Art and culture

Oddities of the hazelnut-tree

October 28, 2012

County culture has ever considered hazel-trees as magic: its bush was believed to be a den for witches or fairies, a rich harvest was a sign of fertility for the family,while a hazel-tree stick was the dowsing-rod.

Hazel-trees were also largely used in medicine, so much that the symbol of god Esculapio – and of today’s pharmacists – is a branch of hazel-tree with two snakes coiled around it.

Its bark, rich of tannin and with astringent properties, was used in the making of infusions or compresses to be applied on varicose veins; dried flowers and leaves are good controller of the intestinal movements and purify the vascular apparatus; its grinded fruits were used in preparing powerful energetic drinks in case of bronchitis, or archaic beauty creams for nineteenth-century madames.

Men with baldness problems covered their heads with hazelnut oil, that also had good effects against tapeworms (one spoon every morning on an empty stomach), while from wood countymen obtained charcoal slack which, together with sulphur and saltpetre, made gunpowder.