In part one of this series, I wrote about the words witch hazel, plant species and legal formulas in the United States. In part 3 - we are going to look at global formulas and definitions. Witch Hazel has been coined the most used botanical in the world, and perhaps, intentionally been the subject of great confusion in the market place. The plant is a key ingredient in about 27 different types of preparations. It is reported that a single producer in the United States is reportedly produces double digit millions of gallons. There is not a lot of choice in the market place, or a very keen understanding of what the product is.

Our American Witch Hazel has 40 chemicals, which can be catorgized into 278 activities. The best way for a formulator to understand which witch hazel is right for their use, is to look at the phyto chemicals and where in the plant those chemicals are found. The following information can be found it its original form here https://phytochem.nal.usda.gov/phytochem/plants/show/999?et=



Activities Count Chemical Plant Part Low PPM High PPM
0 6-METHYLHEPTADIEN-3,5- ON(2) Leaf 25.0 --
6 ACETALDEHYDE Leaf 160.0 --
1 AFZELIN Leaf --
0 ALCOHOLS Leaf 2000.0 1.4071981582485185 --
5 ALPHA-IONONE Leaf 175.0 --
7 ASTRAGALIN Leaf --
13 BETA-IONONE Leaf 50.0 0.8172063895352172 --
0 CATECHIN-3-GALLATE Bark --
0 CATECHIN-TANNIN Leaf --
20 CHOLINE Leaf 2000.0 0.3664636272077626
0 D-GALLOCATCHEIN Bark -
8 ELLAGITANNIN Bark --
0 EO Leaf 5000.0 0.5748200656170724
0 ESTERS Leaf 750.0 1.0301783857054518 -
62 GALLIC-ACID Leaf 54400.0 1.070098679782113 --
2 GALLO-TANNIN Leaf --
0 HAMAMELIDINE Leaf --
0 HAMAMELIN Bark 160000.0 3.5555555555555554 --
0 HAMAMELIN Leaf 70000.0 --
2 HAMAMELITANNIN Leaf 80000.0 --
2 HAMAMELITANNIN Bark 10000.0 30000.0 1.2 --
0 HAMAMELOSE Leaf --
22 ISOQUERCITRIN Leaf --
75 KAEMPFEROL Leaf --
0 L-EPICATECHIN Bark --
0 L-EPIGALLOCATECHIN Bark --
1 LEUCOCYANIDIN LeafLEUCODELPHINIDIN Leaf --
34 MYRICETIN Leaf --
0 MYRICETIN-3-GLUCOSIDE Leaf --
0 N-HEXEN-2-AL Leaf 485.0 --
26 PHENOL Bark --
0 PHLOBAPHENE Bark --
176 QUERCETIN Leaf --
44 QUERCITRIN Leaf --
1 QUINIC-ACID Leaf --
29 SAFROLE Leaf 10.0 0.7049520665938616
5 SAPONINS Leaf -
4 SPIRAEOSIDE Leaf --
0 TANNINS Leaf

It would seem the chemically activities in the leaf greatly outweigh the activities in the bark. Yet, the commercial product is made primarily from pulp wood rather than the legally mandated twigs, leaving one to wonder - why.
When I began producing witch hazel, I experimented with each formula. It was readily apparent to me, the leaf extraction was for my purposes a far superior product. However, I am a producer, rather than a formulator. In answer to the question which witch hazel, look to those 278 activities of the phyto chemicals and choose a product that contains the phyto chemicals of that plant part.
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