Aqua Hamamelidis. Hamamelis Water, official.

Hamamelis virginiana,


A saturated aqueous liquid distilled with steam or water from the bark, twigs, smaller stems, or entire shrub, collected in autumn.

Habitat. N. America, in thickets, ditch banks; Canada, United States, Minn. to La.

Syn. Hamamelis (leaves), Witch Hazel, Wych-hazel, Winter Bloom, Striped (Spotted) Alder, Snapping Hazel Nut, Tobacco Wood; Aq. Hamam., Witch Hazel Water, Distilled Extract of Witch Hazel; Br. Liquor Hamamelidis, Solution of Hamamelis; Fr. Hamamelis de Virginie; Eau de Hamamelidis; Ger. Zauberhasel; Hamamelidiswasser.

Ham-a-me'lis. L. see etymology, page 255, of Hamamelidaceae.

Vir-gin-i-a'na. L. Virginian, of or belonging to Virginia - i. e., its original habitat.

Witch-ha'zel. Witch from twigs being used in days of witchcraft as divining rods to indicate hidden springs, ores, etc., + hazel, resembling hazel tree.

Plant. - Woody shrub 1.5-4.5 M. (5-15°) high, 7.5-15 Cm. (3-6') thick; stem crooked; leaves short, petiolate, inequilaterally obovate, 10 Cm. (4') long, 6 Cm. (2 1/2') broad, base slightly cordate and obliquely coarsely sinuate, pale or brownish-green, under surface lighter green, with satiny lustre, midrib and veins prominent, the few hairs with thick walls and small lumen; fruit (nut or capsule) 2-celled, 2-beaked with 1 bony, oily, edible black seed in each cell, ripening in September

Fig. 156.   Hamamelis virginiana: A, flowering twig; B, fruit bearing twig; 1, flower, magnified; 2, sepal and stamen; 3, sepal, outer surface; 4, essential organs; 5, pistil; 6, fruit; 7, seed (four last longitudinal sections); 8, floral diagram.

Fig. 156. - Hamamelis virginiana: A, flowering twig; B, fruit-bearing twig; 1, flower, magnified; 2, sepal and stamen; 3, sepal, outer surface; 4, essential organs; 5, pistil; 6, fruit; 7, seed (four last longitudinal sections); 8, floral diagram.

of the following year when new flowers are blooming, hence generic name, and when ripe bursting elastically by hygroscopism into 2 segments, hurling the seed with considerable force to a distance. Bark and twigs, in irregularly quilled, bent pieces, 1-2 Mm. (1/25 - 1/12') thick, grayish-brown, many lenticels, or reddish-brown, with short transverse ridges or scars, or somewhat scaly in old bark, thin corky layer easily removed from pale cinnamon-color middle bark, inner surface pale cinnamon, yellowish, smooth, finely striate, fracture short (young) or tough (old) in the bast layer; odor slight; taste astringent, bitter, pungent. Solvents: boiling water; diluted alcohol. Dose, 3ss-l (2-4 Gm.).

Constituents. - Tannin, volatile oil, bitter principle, extractive.

PREPARATIONS. - 1. Aqua Hamamelidis. Hamamelis Water.

Manufacture: Distil bark, twigs, smaller stems or entire shrub collected in autumn 1,000 Gm. with steam or water 2,000 Ml. (Cc.), erve first 850 Ml. (Cc.) of distillate, add alcohol 150 Ml. (Cc.). It is a saturated aqueous liquid, clear, colorless, faintly opalescent, slightly yellow, characteristic odor and taste; neutral, faintly acid; sp. gr. 0.980. Tests: 1. Must be free from mucoid or fungous growths and acetous odor; no reaction with hydrogen sulphide T. S. or sodium sulphide T. S. (abs. of metals); evaporate 100 Ml. (Cc.) - residue .025 Gm. 2. Must contain not less than 14 p. c. of alcohol. Impurities: Metallic and dissolved substances, formaldehyde, methyl alcohol. Dose, 3j-4 (4-15 Ml. (Cc.)); mostly externally.

Unoff. Preps.: (Leaves, Bark, Twigs) Decoction, 5 p. c., dose, 5j-2 (30-60 Ml. (Cc.)). Extract, dose, gr. 5-10 (.3-.6 Gm.). Fluid-extract (alcohol 30, water 60, glycerin 10), dose, xv-60 (1-4 Ml. (Cc.)). Tinctura Hamamelidis (Br.), 10 p. c., dose, 3ss-l (2-4 Ml. (Cc.)). Unguentum Hamamelidis (Br.), 10 p. c. of liquid extract.

Properties. - Astringent, haemostatic, styptic, sedative, tonic. Acts on the muscular fibres of the veins; large doses produce severe throbbing headache.

Uses. - It was used first by the North American Indians for external inflammations, congestions, and now for same purposes, as also for hemorrhages of nose, gums, piles, bladder, stomach, rectum, tumors, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, diarrhoea, dysentery.

The Pond's Extract and Distilled Extract (Aqua Hamamelidis (Spirituosa)) are approximately identical, both being colorless, and employed indiscriminately as external applications for sprains, bruises, excoriations, pharyngitis, rhinitis, leucorrhoea, gonorrhoea, ulcers, skin diseases, etc.