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Witch HazelWitch Hazel
Hamamelis virginia

This slow-growing shrub or small tree is of Saturn and has a special place for me, because it was the first medicinal plant I ever learned about. Its name does not come from wit [knowledge], the root of witch,* but from wyche, as in weak, because its branches are yielding and pliable; they made good bows for archers. It is a good astringent, great for cleaning skin, soothing for bug bites, and has sedative properties. Because it chases water, it finds water; divining rods are usually made from witch hazel. It also considered protective.

*Although the dictionary disagrees, a respected linguist told me about the relationship between wit and witch. He pointed out that there were parallels in other Indo-European languages, such as Russian, where ved' means knowledge and a ved'ma is a witch (and a medved'--a honey-knower--is a bear). Ved' and Wit are linguistic twins. So don't let anyone tell you that witch has to do with yielding; a witch is one who has wit. Back

Witch Hazel Leaf
1 oz. $4.50

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2004, 2017 Harold A. Roth; No reproduction without permission