Witch Hazel leaf and bark (Hamamelidis folium et cortex)

Published August 21, 1985; Revised March 13, 1990.
List of German Commission E Monographs (Phytotherapy)

Hamamelisblätter und-rinde

Name of Drug

Hamamelidis folium, witch hazel leaf.
Hamamelidis cortex, witch hazel bark.

Composition of Drug

Witch hazel leaf consists of the dried leaf of Hamamelis virginiana L. [Fam. Hamamelidaceae], as well as its preparations in effective dosage.

The drug contains 3 - 8 percent tannin, mainly gallotannins. Other ingredients are flavonoids and essential oil.

Witch hazel bark consists of the dried bark of the trunk and branches of H. virginiana L., as well as its preparations in effective dosage.

The drug contains at least 4 percent tannins. Characteristic ingredients of witch hazel bark are ß-hamamelitannin and g-hamamelitannin, the depside ellagitannin, catechin derivatives, and free gallic acid.

Fresh leaf and twigs of H. virginiana L., consists of leaves and twigs collected in spring and early summer for the production of water distillates.


Minor injuries of skin, local inflammation of skin and mucous membranes. Hemorrhoids. Varicose veins.


None known.

Side Effects

None known.

Interactions with Other Drugs

None known.


Unless otherwise prescribed:


Water steam distillate (witch hazel water) undiluted or diluted 1:3 with water; For poultices, 20 - 30 percent in semi-solid preparations. Extract preparations:

Semi-solid and liquid preparations, corresponding to 5 - 10 percent drug. Drug:

Decoctions of 5 - 10 g of herb per cup (250 ml) of water for compresses and irrigations. Internal use (mucous membranes):


1 - 3 times daily, the amount of a preparation corresponding to 0.1 - 1 g drug to be applied 1 - 3 times a day. Other preparations:

Several times daily, corresponding to 0.1 - 1 g drug in preparations, or witch hazel water undiluted or diluted with water. Mode of Administration Witch hazel leaves and bark:

Cut drug or extracts for internal and external use. Fresh leaves and bark of Hamamelis:

Steam distillate for internal and external use. Actions Astringent
Locally hemostatic.