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A2Z 2020 — extract — W — Witch Hazel

W letter

A myth of witchcraft held that a forked branch of Witch-hazel could be used to locate underground water. – from Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center


witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana L)

Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana L.)

Plant appearance: small tree or tall shrub, often multi-trunked, 10-15 ft. tall but can reach 35 ft. in height. It has fragrant, yellow flowers with lettuce-green, deciduous leaves

Part used: leaves, twigs, and bark

Therapeutic Uses: The aromatic extract of leaves, twigs, and bark is used in mildly astringent lotions and floral water (extract mixed with water – no plant bits in it.) Witch-hazel is not an essential oil, but an extract.   I included it because it is such a therapeutic substance.

You can buy witch-hazel in two ways. What is usually found in chain drug stores is a mixture of the floral water and alcohol. This is desirable in some situations as it kills germs as well as soothes (even if it burns a little at first.) In other situations, especially around the eyes, there is a non-alcohol form of it. You may have to order the non-alcohol form online, as I’ve never seen it locally.


I found a very educational video that will highlight the many uses of witch-hazel.

41 thoughts on “A2Z 2020 — extract — W — Witch Hazel

  1. Now, this I’m familiar with as I have used cleansing milk containing witch hazel about a decade or so ago. But didn’t know what it looks like.
    Thank you for sharing the video–very informative plus there were a few beautiful pics of this ‘firework look alike’ herb.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can attest to its beneficial aspects for skin irritation. If you get the kind with alcohol it stings a little at first but it kills germs and the witch hazel part soothes the skin.


  2. When I was growing up a friend’s mother used witch hazel to put on our insect bites to stop the itching. I don’t remember how well it worked, but I had never heard of it, and was fascinated! I don’t think my own mother ever did buy any.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Here in I Illinois you can buy witch hazel liquid incredibly cheap – maybe $2 for a bottle that lasts me years. I use it to fight occasional acne. The funny thing is that those in the medical profession say you can’t use it on skin because it dries it out. Doesn’t do that for me, BUT I would not use it in the eye area. It also works to take the burn out of small scratches. My partner is a carpenter and I use it when he scrapes himself. It doesn’t burn at all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, witch hazel is low cost and a bottle lasts a long time. I don’t see it overdrying the skin at all, more tightens it up. I think whether it stings or not depends on if you have the kind with alcohol in it or not.


  4. Someone told me to mix it with water and keep it in a spray bottle beside the bed for hot flashes, but it didn’t really help much….for me, at least. Probably work a lot better on those liver spots on skin….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good info to know, Anne. You know the color of the blossom does kind of remind me of forsythia, which blooms really early too. I wonder if they are in the same family….


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