(hamamelis virginiana)


Article by Kaniz F. Shah


Botanical Name: hamamelis virginiana
English Name:  witch hazel
Hindi Name:   
Popular Name(s): witch hazel
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: saxifragales
Family: hamamelidaceae
Genus: hamamelis
Species: h. virginiana
Parts Used: leaves, tree, bark
Habitat: North America
Planting: Cool climate, rich soil & moisture
Height: 3-8 meters
Effect / Energy:   
Extraction method: steam distilled from tree & bark
Oil blends with:  




  • Anti-inflammatory
  • astringent
  • tonic
  • sedative
  • antiviral
  • tannins

Plant Description:

Which Hazel is a small tree/shrub with a smooth gray bark and small stringy bright yellow flowers in Autumn. It is best planted in a cool environment in rich soil and plenty of moisture. Witch hazel extract is rich in tannins but the regular drug store variety usually doesn’t contain any tannins.

Health Benefits of Witch Hazel:

  • Anti-inflammatory:

    Witch hazel is a good antiviral treatment for cold sores and helps counteract the swelling of varicose veins, piles and minor capillary problems. Boiling the leaves and bark and beating the strained liquid into petroleum jelly will make an ointment that will shrink piles.
  • Heals wounds:

    It can help ease the discomfort of minor burns and soothe the pain of burns, bruises and sprains and helps them heal faster.
  • Douche:

    Dried witch hazel can be infused and used as a nasal or vaginal douche. T decongests and helps increase blood circulation.
  • Soothing:

    It reduces swelling and soothes the skin and may be helpful for some people in fighting acne.

Witch Hazel for the Skin & Hair:

  • Anti-inflammatory and astringent:

    It dries up troublesome spots and reduces inflammation and is also good for the hair and scalp.
  • Tightens pores:

    It will soothe, smoothen and tighten the skin and pores, making it a good toner for the skin. The recommended use for remedies are the fresh leaves and small twigs, which can be used to make either a tincture infused in alcohol or as a decoction boiled in water. It is one of the best known astringents and is high in tannin and volatile oil content. It is very drying to the skin so use sparingly on dry or mature skin.
  • Good for oily skin:

    Witch hazel dries up excess oils and, therefore, is great for oily skin.


This article is for informational purpose only. Witch hazel is not a treatment for any disease or condition. It is generally safe when used on the skin or hair, but to ensure safety, it is best to do an allergy test. Because it is astringent, use it with care. Consult your doctor before using for medical purposes.


  1. McVeigh, Sof. Treat Yourself Natural: Over 50 Easy-to-Make Homemade Remedies Gathered from Nature. , 2013. 90, 104, 126.
  2. The complete book of Herbs & Spices 185, 186