Hazel is a type of deciduous tree, part of the family Betulaceae, which can be found growing at the foot of beech and oak forests.
It is a shrub that grows 4-6 meters high, a native of Asia Minor, but known since antiquity in Greece, Italy, Turkey, Spain and later spread in all areas with temperate and humid climates around Europe, America, and Asia.
Chinese manuscripts mentioned hazelnuts 5,000 years ago when they were used both as food and for their therapeutic properties.
The seventeenth century marked the first crops of hazelnuts in Europe. In 1995 archaeological excavations in Scotland have revealed traces of a pit where huge amounts of hazelnut shells had been dumped. Carbon 14 analysis revealed that those tracks go back almost 9000 years.
Currently, the largest producer of hazelnuts is Turkey, with over 75% of world production. There are countless varieties of hazel, whose fruit usually grow grouped as three, ripening in late summer, between August and October. When the hard shell becomes yellow-brown, it is a sign that hazelnuts are ripe.
If not consumed immediately, raw or toasted, hazelnuts can be stored in their shell for long periods of time, even until the next season. Corylus avellana is not a pretentious plant, it lives for many years without special care and can be grown in any garden. Hazel’s soil is a very good basis for the development of truffles.
Leaves contain myricetin, caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, quercetin, betulin, volatile oil, sugars, minerals.
Hazelnuts (seeds) contain water (about 3.5%), oil (62%), protein (14%), carbohydrates (13%), potassium salts (635mg%), calcium (225 mg%), phosphorus (330mg%), iron (3.8% mg), sodium (2 mg%), traces of copper, vitamin A, vitamin B1 (0.04 mg%) vitamin B2 (0,02mg%), niacin (1,4 mg%), vitamin C (3 mg%).
Health benefits and uses of hazel (Corylus Avellana)
They have a very high nutritional value. In terms of energy, 100g of shelled hazelnuts contains 690 calories, of which 89% is absorbed. They are recommended for tuberculosis and diabetes patients as they have energizing effects. Hazelnuts are to be consumed as such or milled, in mixture with honey.
Hazelnuts are recommended especially to anemic persons, pregnant women, children and elderly. Eating 20 hazelnuts in the morning and 20 in the evening has a beneficial effect on the body. Also, they are extremely effective in dissolving kidney stones.
They have a high concentration of vitamin E and B (B1, B6, B9), thereby an excellent antioxidant effect, annihilating free radicals. The B complex vitamins control the metabolism, playing an essential role in the synthesis of neurotransmitters; they also contribute to the “manufacture” of red blood cells, stimulate immunity etc.
Hazelnuts contain monounsaturated fatty acids (such as omega 9) which, among other benefits, prevent obesity and occurrence of type 2 diabetes, by maintaining good blood sugar levels.
Certain compounds in hazelnuts (taxanes) have anticancer effects.
The active principles of the leaves have vasoconstrictor, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-edematous and healing properties. The oil extracted from seeds has emollient, hypotensive, anti-anemic and anthelmintic properties (against tapeworm). The flowers have antidiarrheal properties. The buds have sudorific and astringent effects. The bark is used as a febrifuge, in malaria.
Traditional medicine uses the leaves in the form of aqueous or hydro-alcoholic extract, in treating small lesions, and the bark is used in cases of intermittent nonspecific fever.
1.For the treatment and elimination of tapeworms: oil. Take one tablespoon each morning on an empty stomach, for 15 days.
2.For treating light internal bleedings: infusion of 1 teaspoon dried and milled leaves and a cup (200ml) of boiling water. Leave it covered for 5-10 minutes. Decant and drink it warm. It acts as a vasoconstrictor.
3.For treating hemorrhoids and small chronic internal bleedings: decoction of 1 teaspoon dried and milled leaves and a cup (200 ml) of water. Boil it for 5 minutes at medium heat. Decant and drink it warm.
4.For the elimination of toxins (sudorific) and as astringent: infusion of 1 tablespoon buds and a cup (200 ml) of boiling water. Leave it covered for 10 minutes and then decant. Drink 1-2 cups per day.
5.For treating light anemias: consume the seeds obtained by breaking the fruit. Nitrates, phosphorus, potassium, iron ensure a good functioning of the organism and are highly recommended in cases of anemia.
6.As an adjuvant in treating epidemic hepatitis, consecutive liver failure, asthma, pulmonary emphysema, and silicosis: infusion of 1-2 tablespoons buds and a cup of boiling water (250ml). Leave it covered for 15 minutes and then decant. Drink 2 cups a day. It tones the liver parenchyma and restores the elasticity of the lung tissue.
7.For treating varicose veins and edema in feet: fluid extract (pharmaceutical preparation) of the leaves. Use it in doses of 60-80 drops a day.
8.For invigoration of the nervous system, as a remedy for diabetics, kidney patients (nephritic colic, stones), lung patients (tuberculosis) and longevity: hazelnut seeds consumed as such, at least 40 per day (20 in the morning and 20 in the evening) for 20-30 days. Chinese call them “longevity nuts”.
It is used in the treatment of ulcers, periphlebitis, erythrocyanosis of the lower limbs, ringworm, impetigo: decoction of 1 tablespoon dried and milled leaves and a cup of water (200ml). Use it to bandage the affected area several times a day.