Witch hazel – Hamamelis virginiana
Witch hazel comes from North America. Discovered by Native Americans, the plant helped them to heal many inflammatory problems and stop bleedings. In the 18th century, Europeans discovered it during colonization and imported it. They used it for their astringent virtues.
This small shrub with arching branches and with light brown bark forms a dense tuft of multiple stems, reaching 3 to 8 meters high. Its oval leaves, slightly hairy, possess a serrated edge. They are dark green, turning into yellow during fall. Blossom happens until middle of fall. Perfumed flowers are colored as bright yellow and possess 4 thin and wavy petals. The fruit is a hard capsule, lignified on 1 centimeter. It’s divided in two parts, each of them containing a black seed.
Nowadays, witch hazel is used to soothe varicose veins and hemorrhoids. It is also known that it has healing and anti-inflammatory properties for treatment of cutaneous infections or small injuries. In cosmetic, witch hazel water has the ability to bring an astringent and tonifying property, and to improve cutaneous microcirculation.