American witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) is a large shrub or small tree that is native to the eastern U.S. We have put together this list to help you learn more about witch hazel uses for health, beauty, pets, and around the house. In the case of witch hazel, it is the seeds that are a valuable food source. Witch hazel is native to North America and parts of Asia. It is obtained from the leaves and barks of the American witch hazel Hamamelis virginiana. Native/Non-native: Native Status: Common. Witch hazel is one of the few medicinal preparations still used today for the same ailments that the native Americans used them for thousands of years ago. As one of the only native plants that blooms in late fall and early winter, American witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) can be found stealing the forest spotlight right now.. The limbs are cut close to the ground and then brought out of the woods in a large bundle. This medicinal concoction is made from oil extracted from the bark, stems, and leaves of the native witch hazel, H. virginiana. Witch hazel was used extensively by the Native Americans and early settlers for its beneficial medicinal properties. Native Americans recognized Witch Hazel’s value, and would apply it topically to treat minor wounds, abrasions and skin irritations. Native Americans have long used witch hazel extract for medicinal purposes. What is Witch Hazel Hydrosol? Native Americans have long used the twigs and bark of witch hazel as a medicinal herb, both internally and topically, for a wide variety of ailments. It typically grows 15-20’ tall with a similar spread in cultivation, but can reach 30’ tall in its native habitat. Native Americans used witch hazel leaves and bark as a poultice to reduce swelling and inflammation. For the Native Americans, witch hazel signaled its special status among plant life by blooming in cold weather, unlike other plants. American Witch Hazel Shrubs are a unique native shrub. Uses. But besides being beautiful, the plant served several different purposes to Native tribes, such as treating sores and sore muscles . Other Common Names: Hazel nut, snapping hazel, tobacco wood, hamamelis water, spotted alder and winterbloom. Witch Hazel is a plant native to the Northeast with healing properties so powerful that the Native Americans used it as a topical healing solution as early as the 17th century. Natural distribution of American witch-hazel. It was used internally for bleeding. The decoction was used in the same way that later forms of witch hazel were used: to treat inflammation. Origin and Meaning of Names: ... Witch Hazel flowers are perhaps its best-known feature. Witch hazel is a plant extract widely used for its medicinal value by the Native Americans. How It Works. American witch-hazel, common witch-hazel, witch hazel. Native Americans used extract of witch-hazel extensively for medicinal purposes. It has bright yellow flowers with long, thin petals. Illinois lies along the western range limit of this species; it is more common further to the east. Besides being adapted to our climate and environmental conditions, native plants are an important food source for local wildlife. Native Americans used an extract of witch-hazel made from boiling the stems to treat inflammation and swelling. Witch hazel is famous for its ability to heal a wide variety of skin ailments, but it can be used internally as well. At this time of year, I am always surprised when I come across a flash of bright yellow from the last native flowering plant of the year: the native American Witch-Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana). For internal hemorrhages and excessive menstrual flow. You may even see flowers still out in January! It is found in moist, semi-open woods. Used as a liniment and eyewash and treatment for hemorrhoids. At Direct Native Plants, we take many precautions to make sure your plants will arrive in the best condition possible. The witch hazel tree is a small, deciduous tree or shrub native to the United States and Canada. Common witch hazel is native to North America, with its home territory stretching from Canada south to Georgia in a swath from Arkansas to Nebraska with the Appalachian Mountains as its focal point. American Witch Hazel Shrubs have great fall color and provides winter interest to the garden, A large vase shaped Shrub or small tree with fragrant flowers in late fall. When distilled and combined with alcohol, the aromatic oil extracted from the bark of the Witch Hazel shrub makes a soothing and mildly astringent lotion. Those are among the uses of this herb that has long been among the best known and widely used home remedies. While most of our native bloomers turn in for a long winter’s nap, the streamer-like flowers of this plant are just starting to appear, following the annual loss of the shrub’s leaves. Range & Habitat: The native Witch-Hazel is uncommon in central and northern Illinois, while in the southern part of the state it is rare or absent (see Distribution Map). The early European settlers of New England followed the practice they saw from the Native Americans, and it became very popular in puritan and colonial America. Technology: The bendable … WITCH HAZEL (Hamamelis virginiana) Medicine: An excellent astringent when the bark, leaves and twigs are distilled and mixed with alcohol and water. Not surprisingly, the most popular American species, common witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana), made its entry on the American scene much earlier, having been discovered in 1687 and grown in England by Bishop Henry Compton. The English common name derives from the Anglo-Saxon word for flexible, “wytch”, because of the Native Americans’ uses of witch hazel for making bows. Despite its species epithet, common witch hazel is found over a wide swath of the Eastern states, reaching as far west as Texas, and in Canada, from Ontario to Nova … American Witch hazel is best known for its late season blooms. Witch hazel water is the most commonly found commercial preparation, usually kept in most homes as a topical cooling agent or astringent. It was brought back to England in the eighteenth century by Peter Collinson, a self-taught botanist and draper by … Many people produced witch hazel extract by boiling the stems of the shrub and producing a decoction, which was used to treat swellings, inflammations, and tumors. By boiling the stem of the shrub, they produced a decoction