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Witch Hazel - Hamamelis
Jeanne Rose

Commercial Witch hazel water (also known as Hamamelis water and distilled Witch Hazel extract) is obtained from partially dried dormant twigs that have been recently cut. The twigs are macerated (soaked) for about 24 hours in twice their weight of warm water followed by distilling and then adding alcohol (normally about 14%) to the distillate. This is thoroughly mixed, so that 1000 volumes Witch Hazel are derived from 1000 parts crude.

Witch hazel leaf contains 8-10% tannin that is composed of hamamelitannin, gallotannins, and/or proanthocyanadins. Other constituents present include free gallic acid, saponins, resins, flavonoids [quercetin, kaempferol, astragalin, etc.]; 0.5% essential oil (hexenol, a-and b-ionones, safrole, sesquiterpenes, etc.); and others. Witch hazel bark contains 1-7% hamamelitannin, and smaller amounts of condensed tannins; saponins; fixed oil (0.6%); wax; 0.5% essential oil (sesquiterpenes, a phenol, etc.); and a resin. Witch hazel water contains a trace of essential oil consisting of eugenol, carvacrol, and probably similar compounds (e.g. safrole) as the essential oils of leaf and bark. However, as it is a steam distillate, it does not contain tannins. Witch hazel hydrosol is the same as the water but contains no alcohol.

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