Before making its way onto the shelves in various formulations for skincare and pharmaceutical use, witch hazel begins as a flowering shrub. Indigenous to the northeastern and central U.S., witch hazel or Hamamelis virginiana has many interesting features. Its horticultural designation, which means "together with fruit," reveals one: its fruit (a nutty seedpod), its flowers, and next year's leaf buds all appear on the branch together a rarity among trees.
The alternative name "Snapping Hazel" hints at another: the tree ejects its seeds explosively into the air, insuring widespread propagation without overcrowding. And because it blossoms bright yellow in the darkening days of fall and winter, witch hazel is also called "Winterbloom."
Witch hazel is a small shrub that offers big value an efficacious herbal extract with exceptional cleansing, soothing, and healing properties. Native Americans, who used witch hazel bark and twigs in many therapeutic applications, passed on their knowledge to early settlers. The settlers subsequently refined the process for extracting essential oils from the pulp material through a distillation process, producing the clear, all-natural liquid astringent that has become an American tradition.
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