cells. The title of the study, published in 2012: “Hamamelitannin from Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) Displays Specific Cytotoxic Activity against Colon Cancer Cells”.
Hamamelis essential oil: properties
L'witch hazel essential oilit is produced starting from distillation- in a current of steam- of leaves, branches and shoots. Depending on the production, it is possible to use partially dried or freshly harvested parts of the plant.
L'witch hazel essential oilit can be used to relieve skin inflammation and to counteract itching. Like any essential oil, it should not be used pure but diluted in a "carrier" vegetable oil.
How to use? Once purchased, you can add a few drops of this essential oil to a tablespoon of vegetable oil (we recommend sweet almond oil, but olive oil is fine too!). With this ointment you can wet gauze to use for compresses or apply it directly on inflamed skin.
Hamamelis: do it yourself remedies
Before using any witch hazel-based preparation to treat a skin condition, it is important to consult your doctor. The essential oil can be produced at home as explained in the guide onsteam distillation.
The Native Americans produced a remedy by boiling the branches and roots of the shrub. This decoction was used for anti-inflammatory compresses and for the treatment of swelling of various kinds, including swollen legs.
For the cultivation of ornamental species such ashamamelis mollisand hamamelis japonica, the page is available:witch hazel, plant and cultivation. L'hamamelis mollis it is the most appreciated for its fragrant flowers. Flowering occurs in mid-winter, when the entire plant is bare. Since the plant resists the cold, it can also be grown in areas where snow falls in abundance.