Distilled Witch Hazel water is now available from plants grown and harvested in Devon! Here at Holt Wood, in North Devon, we are trying to develop ways of harvesting sustainable supplies of medicinal trees and shrubs. Back in 2005/2006, when the site was first cleared of Sitka Spruce and replanted with a variety of trees, we did not really know how well some things would grow. In planning the site we included mostly native trees plus some introduced trees used widely in herbal medicine. We were fortunate to locate a nursery which could provide a number of young Hamamelis virginiana plants. This is a native of North America, and has smaller flowers than most garden centre Witch Hazel shrubs, but grows a little more vigorously. It is not related to the Hazel tree. Most Distilled Witch Hazel today is produced in huge distilling operations by firms like American Distilling. Our plants had been grown by a UK nursery to provide grafting stock for garden varieties of Witch Hazel. Since planting most of our young trees have grown on into good size bushes to be harvested for leaves and twigs in the making of Distilled Witch Hazel. This year we have been able to harvest sufficient quantities to produce the distilled water. The distilled water is preserved with the addition of 15% alcohol. It has a lovely fresh smell, familiar from childhood, and is great for dabbing on spots, stings and insect bites or as a skin toner.