Hazel trees are found in the Northern hemisphere in temperate climates. The male flowers are called catkins. The pale yellow male catkins are 2 to 5 inches long. The shyer female flowers hide in the buds of the the leaves. They are less than one tenth of an inch in size and only a small bit of them peaks out of the bud.
The nuts of all hazel trees are edible. Filberts are my favorite. Hazelnuts are the main ingredient in Nutella which has become a favorite of college students recently.
The nuts can be ground into flour for making breads and for anything else flour is used for. They are used in soups and to top salads.
It has been proven that nuts from hazel trees are brain food. They have double the protein and good fats of the same amount of eggs. The next time you are trying to write and run into a block, snack on a few hazelnuts and see if you feel a bit more creative.
Besides the protein, hazelnuts are good sources of vitamin E, calcium. magnesium, and potassium.
If you have a stubborn cough grind some nuts into a fine powder. Mix the powder with water and honey. Your cough should go away quickly.
Witch hazel is an astringent. It has various medicinal uses. It is made from the leaves and bark of the witch hazel bush.
Tea made from hazel trees treats varicose veins, fevers, excessive menstrual flow, circulatory problems, and diarrhea.
The branches of the hazel tree are extremely supple. They are used to make baskets. They are often woven into headdresses and other decorative items.
The charcoal made from burning the branches of the hazel tree make crayons and gunpowder.
The best thing about hazel trees is the magical properties they have. They are referenced in Greek mythology, Shakespeare, Celtic mythology, and even Grimm's Fairy Tales.
Walking sticks made from hazel wood are prized. They are gnarled and each one has its own look. They help the owner possess wisdom. It is said that St Patrick used a hazel rod to drive the snakes from Ireland.
A rod made from hazel wood has a lot of uses. It will protect you against evil spirits. It awakens inner intuition and insight. It can stimulate poetic and artistic skills. It can calm passions and improve virtues.
If you cut a hazel rod on Good Friday or St John's Eve, you can swish it through the air while naming your enemies. It will cause them pain, no matter where they are.
In Prussia a sign of the cross was made from a rod cut in the spring during the first summer thunderstorm. It would bless all rain for the coming year.
Fishing rods made of hazel wood will give you the knowledge of the best place to fish. Then the fish are drawn to the magic of the hazel in the rod. You will have a good catch.
Hazel has the power to draw on magical and other energies in the earth. That is why a forked hazel branch is used as a divining rod. Held by the ends of the fork with the longer end held straight in front of you, you move around looking for water. When the end dips toward the ground you have found water. The harder it points down the better it will be to dig a well. The divining rod can also be used to find other treasure as well.
Mythological characters that used hazel rods are Thor, Hermes, and Mercury. Norse mythology considered the hazel tree to be sacred. Thor used hazel as a protection against lightning. Apollo gave Mercury a hazel rod to help him maintain his godly virtues. Hermes hazel rod made him the personification of intelligence. Christian pilgrims often carried hazel rods as staffs. They used the same rods their whole lives and the rods were often buried with them.
Like the Norse the Celts thought of the hazel tree as a sacred tree. It is known as the tree of knowledge and also a tree of fertility. It inspires creativity.
The branches of the hazel tree can make unusual formations. Many use the branches as a focal point for meditation. The fantasies induced could result in visions. The nuts were used to induce visions too leading to heightened awareness and epiphanies.
In the legend of Fionn MacCumhail (pronounced Finn MacCool) hazel nuts dropped around a sacred pond that was encircled by nine hazel trees. The salmon in the pool ate the hazel nuts so that they were also full of infinite knowledge.
Fionn MacCumhail caught one of these salmon and was making a soup from it. He burned his finger and instinctively put his finger in his mouth to cool it. By just this contact he too became enlightened. He carried a shield of hazel wood that made him invincible in battle.
The Hazel Branch of Grimm's Fairy Tales tells that hazel branches are the best protection against snakes and other things that creep on the earth.
Hazel branches were woven into headpieces that were worn to protect warriors from evil. A ship master who wears such a cap is guaranteed to weather any storm.
In Wales if you make a cap of hazel leaves and twigs you can make a wish and it will come true.
Hazel nuts can be carried as charms. They ward off rheumatism and lumbago.
Because the nut reminds some people of a baby in the womb it is believed that it carries powers to enhance fertility. To increase fertility carry a nut on your person. Also drink a tea made from the essence of the nuts and include hazel nuts in your meals. In Devon an old woman would give a gift of hazel nuts to a bride to ensure fertility.
There is an old saying that if a girl goes nutting on Sunday, she will meet the Devil and have a baby before she can marry.
Carrying a piece of hazel cut that was cut on midnight on Halloween will keep you from getting drunk.
In Scotland the hazel grove is called calltuin (or calltainn). A Calton is considered to be an entrance to the Otherworld. Calton Hill between Leith and Edinburgh was used for magical gatherings.
Legend says that St Joseph of Arimathea built the original abbey of Glastonbury from hurdles of hazel branches.
In England hazel branches are gathered on Palm Sunday and kept alive in water inside the house. They will protect the house from thunder and lightning.
Hazel wood is used to make magic wands. They must be made on holy days. Good Friday, St John's Day, Epiphany, or Shrove Tuesday during the evening hours. If the night is a full moon they are even better. The wood must be cut from the eastern side of the tree by a cutter facing east. It is then presented to the rays of the rising sun. A virgin branch (one with no side shoots) is the most powerful.
On Halloween young people in love celebrate Nut-Crack Night. They cook hazel nuts over fires. The way the nuts burn will determine the course of their love over the next year. Either the nuts will burn together or fly apart.
If the hazel trees have a lot of catkins, there will be a lot of babies. The saying is "the more catkins, the more prams". ( The problem is that those years are also said to have an increased amount of prostitution.)
Place twigs of hazel in window frames to protect your house from lightning. Three pins of hazel wood driven into your house will protect it from fire.
If you are outside and in need of magical protection quickly draw a circle around yourself with a hazel branch.
String hazel nuts on a string and hang them in your house. Fairies will come to your aid.
In Germany hazel is a sign of immortality because it flowers at the end of winter.
The leader of the procession for a wedding in the Black Forest carries a hazel rod.
Cattle were driven through Beltaine and Midsummer fires. Their backs were singed with hazel rods to protect against disease and the evil eye. The scorched rods were used the rest of the year to drive the cattle.
In the seventh century Saint Mungo was assigned to light the monastery lamps when the cocks crowed. One day he could not do it because some boys had put out the fire. He was in deep despair and went for a walk outside of the monastery. He picked a hazel switch and began to pray for heavenly assistance. Fire came from the switch and he was able to light the lamps.
Each Christmas Eve a single golden branch is said to spring from the hazel tree.
If you find a double hazel nut you will have twins.
A hazel wand cut on the Sabbath day before rising is used as a charm to protect against evil witches. In Merionethshire in Wales corpses were buried with hazel rods to protect from witchcraft.
A double hazel nut will prevent toothache.
To cure an adder bite place a piece of hazel wood that has been twisted into the shape of a cross on the bite. Then say
Underneath this hazelin mote,
There's a braggoty worm with a speckled throat,
Nine double is he,
Now from eight double to seven double
And from seven double to six double
and so on until:
And from one double to no double,
No double hath he