Grow witch hazel on the homestead

Grow witch hazel on the homestead
Grow or forage for Witch Hazel, a natural remedy

Consider growing witch hazel (or at least foraging for it)! Native
to North America, witch hazel blooms brilliantly in yellow during
October and November. (In Europe it may bloom in February and

Grow or Forage for Witch Hazel
Why grow witch hazel? To entice you, we came up with this list:

#1: Witch hazel blooms in winter!
Witch hazel (Hamamelis Virginiana) is among the best of all
winter-flowering shrubs. The enchanted witch hazel blossoms in
the dead of winter with a beautiful display of blossoms that's
sure to cheer a dreary winter's day. That witch hazel grows so
easily in the dead of winter is interesting and this truly
remarkable plant with powerful healing properties could be your
next homesteading project.

Preppers and homesteaders who live in snowfall regions will
want to grow witch hazel if they can, or learn to forage this
medicinal plant.

#2: Witch hazel is easy to grow.
Witch hazel is forgiving of soil conditions, but it thrives in
organic-rich and acidic soil with  even moisture and good
drainage. Witch hazel loves full to partial sun, and it should have
at least four months of full sun annually. The more sun your
witch hazel has, the more splendid and vibrant display of yellow
blooms you'll get to feast the eyes. What's more, pruning
generally isn't necessary.

Learn how to grow and care for witch hazel.

#3: Honey bees love witch hazel.
If you have a garden and want to promote pollination and the
honey bee population in your vicinity, then
grow witch hazel, so
says the Honeybee conservancy. Witch hazel is a late bloomer,
which will attract foragers in the Fall. The site has suggestions
for other blooms to provide bees with a constant source of food.

#4: Witch hazel brings deer to your backyard.
As a winter bloom, witch hazel attracts deer and other wildlife.
When the poop hits the propeller, you may like to invite a juicy
venison meal to the homestead table by planting witch hazel.
Consider witch hazel your natural bait.

#5: Witch hazel seeds are edible!
Native Americans likely observed deer munching on witch hazel
seeds and gave it a try to help avoid starvation. Though the food
value is low, witch hazel quickly became a favorite! These nutty
seeds have a similar flavor of pistachio nuts. Native Americans
also brewed a medicinal tea with witch hazel leaves and used it
as a remedy for dysentery and combating the common cold.

  • IMPORTANT: When you go "into the wild" be careful never to
    eat plants without proper identification and study preferably
    from a botanist to see if it is edible. For an important
    prepper movie on the subject, see Into the Wild. This is the
    true story of Christopher McCandless. Freshly graduated
    from college with a promising future ahead, McCandless
    instead walked out of his privileged life and into the wild in
    search of adventure. He was a fearless risk-taker who
    wrestled with the precarious balance between man and

#6: Witch hazel is ideal for artisan soaps.
For soapmaking, witch hazel is a natural companion as it's
extremely fragrant and has been used for centuries to relieve
itching, dry and irritated skin. Artisan soaps made from witch
hazel can help relief skin ailments, such as psoriasis and
eczema, poison ivy, blisters and acne!

#7: Freshen laundry with witch hazel.
Sew some simple sachets or create a home made laundry spray
with witch hazel and you'll cast off those nasty smells. It will
bedazzle you how your stinkiest laundry can smell fresh when
you store your clothes with sachets of witch hazel or a linen

  • Witch hazel sachets. Witch hazel leaves and blooms can be
    a refreshing sachet ingredient. Below is a mixture of
    lavender, orange peels and dried rosebuds with essential oil
    sachet spray that uses witch hazel.

  • Witch hazel and lavender linen spray: You can make a
    fresh smelling linen spray of witch hazel in combination with
    lavender. The witch hazel helps make the mixture easier to

The sachet bags above have a magical ingredient - witch hazel!

#7: Make a cold compress.

  • Ease a headache with a witch hazel compress. Combine
    witch hazel extract with a warm, moist compress at bedtime
    to relieve symptoms of a cold.

  • Help bruises heal faster with a witch hazel compress.
    Place a cold compress of witch hazel to soothe bruising. You
    can do this with a washcloth dampened with witch hazel
    extract. Dip a small washcloth in a bowl of witch hazel, then
    relieve the bruised area by leaving tapplication.

