Witch hazel is a topical astringent derived from the bark and leaves of Hamamelis virginiana, the common or North American witch-hazel shrub. Native Americans have long recognized the medicinal properties of witch hazel and used a decoction of the boiled plant parts to treat skin irritations and tumors. Nowadays this popular herbal remedy is recognized world-wide as a natural cleanser and toner, but witch hazel has many more uses than simply to clarify skin and shrink pores.
In this article, we explore fourteen amazing witch hazel uses for your health, beauty and in your home.
#1 – Natural Astringent. One of the most popular uses for witch hazel is for skincare by using it as a natural astringent. As a hydrosol (essential oils obtained from herbs using steam distillation), it reduces redness, oiliness, bleeding, and inflammation of the skin. Since it also tightens the skin when it is topically applied, witch hazel can also help stop excess oil production and the development of blackheads and whiteheads.
#2 – Reduces Bruises and Blemishes. Witch hazel can also help in minimizing the appearance of bruises and blemishes, and speed up the healing process. Using a cotton ball applied with witch hazel on the bruised or blemished area to reduce the discoloration.
#3 – Brightens Around The Eyes. In lieu of eye creams and other cosmetic containing chemicals and perfumes, use witch hazel to treat dark and puffy under-eyes. Pat it gently using a cotton ball to avoid sagging of the skin under your eyes.
#4 – Shrinks Swollen Veins. To prevent varicose veins from developing, soak a cloth or swab in witch hazel and rub it into the skin. Prop up the treated areas as high as possible to decrease the blood pressure in these parts.
#5 – Stops Bleeding. Since witch hazel tightens the skin, applying it on minor cuts and scrapes will stop the bleeding and promote faster recovery. Some store-bought witch hazel contains isopropyl alcohol which can also disinfect the wound while healing it.
#6 – Prevents Ingrown Hair. Applying witch hazel after shaving and waxing will slow down bleeding from cuts and nicks. It will also prevent bacterial infection within the hair follicles, soothe razor burns, and hinder the formation of ingrown hair.
#7 – Hemorrhoid Relief. Witch hazel is also an excellent natural treatment for hemorrhoids. Applying witch hazel water to the affected skin will help the pain, itching, swelling, and bleeding to subside.
#8 – Soothes Sore Throat. For a natural sore throat relief, make a pure witch hazel tea with honey. It will greatly help in reducing the swelling, drying up excess mucus, and easing the discomfort of an inflamed throat.
#9 – Protects Your Lips and Gums. Witch hazel can also be used as a treatment for bleeding gums, mouth blisters, sores, and bad breath. Apply witch hazel extract to the affected part, or gargle with an alcohol-free witch hazel mouth rinse.
#10 – Treats Ear Infection. Using an eye dropper, insert several drops of witch hazel extract into each ear to dry up pus and break up wax debris that may be clogging the ear canal.
#11 – Soothes Diaper Rash. The anti-inflammatory properties of witch hazel make it an excellent treatment for diaper rash without irritating the baby’s delicate skin. Apply it on the affected areas to reduce the discomfort brought by diaper rash.
#12 – Cools Down Sunburn. To treat sunburn, mix witch hazel with Aloe Vera gel and apply generously on the sunburnt skin. Witch hazel will help the skin heal faster, while the aloe will help cool down the burn.
#13 – Neutralizes Contact Dermatitis. Witch hazel can be used to combat the effects of poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac which irritate the skin of those who come in contact with it.
#14 – Treats Insect Bites and Stings. Applying witch hazel cream will also ease the pain and itching caused by insect bites and stings.