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from Latin "apple together"
Syn.: Hamamelis macrophylla, dioica
Part Used: Stem Bark and also the bark of the root. Moisture content of the fresh bark of the root 150 ml per 100 g solids.
Plantae; Spermatophyta, Angiospermae - Flowering Plants; Dicotyledonae; Hamamelididae (Amentiferae); Hamamelidales; Hamamelida
Introduced in Homoeopathic practice in 1851 by Dr. Preston. Allen's Encyclop. Mat. Med. Vol. IV, 528.
Description of the substance
Botanists deem the common witch hazel Hamamelis virginiana. The generic name, Hamamelis, comes from a name that Hippocrates applied to the medlar (a small hawthorn-like fruit). The name combines two Greek word roots meaning fruit (apple) and "together," referring to the plant's habit of producing flowers at the same time the previous year's fruits mature and disperse seed. The fruits are worth a mention. Witch hazel produces a capsule-like fruit enshrining two shiny hard black seeds with white, oily, edible interiors. These nutty seeds were savored by Indians of the south. The flavor is like that of pistachio nuts. Witch hazel has a mechanical seed dispersal action. When mature, the seed capsules explode apart with a cracking pop, catapulting the seeds up to ten yards from the shrub. Remember this if you bring a bouquet of witch hazel twigs indoors when flowering in autumn. The seed capsules of the previous year are there at the same time. When they heat-up in the warm confines of a home, they will explode!
In a range extending from Nova Scotia, west to Ontario, and south to Texas, and Florida, common witch hazel flourishes on shaded north-facing slopes, along fence rows, country roads, and the stony banks of brooks.
This shrub, long known in cultivation, consists of several crooked branching trunks from one root, 4 to 6 inches in diameter, 10 to 12 feet in height, with a smooth grey bark, leaves 3 to 5 inches long and about 3 inches wide, on short petioles, alternate, oval or obovate, acuminate, obliquely subcordate at the base, the margin crenate, dentate, scabrous, with raised spots underneath, pinnately veined and having stellate hairs. The leaves drop off in autumn, then the yellow flowers appear, very late in September and in October, in clusters from the joints, followed by black nuts, containing white seeds which are oily and edible. In Britain, the nut does not bear seeds, but in America, they are produced abundantly, but often do not ripen till the following summer. The seeds are ejected violently when ripe, hence the name Snapping Hazelnut. The leaves are inodorous, with an astringent and bitterish aromatic taste. The twigs are flexible and rough, colour externally, yellowish-brown to purple, wood greeny white, pith small