witch hazel


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.

witch hazel,

common name for some members of the Hamamelidaceae, a family of trees and shrubs found mostly in Asia. The family includes the large genus (Corylopsis) of winter hazels, and the witch hazels (genus Hamamelis), sweet gums (Liquidambar), and witch elders (Fothergilla), the latter three genera represented by species in E North America as well as in Asia. The American witch hazel (H. virginiana) is a fall-blooming shrub or small tree found E of the Rockies. Its ripening fruits discharge their seeds by a characteristic explosive action, often shooting them several feet. The plant seems to have been named for the resemblance of its leaves to those of the hazel, and the witch hazel branch, like that of the hazel, has been used as a divining roddivining rod
or dowser,
stick used in searching for underground water or minerals. This form of divination is still in common use in many parts of the world. The instrument is typically a forked twig.
..... Click the link for more information.
. The name "witch hazel" is applied also to an astringent liniment obtained from the leaves and bark of the plant. The sweet gums are characterized by their star-shaped leaves, their unusually brilliant and varied autumn coloring, and their round fruits with hornlike projections. The hard wood is used for cabinetmaking and for various building purposes. The bark, especially that of Asian species, is a source of storax or styrax, a fragrant balsambalsam
, fragrant resin obtained from various trees. The true balsams are semisolid and insoluble in water, but they are soluble in alcohol and partly so in hydrocarbons.
..... Click the link for more information.
 used in expectorants and perfumes and sometimes in chewing gum. Witch hazel is classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
..... Click the link for more information.
, class Magnoliopsida, order Hamamelidales, family Hamamelidaceae.

witch hazel

[′wich ‚hā·zəl]
(materials)
A water extract from the dried leaves of the witch hazel shrub (Hamamelis virginiana); a solution of 14% alcohol with 1% witch hazel extract is commonly known as witch hazel; used as a tonic and sedative.

witch hazel

, wych-hazel
1. any of several trees and shrubs of the genus Hamamelis, esp H. virginiana, of North America, having ornamental yellow flowers and medicinal properties: family Hamamelidaceae
2. an astringent medicinal solution containing an extract of the bark and leaves of H. virginiana, applied to treat bruises, inflammation, etc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Witch hazel is very frost-hardy but, in the first few years, can be damaged by really hard frosts - so use a horticultural fleece if temperatures really drop.
As reported on the Kingston University website, "the researchers added three different concentrations of white tea (freeze-dried powder), witch hazel (dried herb) and rose extract (in a medicinal tincture form) to see what effect the mixtures might have on suppressing rogue enzymes and oxidants, which play a key role in cellular inflammation and aging.
Our legacy witch hazel brand gets a prime location right in the middle of the set in Walgreens," DeFrang says.
The witch hazel shrub yields an herbal extract that possesses formidable cleansing, soothing and healing properties that led Native Americans to use its bark and twigs for therapeutic applications.
Derived from a winter flowering shrub indigenous to the northeastern and central United States, the witch hazel plant Hamamelis virginianna yields an efficacious herbal extract renowned for its cleansing, soothing and healing properties.
The face scrub, shave cream, aftershave balm and aftershave contain flaxseed lignan extract to prevent razor burn, witch hazel to tighten pores, and oat protein and organic aloe vera to soothe and hydrate.
As you walk through the woods of New York this fall, keep your eyes open for witch hazel, the last blooming "wildflower" of the year.
Use witch hazel on soft tissue or cloth to wipe the area affected by tears and swelling if traditional wiping is uncomfortable.
There are flowers to be found from early April till the end of November, the last hold-out being the Witch Hazel with its wrinkled, yellow flowers.
Schwartz describes how Goodyear tried to keep rubber items from "turning into a gooey mush" when they got hot by mixing it with materials including salt, pepper, chicken soup, witch hazel, cream cheese, ink, and nitric and sulfuric acid.
FRESHEN UP in the bathroom with a moist towelette or apply hydrogen peroxide or witch hazel to the "strong" areas.