Introduction of Witch Hazel:hazel nut or snapping hazel.

Popular Herbs. ✵The article gives records of the herb Witch Hazel, its English name, Latin name, common names, property and flavor, its botanical source one plant species, ①.Pimpinella anisum L., with a detailed introduction to the botanical features of this plant species, the growth characteristics, and ecological environment of this plant species, the features of the herb Witch Hazel, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.

Witch Hazel(snapping hazel).

Witch Hazel English Name: Witch Hazel.
 Latin Name: Hamamelis virginiana L.
 Common Names: Hamamelis, Hazel Nut, snapping hazel, spotted alder, Striped Alder, tobacco wood, winter bloom.
 Property and flavor: specific.

 Brief introduction: This unusual perennial shrub grows in eastern North American forests. Spidery golden yellow flowers bloom along its flexible branches following the loss of its oval leaves in autumn, often long after other trees have lost their color. Black seeds are ejected from capsules along the stem at the same time that the flowers bloom. The dried leaves, bark, and dormant twigs are used medicinally. Whereas hydroalcoholic extracts are commonly found in Europe, the most commonly available witch hazel product in USA (the United States of America) is distilled witch hazel extract, also called witch hazel water or hamamelis water, which is made by steam-distilling dormant twigs soaked and softened in water.

 Botanical source: Common herbal classics defined the herb Witch Hazel as the dried leaves, bark, and dormant twigs of the species (1).Pimpinella anisum L. It is a plant species of the Hamamelis genus, the Hamamelidaceae R.Br. family (witch hazel family). The dried leaves, bark, and dormant twigs are used medicinally. This commonly used species is introduced:

(1).Pimpinella anisum L.

 Pimpinella anisum:leaves Botanical description: Witch hazel is a large deciduous shrub. The stem grows from the base of the plant, and the branches are dense. The height of the plant can grow up to six meters, and a few individuals can sometimes grow to about ten meters. The bark is light brown, the surface is smooth, the bark is scaly cracked, and the inner bark is red-purple. The new shoots are initially pubescent, then become smooth and glabrous, at this time the surface of the shoots is light orange-brown, and the shoots are scattered with some white dots, and finally, the shoots become dark brown or reddish-brown. The leaf buds are sharp and pointed, the apex is slightly curved and sickle-shaped, with fine soft hairs on the surface, and the leaf buds are light brown. The leaves are broad and oval, the leaves are 3.7~16.7 cm long and 2.5~13 cm wide, the base of the leaves is oblique, the sides of the base are asymmetrical, the tips of the leaves are sharp or round, and the leaf margins are wavy teeth or lobed, the petiole is short and stout, 0.6~1.5 cm long, the main vein of the leaf is thick and piliferous, and the main vein is divided into lateral veins, and there are six to seven pairs of lateral veins. The young leaves are wrapped in a spiral shape in the leaf buds. The mature leaves have a dark green leaf surface, and the color of the leaf back is lighter than that of the leaf surface. In autumn, the leaf color will turn yellow, and there are reddish-brown spots on the leaf surface. The stipules are lanceolate, sharp-pointed, and fall off quickly after the leaves unfold.

 Pimpinella anisum:flowering tree The flowers are pale yellow to bright yellow or golden yellow, rarely orange or red, with four ribbon-shaped petals, 1~2 cm long, the petals are bright yellow, long, narrow-linear, rolled to a spiral in the bud, and crushed like tissue paper when open, the 4 sepals are ovate or triangular, excurved (curve outward), yellow-brown to brown on the inside. Four short stamens, and the flowering period lasts from mid-autumn to late autumn. The calyx is deeply lobed, four-lobed, piliferous on the outside, orange-brown on the inside, the calyx is persistent, inserted at the base of the ovary.

 Pimpinella anisum:flowers The fruit is a ligneous capsular fruit with a length of 1~1.4 cm, ovate, sectioned and divided, hazelnut-like, and thickly pubescent. The fruit does not mature until one year after pollination. When the fruit matures, it bursts from the top, and two bright black seeds are ejected. The seeds can be ejected to a place more than four to ten meters away from the mother tree. North American witch hazel blooms in mid to late fall.

 Ecological environment: Witch Hazel grows in deciduous forests, it is native to eastern North America, from Nova Scotia of Canada, westward to Minnesota of USA, southward to central Florida, and eastern Texas. The tree is common in European gardens and parks, and is also cultivated in subtropical countries.