#8: Helps dowse for water!
The word witch hazel comes from the English word “wych,”
meaning a pliable branch or divining rod. Native Americans used
the pliable branches to create bows, and also as an instrument
to "dowse" or to locate underground water sources. Some still
practice the art of dowsing today. A prepper in search of an
underground water source, may not need to use a forked witch
hazel stick to dowse for water! You see, according to the U.S.
Geological survey
it is difficult NOT to drill and find water.

#9: Create your own witch hazel extract.
Witch hazel is a popular folk remedy in extract form to treat a
variety of conditions:

  1. abrasions and cuts
  2. acne
  3. bruising
  4. insect bites
  5. hemorrhoids
  6. poison ivy
  7. sprained muscles
  8. sunburn
  9. windburn

Witch hazel extract is distilled from twigs, bark and leaves of the
eponymous tree (botanical name: hamamelis virginiana).

#10: Concoct your own bug spray.
As an extract, witch hazel can soothe bug bites, but if you plan
ahead you can actually discourage bug bites in the first place.
Make a natural bug spray with witch hazel and jojoba oil
(alternatively neem or almond oil). Here's the all natural recipe
bug spray from

Above, shares a homemade witch hazel and lavender
bug spray that really works.

How to make a witch hazel astringent from twigs.
Once you've either identified the plant in your foraging efforts, or
your homestead plant has bloomed, you can make a witch hazel
astringent from the twigs.

  • Look for shrubs that have flowered.
  • Prune fresh twigs from the flowering plant.
  • Strip the leaves and flowers. (See #5 above, to make
    sachets from the flowers, throw the leaves in your
  • Create a mulch by chopping the twigs with a pruner.
  • Cover twigs with distilled water in a stainless steel pot.
    (Important: Do not use aluminum or cast iron.)
  • Bring contents to a boil and reduce to simmer.
  • Transfer contents to a crock pot for eight hours. (Be sure to
    add water to cover the mulch as needed).
  • Cool the mixture until it reaches room temperature.
  • Filter the tonic with a cheesecloth into a mason jar.
  • Refrigerate and use as a skin tonic.
    (Unrefrigerated, the mixture can last a week.)

Important: This recipe is for external use only. Do NOT ingest.

* Ingesting witch hazel as a tea from the leaves is possible, but
it is not without serious caution as tannin compounds could
conceivably cause kidney or liver damage, interfere with
adsorption of vitamins and minerals, or worse, cause an allergic
reaction. It's best to compost your leaves.

How to make "magic water" -- a distilled astringent.
Alternately, you can use the whole plant - the barks, the stems
and the twigs and then distill it.

How to use the witch hazel astringent.
Use your home-made witch hazel astringent as a tonic for bites,
bruises, burns, muscle ache relief or as a sooth foot bath! Your
home made astringent is a witch hazel magic water!

How to make a witch hazel tincture.
A tincture is a medicine that's made by dissolving the natural
substance in alcohol -- as with an extract of an herb. The process
stabilizes the constituents not only giving it a long shelf life, but
also to help in dosing. You can make and use your own witch
hazel tinctures.

How to use witch hazel as a tincture.
Use a witch hazel extract only as directed by your practitioner.
The best way to use a liquid herbal tincture of witch hazel, is to
put the suggested amount in a glass of water, tea, or juice and
drink the entire contents.  You can administer a tincture directly
into the mouth without water, though some tinctures are
unpalatable, which is why many prefer to dilute into a beverage.

Consider adding this essential oil to your list of Prepper survival
items to own.

Witch Hazel is on the
list of prepper essential oils and extracts.

Fun facts about witch hazel...

  • May provide hope for tumors and cancers.  Witch hazel
    has a strong active oxygen-scavenging activity, which may
    be provide hope for fighting cancers as oxygenating the
    blood helps the body to heal itself in fighting the cancer
    cells. Witch hazel taken internally may protect against cell
    damage induced by active oxygen.* Consult with your
    practitioner about incorporating a witch hazel regimen into
    your treatment program.

  • See the study on witch hazel as a cure for colon cancer.*
    Witch hazel may inhibit the proliferation of colon cancer
    cells, according to the study by the University of Barcelona,
    Spain, the University of Grenada, Spain, and Maastricht
    University, The Netherlands.

Happy endings...
Grow this magical plant and see how it improves your homestead.

Related articles...

* These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. For any
health or dietary matter, always consult your physician. This information is intended for your
general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for
specific medical conditions. Never disregard or delay in seeking medical advice when available.
As a reminder, these statements about extracts have not been evaluated by the United States
Food and Drug Administration.

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