used to treat swelling, inflammation and tumors. Witch hazel is an American native that was well known and utilized by the Native American people before the Europeans arrived and identified it with plants back home and named it accordingly. The new leaves emerge reddish-bronze in the spring, and turn a brilliant golden color in the fall. 1 The tea is taken to remedy sore throats, diarrhea, intestinal bleeding, colds, coughs, bruising, and to prevent postpartum hemorrhaging. Hamamelis virginiana, known as common witch hazel, is a fall-blooming, deciduous shrub or small tree that is native to woodlands, forest margins and stream banks in eastern North America. American Witch Hazel is produced from the leaves and bark of the Witch Hazel plant found in North America (Hamamelis Virginiana) and was widely used as an herbal medicine s by Native Americans. Currently a large tract of forest close to my house is being selectively harvested for witch hazel. The native American Witch Hazel. However, it was the Native Americans who made the best use of the plant’s medicinal qualities and not the Chinese, where it remains mostly enjoyed as a garden ornamental and not as a medicine. Tons of limbs are cut, chipped and brought to the distiller in East Hampton, CT. Witch hazel hydrosol is an extract of the witch hazel shrub. Early Puritan settlers in New England adopted this remedy from the natives, and its use became widely established in the United States.. An extract of the plant is used in the astringent witch hazel. The word "witch" in the name of the herb is actually a derivative from the Anglo-Saxon word wych meaning flexible. There are many species of witch hazel, but Hamamelis virginiana — a type of shrub native … Native Americans produced witch hazel extract by boiling the stems of the shrub and producing a decoction, which was used to treat swellings, inflammations, and tumors. Today, some herbalists recommend making a paste with a small amount of baking soda and applying this directly to the irritated area. From a small shrub native to ?the U.S. (Hamamelis virginiana), witch hazel has ?long been part of traditional ?Native American medicine and a popular topical home remedy for various skin ailments, including inflamed and irritated skin (such as from acne and diaper rash), minor burns (including sunburn), insect bites, small wounds (to stop bleeding), bruises, and swelling. Native Americans are credited with making this discovery. Known by the scientific name Hamamelis virginiana, the witch hazel tree generally reaches a height at maturity between 15 and 25 feet (4.6 and 7.6 meters), with a spread of 10 to 15 feet (3 to 4.6 meters).Witch hazel appears dormant throughout spring and summer when other plants are … In this post, learn some witch hazel hydrosol benefits and how to use it. When adding shrubs to your landscape, try to use native plants such as the witch hazel. The leaves and bark from the witch hazel plant are high in tannins, a natural astringent, that can dry and tighten skin tissue, tighten pores and remove excess oil. As an indigenous plant, common witch hazel rarely struggles with diseases or garden pests, making it a low maintenance choice in the garden. For late fall color, October into December color, one of the best choices is the native Hamamelis virginiana, with its curious spider-like fragrant yellow flowers. They, in turn, taught early settlers of its medicinal properties. It also shows how they typically grow in small clusters along a branch. Many commercial extracts contain isopropyl alcohol and are used externally only. Unlike most flowering plants, it starts blooming in the late fall – usually mid to late October in Kentucky. Shipping Information. The USDA classifies witch hazel as a Class #1 drug which means it has clinically proven beneficial effects. Witch-hazel is native to eastern North America: the northern limit of its natural range is actually where I live, in Québec City, Canada. Today our natural skin care products are extracted from the twigs and bark of the Witch Hazel Plant and distilled into a natural astringent that is still one of the gentlest ways to cleanse and tone the skin. The earliest form of witch hazel was a decoction made with the plant’s stems. Traditionally, witch hazel was known to native North American people as a treatment for tumors and eye inflammations. Native Americans used it for sore muscles, insect bites and burns. The tonic is still used as a treatment for sunburn, skin irritations, dryness and insect bites. Witch-hazel’s native range just barely extends into southeastern Minnesota, and the small populations have led the state to list the species as ‘threatened.’ It is a very popular landscape species due to its unusual flowering time, but also has many ethnobotanical uses. NativeTech: Native American Technology and Art Indigenous Plants & Native Uses in the Northeast . Witch hazel will often continue blooming for several weeks. It has a soothing fresh herbaceous aroma. Bug bites and stings: Herbalist James Duke reported (7) that Native Americans typically applied witch hazel extract to insect bites and stings to reduce both itching and swelling. An understory small tree or large shrub, it flowers when most other shrubs and trees have finished blooming, in partly shady or sunny locations. It’s a 20- to 30-foot (6- to 10-meter) small tree or shrub with crinkly, bright yellow ribbon-like petals that are often found among the medium-yellow autumn foliage. Native witch hazel is found in abundance here in Connecticut. The leaves, bark, and twigs are used for these purposes . Nineteenth century missionaries learned of the plant’s therapeutic qualities and produced the first commercial Witch Hazel Extracts as basic ingredients for a wide array of personal care products. It is becoming important again as we search for more natural products and medicines without harmful chemicals. Witch hazel’s ability to bloom even in winter fascinated Native American tribes. The golden flowers blooming in the dead of winter may have been the first clue to Native Americans that there was something unusual about witch hazel… This photo shows flowers in bloom in November. Our perennials are grown in a 4” quart-sized pot. They appear in late fall, and often stay in bloom long after the leaves have fallen. Witch hazel is a plant with powerful medicinal properties that can be used in a variety of ways. Photo: U.S. Geological Survey.
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