Hamamelis virginiana Common name: Witch Hazel
Parts used: Leaves, Bark
Medicinal actions: Astringent, anti-inflammatory
Medicinal uses: Should only be used topically for the treatment of hemorrhoids, varicose veins, bruises and inflamed swellings & skin disorders (eg. eczema, dermatitis). If used in a vaginal douche, it will address purulent mucus discharge from inflamed tissues as well as blood loss. It’s antioxidant activity can be useful towards anti-aging and anti-wrinkling of the skin.
Toxicity: Hydrolysable tannins which are broken down readily by acid, alkali or certain enzymes to yield gallic or ellagic acid, and ultimately pyrogallol which is antiseptic, caustic and hepatotoxic. Thus if taken internally it should be for the shortest time possible.
Contraindications: Internal use (relative) due to hydrolyzable tannins.
Interactions: When extracted in hot water, tannins can precipitate alkaloids from plants, drugs, proteins, salicylates, iodine, metals, minerals and B vitamins thereby slowing, reducing or blocking their absorption. The drug-tannin reaction can interfere with dosing if sources of the two compounds are combined in solution prior to administration.