 Pimpinella anisum:flowers on branch Uses of Witch Hazel: The forked twigs of North American witch hazel are considered excellent material for making probes (divination sticks). The bark extract has an astringent effect and is used as an astringent in cosmetics. The Pond's skin care products series produced by Unilever contain this component. Native Americans used the bark and leaves to treat inflamed skin. The wood is light reddish brown, the sapwood is nearly white, the material is fine, the wood is heavy and has high hardness, and the density is 0.68.

 Extracts from the twigs, leaves, and bark are used medicinally, mainly to treat acne, bruises, and swelling. The main components of the extract include tannins, gallic acid, catechins, proanthocyanidins, flavonoids (kaempferol, quercetin), essential oils (carvacrol, eugenol, hexenol), choline, and saponin.

 Beauty value: Distilled floral water (hydrosol) can be used to maintain the skin, it is a strong antioxidant and astringent, and it is very effective when used to treat acne. It is also recommended for psoriasis, eczema, skin lacerations or blisters, insect bites, varicose veins, and hemorrhoids, as well as skin cuts, scrapes, and sunburns.

 Pimpinella anisum:flowers Characters of herbs: Witch hazel leaf is the leaves of Hamamelis virginiana, which are collected in autumn and dried rapidly. Witch Hazel bark is the dried bark of the trunk and branches of Hamamelis virginiana.

 Pharmacological actions: ①.tannins and astringent; ②.anti-inflammatory; ③.local styptic or stop bleeding; ④.vasoconstrictive or blood-vessel-constricting actions; ⑤.hemostatic effect, etc.

 Witch hazel contains an astringent substance tannin, tannins constrict tissue and reduce oozing and bleeding, which explains its effectiveness in relieving minor skin injuries, skin and mucous membrane irritations such as gum inflammation, varicose veins, and hemorrhoids.

 Witch hazel extracts have anti-inflammatory, local styptic or stopping bleeding, and vasoconstrictive or blood-vessel-constricting actions.

 Pimpinella anisum:flowering tree in winter Medicinal efficacy: Native Americans and early settlers used witch hazel for small wounds, insect bites, sore muscles, and joints, and bruised or irritated eyes. Witch hazel tea is also used to control internal bleeding, soothe sore throats, and relieve excessive menstrual flow, it is used for varicose veins, hemorrhoids, abrasions, bruises, and other skin inflammations, and internal formulations were used for diarrhea. Its bark decoction is recommended today for mouth inflammations and sore throat.

 In Europe, the herb is approved for hemorrhoids, inflammation of the mouth and pharynx(leaf only), inflammation of the skin, venous conditions, wounds, and burns. In folk medicine, witch hazel leaf and bark are used internally for non-specific diarrheic ailments such as inflammation of the mucous membrane of the large intestine and colon, hematemesis, hemoptysis, and menstrual complaints, externally for minor injuries of the skin, localized inflamed swelling of the skin and mucous membranes, hemorrhoids and varicose veins. It is also used in folk medicine for inflammation of the mucosa of the colon, hematemesis, and hemoptysis.

 Administration of Witch Hazel (snapping hazel): 
Reference: Administration Guide of Witch Hazel (snapping hazel)
Herbal classic books: Dosage: A decoction prepared using 1 teaspoon, about 2~3 grams of chopped or powdered bark is drunk up to three times a day, applied externally, or gargled. Alternatively, a tea is made using 2~4 teaspoons (1~2 grams) of chopped leaves. The tincture of the bark is taken in doses of 2~4 ml. Decoction of the leaf is recommended at 250 ml water with 5 to 10 grams of herb for washes or poultices, and 2~3 grams to 150 ml water as a gargle solution. Leaf tea is drunk 1 cup, 2 to 3 times daily between meals. Witch hazel bark should be protected from exposure to light for storage, witch hazel leaf should be protected from light and moisture when stored.
 Contraindications, Precautions and Adverse Reactions: Witch hazel preparations appear to be safe to use externally in recommended amounts. The health risks involved in taking witch hazel preparations internally are far less clear. Some susceptible individuals may develop stomach upset with possible nausea, vomiting, or constipation, and in rare cases, the tannins in the bark may cause liver damage if enough is absorbed. The volatile oil contains known carcinogen safrole, but in such a small amount that it is unlikely to pose any risk of harm. Do not use witch hazel water internally. And no tannin-rich herb should be used over long periods, given the potential of an increased risk of malignant or cancerous changes. Liver damage is conceivable following long-term administration, but rare.




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  • 1.Introduction of Witch Hazel:hazel nut or snapping hazel.

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