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The barrels I will be using for my system previously contained witch hazel. I got them from a distillery that processes it.

I cut my barrels up a year ago, rinsed them out thoroughly, let them dry in the sun for a day and now they have been sitting unused for about 9 months.

My question is, if they don't smell anymore and by all appearances are clean, can I use them without worry for my system? I want to set up a CHIFTPIST system this spring and I need to get cracking!

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I would say it's okay. Witch hazel is a pretty natural substance, and doesn't seem to be toxic. At least, that's what a random run through google came up with.....

I found similar information and the worst thing I saw was that basically it's not recommended for internal use due to the tannins. Under the circumstances if a miniscule amount of residue even possibly leached into the system I can only see the aquaponic system balancing it out naturally in one way or another.... 

Thanks for your input !

According to WebMD: 

"Witch hazel is taken by mouth for diarrhea, mucus colitis, vomiting blood, coughing up blood, tuberculosis, colds, fevers, tumors, and cancer."

"Witch hazel also seems to be safe for most adults when small doses are taken by mouth. In some people, witch hazel might cause stomach upset when taken by mouth. Large doses might cause liver problems."

Interesting. Well, then I won't sweat using these barrels for my system in the least ! 

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