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Witch Hazel Extract (Hamamelis virginiana)

Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)

Hamamelis is the botanical name for four shrubs that grow wild in the temperate regions of North America and East Asia. The common witch hazel is native to North America with oval, jagged leaves that look like the leaves of hazel plants (no relation). It is thought that this may be how witch hazel got its name.

It produces clusters of vivid yellow flowers in the autumn, appearing while the previous year’s seedpods are reaching maturity. The pods contain two black and glossy seeds. Native Americans ate these, but collecting them can be an occupational hazard. When ripe, they explode from the shell.

Hamamelis virginiana is the source of medicinally important Hamamelis water (also labelled witch hazel).

The leaves branches and twigs are collected at various times throughout the year. They are dried, blended with alcohol for tinctures, or steamed for distillates. They are used for many healing and soothing preparations.

Native Americans used the plant to stop bleeding, soothe itchy skin and bites and for eye irritations. In the 1800s, Theron T. Pond made witch hazel extract widely available in America as a commercial preparation. It became known as pond’s extract.

Witch hazel is often used in eye drops and anti-inflammatory preparations today. It has excellent anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. It is a powerful astringent.

Make-up artists have been known to use a brand of haemorrhoid gel (it is 50% witch hazel), blended with other ingredients, to reduce puffiness. (A little distressing, we know.)

The potent antibacterial and anti-inflammatory action of witch hazel is one of the protective elements of our Prince Triple Blossom shaving cream.

We make our witch hazel infusion by steeping witch hazel leaves in hot boiled water, then adding it to our freshly made cosmetics.

Our Aromaco solid deodorant contains witch hazel infusion. This helps to eliminate the microbes and bacteria associated with bodily odor, leaving you feeling fresh and clean.