Pucker up and cool down with Witch Hazel oil

Witch Hazel Hamilton 2013
Witch Hazel Oil-2014
Witch Hazel Oil-Oleum Hamamelis 2014

 Witch Hazel oil-Oleum Hamamelis

  The summer’s harvest yielded a fantastic Witch Hazel oil. This is a fragrant, cooling and astringent healing oil made from fresh Hamamelis Virginiana leaves, Violet absolute and Vitamin E.. I am very, very pleased with the results. There is an easy harmony and synergy between these two shade loving medicinals. Besides the obvious similarities in colour, fragrance and “temperature” they share a strong astrological affinity.

I feel a bit like an old-time snake oil salesman, ha ha. Combine that with an impaling act and I have my very own travelling sideshow!   Though this oil is not a panacea or cure-all by any stretch, it will most definitely cool and soothe any hot, bothered or irritated external part of your body, while tightening and puckering up the area.

   Though  Oleum Hamamelis, or Witch Hazel oil is  more emollient and soothing than the better know Witch Hazel Extract and distillate, there are few plants that have such a cooling effect, as Witch Hazel, (Violet is #2). Razor burns, hot irritated skin, boils, hemorrhoids and piles, sunburn, chafing, minor burns and achy varicose veins. Witch Hazel oil reduces pain and irritation, cools and relieves excessive heat, and does so quickly. Witch Hazel is also also used traditionally to reduce the swelling  and pain of varicose veins.

Witch Hazel , Ontario, 2013
Witch Hazel , Ontario, 2013

Sometimes a single  2″ diameter trunk/stalk will grow to over 15 feet, reaching from the ground, up and out, gracefully arching and positioning itself strategically to catch stray beams of sunshine that slip by the taller trees. Low enough to jockey for second-hand light, but just high enough the deer can’t gobble up its leaves.  Tough, resilient and enduring, this lovely lady of the dark woods will contort in zigs and zags at every leaf juncture to grab a missed beam of sunlight.

There is something stoic and enduring about Witch Hazel. Her wood is tough and stringy, almost impossible to break, dead or alive. Very difficult to propagate from cuttings or from seed, she spits her  projectile seeds up to 30 feet away, and though germination rate is very low, she is so tenacious and hardy that when her seedlings do sprout, they somehow manage to survive the harsh life of the forest floor till they are tall enough to avoid being eaten.

   If, as I have said in the past,  Myrrh represents  the flavor of bitter, then Witch Hazel is the paragon of astringent in the vegetable kingdom. She is a gum-sucking puckerer, as if drawing the molecules of moisture from the tissues of your mouth.

Witch Hazel Branch
Witch Hazel Branch (Photo credit: Michael Hodge)

From the bark of her elegantly arching branches, through the green of her crisp, paper-thin leaves, to the scrawny straggly yellow petals of her fall and  winter blooming  flowers, Witch Hazel has a distinct, lovely, and almost astringent fragrance. A perfume that endures through gentle distillations and  light handed percolations in oil.  Not only is she beautiful to behold, and a medicinal wonder, but she smells lovely too. What more could one ask from a  woodland lady?

With her cold astringent nature, it is obvious why Witch Hazel is under the planetary rulership of Saturn. Though in my opinion, beautiful, earthy Taurus is her ruling sign, and is just as important an influence on her personality, and medicinal applications. This dovetails perfectly with the lovely Violet, who is born under Venus.

  This oil of Hamamelis is beautifully complemented by Violet absolute, (A Co2 extraction of the fragrance and healing properties of the Violet leaf ),  and Vitamin E. The mutual support of these two herbs is obvious in their easy union with each other in fragrance, colour, rulerships, temperature and medicinal effects.  Witch Hazel oil is a simplebut powerful healer for those tender, painful hotspots, inflammations and flareups when they happen.

Witch Hazel Oil-2014
Witch Hazel Violet Oil-2014

This oil is now posted and available in my Etsy store, and in Humblepie, for those living in Hamilton. If you have difficulty finding it, or have any questions about it, please drop me a line by phone, email or leave me a comment. I would love to hear from you.

Dan

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4 Comments

  1. You really do love this plant don’t you Dan? It’s so evident in your words and how you talk about it. It’s great to see and read all about it. Much info I never knew, as these don’t grow here except in gardens, and I don’t have room for one. Too bad! I need to get to the Winter Garden in the Arboretum soon to see them I guess. You’ve inspired me to make a trip there… 😉
    Excellent post,
    Steve

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