Transformational Gardening

Disclaimer: Foraging can be fun, rewarding and provide health benefits. As a novice forager, I will be sharing my foraging experiences. However, in order to be safe, always consult with local foraging experts and guidebooks before beginning foraging. Children should learn to forage safely by being guided by experienced adults. Never ingest anything unless you are certain of the identification and safety of the plant. Some plant species are inedible and some are poisonous.

American Witchhazel (Hamamelis virginiana): Images

Date Location Notes Images
August 4, 2011 Southeastern, New Hampshire Right across the main path from the Cardinalflower (Lobelia cardinalis) I spotted American Witchhazel, a shrub I learned about in the recent Healing with Plants, Fungi and Lichen class.

It is a shrub with simple, alternate leaves that have crenate (rounded-tooth) margins and an asymetrical leaf base (as can be seen from the pictures). It has a dense cluster of stems at its base. The bark is light brown. The flowers are usually yellow (sometimes orange or redish) and have four ribbon-shaped petals.

Tea can be made with the leaves (infusion) or the branchlets and inner bark (decoction). It is valuable astringent. An ointment can be applied externally to treat hemorrhoids. The tincture can be applied on sprains, bruises, wounds and the powder mixed with honey and water can be applied to burns, abrasions and crushed toes and fingers. The tea can be applied externally as well to treat sore muscles/backs, bruises, swellings, cuts, insect bites, poison ivy, sunburn and varicose veins. Steam derived from decocting stems can be used to treat sore muscles.

The tea can be used as a gargle for sore throat and taken internally for diarrhea, hemorrhages, mucus discharge, prolapsed internal organs and excessive menses. I’ll be collecting Witchhazel for tea, tincture and powder next time I go out.
Date Location Notes Images
January 12, 2013 Southeastern, New Hampshire Remnants of a Witchhazel flower.
Date Location Notes Images
June 7, 2014 Central, Connecticut