Herb: Hazel

Latin name: Corylus avellana

Family: Betulaceae (Birch Family)

Medicinal use of Hazel:

The bark, leaves, catkins and fruits are sometimes used medicinally. They are astringent, diaphoretic, febrifuge, nutritive and odontalgic. The seed is stomachic and tonic. The oil has a very gentle but constant and effective action in cases of infection with threadworm or pinworm in babies and young children.

Description of the plant:


6 m
(20 feet)

to April

Habitat of the herb:

Woods and hedgerows, especially on the slopes of hills, often on calcareous soils.

Edible parts of Hazel:

Seed - raw or roasted and used in breads, cakes, biscuits, sweets etc. An excellent nut for raw eating. They can also be liquidized and used as a plant milk. Rich in oil. The seed ripens in mid to late autumn and will probably need to be protected from squirrels. When kept in a cool place, and not shelled, the seed should store for at least 12 months. A clear yellow edible oil is obtained from the seed. It is used in salad dressings, baking etc.

Other uses of the herb:

The seed contains up to 65% of a non-drying oil, used in paints, cosmetics etc. The whole seed can be used to polish and oil wood. It is very easy to apply and produces a nice finish. The finely ground seeds are used as an ingredient of face masks in cosmetics. Plants can be grown as a tall hedge. They need to be left untrimmed or only lightly trimmed if seed is required. The bark and leaves are a source of tannin. Wood - soft, easy to split, not very durable, beautifully veined. Used for inlay work, small items of furniture, hurdles, wattles, basketry, pea sticks etc. The twigs are used as dowsing rods by water diviners. The wood also yields a good quality charcoal, used by artists.

Propagation of Hazel:

Seed - best sown as soon as it is harvested in autumn in a cold frame. Germinates in late winter or spring. Stored seed should be pre-soaked in warm water for 48 hours and then given 2 weeks warm followed by 3 - 4 months cold stratification. Germinates in 1 - 6 months at 20C. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame or sheltered place outdoors for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Layering in autumn. Easy, it takes about 6 months. Division of suckers in early spring. Very easy, they can be planted out straight into their permanent positions.

Cultivation of the herb:

Woods and hedgerows, especially on the slopes of hills, often on calcareous soils.

Known hazards of Corylus avellana:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.