Photos of Hamamelis virginiana, Witch Hazel, Eastern Witch Hazel, Common Witch Hazel.

Hamamelis virginiana, Witch hazel’s name upholds mysterious connotations. In colonial America, the shrub’s flexible forked branches were a favorite witching stick of dowsers used for searching out hidden waters. This has nothing to do with witches, but rather originates from the old English word for pliable branches “wych.” One of the most important American medicinal plants throughout history and today. Valued as a nonprescription drug for use in external analgesic and skin protectant products, and as an external anorectal, primarily for symptomatic relief of hemorrhoids, irritation, minor pain, and itching. Witch hazel preparations are available wherever over-the-counter drugs are sold.

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