Herb of the Week for Oct 6th by Lynn
The Witching Herb
At this time of the year there are daily
surprises in the garden as spring moves
the plants to their seasonal rhythms.
A delightful surprise in our Herbalistís
Haven garden is to see the bare branches
of the witch hazel adorn themselves with
petals which look like tiny yellow ribbons.
The sunny colour and the sweet fragrance
give us a hint of summer times to come.
This shrub which grows to about a metre
has been used fro generations as an astringent
The astringency comes from the tannins
in the bark and leaves.
Witch hazel distillate has been and is
used for compresses for bruises and inflammation,
for a treatment for piles and even by
the North American Indians as poultices
for swellings and tumours.
Witch hazel works due to the tannins having
an astringent effect on the fibres of
It is helpful for treating varicose veins
and in our grandparents day it was in
every householdís first aid kit.
The main variety used for the distilling
of witch hazel is Hamamelis virginiana
which grows widely in Canada and some
parts of the States.
The witch hazel in the photo is Hamamelis
mollis which has been a slow grower over
the years but still delights us at the
end of winter and beginning of spring
when it bursts forth with its bright unusual
Grove Road, RD10