WITCH-HAZEL has always been a farourite herb of mine. Firstly its an interesting Tree as its yellow-gold spider like flowers come out on the branches as one of the first signs of Spring returning to the garden. WITCH-HAZEL grows to about ten to twenty feet high and is a lovely shrub as well as a healing one. After the flowers are gone it has quite big leaves all Summer through.
When my children were young and suffered bruises and scratches I always gave them Witch-Hazel on cotton- wool to hold on the bruises etc. It quickly soothes and heals. My children loved it so and always ended up sucking the cotton-wool as well!!
The forked branches were used to divine water, and it is regarded as a Miracle Plant. It is astringent, prevents haemorrhage, anti-inflamatory, helps to rid warts. Can be used internally for piles, diarrhoea and colitis. In homeopathy it is Hamamelis. Given for piles, bleeding, stomach ulcers and wounds. Try a few drops in sore ears.
Foot therapy: Massage clean feet with mixture of 120ml witch hazel, and 20ml glycerine, ( herb thyme), can be also soaked in this mixture which has been sunbathed on the window-sill, for a few weeks to blend. Strain and squeeze out the thyme before using. Lovely for tired swelling feet.
WITCH HAZEL LOTION
Take a handful of the leaves 2 cups water and 1/2 cup vodka
Rinse and chop leaves. Boil the water, add leaves (using an enamel saucepan or glass pyrex) simmer 15 minutes. Cool strain, add the vodka. Apply with cotton cloths or cotton wool.
The twigs and bark can be processed same as for the leaves, but simmer about 1/2 hour, strain, and add vodka.