Witch Hazel Monographs profile for cortex, also known as witch hazel bark from branches and stems of the Hamamelis



Cortex – EU Monograph – Spring collection of bark from twigs, branches and stem (trunk)


WHO – World Health Organization – Monograph,

Folium et Cortex Hamamelidis


Folium et Cortex Hamamelidis consists of the dried or fresh leaves and/or the dried bark of Hamamelis virginiana L. (Hamamelidaceae).


(Not more than 2% other material (non-bark or pulp wood) European pharmacopoeia, 3rd ed. Strasbourg, Council


Spring leaves, twigs

Sclereids abundant, vary considerably in size, are of 2 types: rounded to oval, or subrectangular; heavily thickened, usually in groups of just 2 or 3 cells, but smaller cells often form larger groups; walls have numerous, conspicuous branched pits and striations, particularly in the larger cells; other type of sclereids more regular in size and form, frequently found associated with the cork, occurring as a layer of small, polygonal cells with no intercellular spaces. Fibres occur in groups surrounded by a sheath of prismatic calcium oxalate crystals; individual fibres very thick-walled and lignified with indistinct lumen with calcium oxalate prismatic crystals scattered as well as in the parenchyma surrounding the fibres. Crystals also occasionally found associated with thickerwalled sclereids; crystals fairly uniform in size, although a few very large prisms may occur. Parenchyma cells thin-walled, several filled with dark brown contents. Medullary rays uniseriate, composed of rounded cells with slightly thickened walls. Cork cells thin-walled and polygonal. Fragments of lignified xylem tissue from adherent wood infrequent and consist of narrow tracheids with conspicuous bordered pits, accompanied by thin-walled fibres and pitted medullary ray cells. Starch grains rare; a few small, spherical grains may be found in some parenchymatous cells (12).


Channelled, seldom quilled or in strips, up to 3 cm wide and 2 mm thick. Outer surface light yellowish-brown or reddish-brown, has thin, whitish or greyishbrown cork with numerous lenticels; inner surface yellowish-brown to reddishbrown, longitudinally striated. Fracture splintery and fibrous (9).

Total ash



Not more than 6% (2).

Acid-insoluble ash


Not more than 1.5% (2).

ESCOP Monograph


Hamamelidis folium” consists of the dried or fresh leaves of Hamamelis virginiana L. It contains not less than 3% of tannins, expressed as pyrogallol (C6H6O3; Mr 126.1) and calculated with reference to the dried drug. The material complies with the monograph of the European Pharmacopoeia 6.1, [monograph (04/2008:0909)].

Hamamelidis cortex” consists of the dried bark from the stems, branches and twigs of Hamamelis virginiana L.

Hamamelidis ramunculus (twigs)” have structures called buds, leaf scars and bundle scars that can differ for different species. Hamamelis twig is the herbal substance used in the preparation of hamamelis water, or as Witch Hazel as described in USP monograph.

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