Eastern North America – Nova Scotia, Minnesota, Florida, Texas
Witch hazel is a small tree or shrub that grows from 15
to 35 feet tall. The plant has a unique floral display, with fragrant yellow flowers that stick around long after many trees become bare for the winter. Due to its beauty, witch hazel does have ornamental uses, and also provides food for birds, deer, and small-seed mammals. Commercial witch hazel is used as a popular astringent, and is included in many beauty products for its soothing effects.
Native Americans were the first to produce witch hazel extract, by boiling the plant’s stems. The extract was used to treat swelling, inflammation, and tumors. Early Puritan settlers arriving by ship soon adopted this practice from the natives, and its use has since become widely established.
Witch hazel has been used for centuries to treat swelling, inflammation, and tumors. An extract of the plant is widely popular as an astringent, either alone or as an ingredient in many beauty products. Witch hazel oil is used in medicines, aftershave lotions, and other soothing salves for insect bites, burns, rashes, swelling, itching, hemorrhoids, and more. It is an extraordinarily soothing herb.