Witch hazel has been used for many generations to treat skin problems. It has even made its way into a number of mainstream skin products over the years, from respected companies such as Pond’s. Herbalists have also used it internally to treat some conditions, although there is some debate as to its safety when used internally.
Witch hazel’s pleasant fragrance and easy care makes it a popular shrub. It can also be found in various forms in herb shops. Here are five of the most popular uses for witch hazel:
1. Witch hazel can be used on sores, bruises and swelling. For this purpose, witch hazel is often used in a liquid astringent form. It can be applied several times a day to provide soothing relief to injuries.
2. Witch hazel’s antioxidant and astringent properties make it effective against acne. For the treatment of acne, witch hazel is also often used in its astringent form. It is gentle and non-drying to the skin, unlike many harsh acne medications found in drug stores.
3. Skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema can be treated with witch hazel. These conditions are unsightly and painful, but witch hazel can soothe both the visible symptoms and the pain associated with them. These characteristics also make witch hazel a good option for sunburn. For these types of conditions, witch hazel may be better used in a cream preparation.
4. Witch hazel is a good choice for treating exposure to poison ivy. Witch hazel is gentle yet effective against the itching and swelling of the outbreaks that result from contact with the plant.
5. Witch hazel is effective against hemorrhoids and varicose veins. The herb’s anti-inflammatory properties can shrink hemorrhoids and bulging varicose veins. It can also provide relief from the pain associated with both conditions. Witch hazel is available in the form of pads for hemorrhoid relief, and these can also be used on the varicose veins if desired.
How Do I Use Witch Hazel?
If you’re growing your own witch hazel, you’ll need to make a tincture or tea out of witch hazel leaves. The tea is made by steeping 2 to 3 grams of witch hazel leaf in a cup of boiling water for about 15 minutes. Tincture is obtained by placing the bark in alcohol, allowing the alcohol to extract the beneficial oils of the plant.
Witch hazel can be found in stores in the form of astringent, medicated pads, creams, toners and facial washes. It can also be found in some shaving products due to its numbing properties.
Witch hazel is one of the most useful herbs in existence. It can treat a wide variety of skin conditions gently yet effectively. Used properly, it has few side effects.