Witch hazel or Hamamelis virginiana is a bright orange or yellow plant with pretty blooms and a plethora of health benefits.
The boiled decoction of this plant has been used as a natural remedy for skin issues, sore muscles, and digestive issues by the Native Americans for millennia.
Nowadays, it is widely accepted as an alternative and versatile remedy, and the FDA has approved it as a non-prescription drug treatment.
The oral use of witch hazel is used as a natural treatment in the case of diarrhea, mucus colitis, vomiting blood, coughing up blood, tuberculosis, colds, fevers, tumors, and cancer.
Its topical application has been found to be of great help in the treatment of pain, swellings, itching, eye inflammation, injuries, mucous membrane inflammation, insect bites, minor burns, and skin irritations.
In manufacturing, witch hazel leaf extract, bark extract, and witch hazel water are used as astringents due to the powerful skin-tightening properties and added to some medications in order to slow down or stop bleeding.
The extract is produced from the leaves and bark of the North American Witch Hazel shrub, and is often combined with Aloe Vera and rosewater.
Witch hazel can be used in various other ways in your household as well:
1. To treat acne and soothe inflammation and redness, spray the affected areas with a witch hazel toner.
2. Being a potent disinfectant, witch hazel can help you stop bleeding and disinfect wounds, and accelerate the healing of cuts, bruises, and scrapes.
3. To make a potent hand sanitizer at home, mix 1 ½ teaspoon of witch hazel, a ⅓ teaspoon of vitamin E oil, ½ cup aloe vera gel, and 15 drops of tea tree essential oil.
4. To cleanse the pores and treat oily skin, pour a bit witch hazel onto a cotton pad, and use it as a facial cleanser daily.
5. To alleviate the discomfort due to hemorrhoids, dip reusable cotton pads into witch hazel, place them the freezer for about an hour and use as needed.
6. Wipe the irritated bum of your baby with a cotton pad soaked in witch hazel diluted in water to soothe a diaper rash.
7. Mix witch hazel in with pure aloe vera gel to soothe the sunburns, and avoid cracking and peeling of the skin.
8. Apply it on the skin after shaving legs or face to soothe skin and prevent ingrown hairs and itchy bumps.
9. Soak a cotton pad in witch hazel and apply it on the puffy eyes to tighten the skin, and eliminate dark circles.
10. It can effectively treat stretch marks and varicose veins.
11. It treats skin dryness and restores healthy oils by cleansing clogged pores.
12. Use a shampoo with witch hazel to treat dryness and dandruff and moisturize the skin on the scalp.
13. Apply a few drops of witch hazel in the ear to treat swimmers ear or otitis externa, clear away excess oil, and break up wax and debris.
14. To loosen the grip of ticks before you remove them, sprinkle the tick with a few drops of witch hazel.
15. Add undiluted witch hazel in a spray bottle and use it to clean glass, chrome, and mirrors in your home, and disinfect surfaces.
16. To deter insects, make this homemade insect repellent: mix 2 tbsp witch hazel, 5 drops of lemongrass essential oil and 1 cup of water in a spray bottle.
17. Soak a cotton pad in witch hazel and use it to gently clean the ears of your dog.
18. To eliminate the bad odors from the carpets, upholstery or fill the room with a pleasant fragrance, mix a tablespoon of witch hazel, a teaspoon of baking soda, 3 tablespoons of warm water, and 3 drops of lavender essential oil, and spray all over the house.
Note that its topical use on the skin does not cause any side-effects in most adults and children. Yet, there is always a chance for an allergic reaction or other irritations, especially in individuals with sensitive skin and people who spend lots of time in the sun.
Therefore, it would be useful to do a skin patch test before you start using it. Apply a small amount to a patch of skin on the arm or leg to make sure you don’t develop any unwanted reaction.
Its internal use is considered safe for most people, including pregnant women. Yet, in some rare cases, it can cause minor indigestion or an upset stomach in some people.
Therefore, make sure you follow the directions and keep the dosage low, as in some people, taking high doses can lead to liver problems.