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Hazelnut


    Scientific Names

    Hazelnut
    Hazelnut
    • Corylus americana
    • Corylaceae
    • Birch family

    Common Names

    ivyAmerican hazelnut
    ivyHazel
    ivyHazel bush
    ivyHazelnut
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    Parts Usually Used

    Inner bark and twig hairs
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    Description of Plant(s) and Culture

    American hazelnut is a shrub that grows to 10 feet tall; the stems and leafstalks have stiff hairs. The leaves are heart-shaped, double-toothed, growing to 5 inches long. The plant flowers in April to May. The fruits are edible nuts encased in beaked, toothed bracts.
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    Where Found

    Found in thickets from Maine to Georgia; Missouri, Oklahoma to Canada.
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    Medicinal Properties

    Febrifuge, astringent
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    Biochemical Information

    Magnesium, sulfur
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    Legends, Myths and Stories

    According to the old-timers, eating too many hazelnuts can cause gas, stomach ache, and headache. They claimed if a snake was struck with a hazel wand, it became stunned, because it is pliable and will wind closer around the snake to limit its motion.

    Country folk claim if the hazel nuts have thick shells, the winter will be bleak; if their shells are thin, the winter will be mild.
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    Uses

    Native Americans drank bark tea for hives, fevers. The bark poultice is used to close cuts, treat tumors, old sores, and skin cancers. Like hawthorn, hazelnut is known to improve the heart, and to prevent hardening of the arteries. But their alleged aphrodisiac properties may suggest that people with heart problems should stay off of the hazelnut. The twig hairs were used by Native Americans and historically by physicians to expel worms.
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    Bibliography

    Buy It! Culpeper's Complete Herbal & English Physician: Updated With 117 Modern Herbs, by Nicholas Culpeper, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1990, (reprint of 1814)

    Buy It! Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants, by Steven Foster and James A. Duke., Houghton Mifflin Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10000

    Buy It! The Herbalist Almanac, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, copyright 1988, fifth printing, 1994

    Buy It! The Herb Book, by John Lust, Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. copyright 1974.

    Buy It! How Indians Use Wild Plants for Food, Medicine & Crafts, by Frances Densmore, Dover Publications, Inc., 180 Varick Street, New York, NY 10014, first printed by the United States Government Printing Office, Washington, in 1928, this Dover edition 1974

    Buy It! Indian Uses of Native Plants, by Edith Van Allen Murphey, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, copyright 1958, print 1990

    Buy It!The Magic of Herbs, by David Conway, published by Jonathan Cape, Thirty Bedford Square, London, England. (Out of print)

    Buy It! Webster's New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, New World Dictionaries: A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 15 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

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