In this day and age, natural products are making a comeback. With the market being flooded with chemical and synthetic products, all natural should be explored as well. This post shares some great information in regards to Witch hazel and the multitude of different uses that are available with it. The range of benefits includes health as well as diverse beauty tips and oily skin care.
Before looking at the uses of witch hazel it’s important to define what witch hazel is.
Witch hazel can be defined as a natural astringent produced from the witch hazel bark and leaves of the witch hazel shrub (Hamamelis virginiana) which grows naturally in Canada (Nova Scotia) and parts of the US i.e. Texas and Florida.
The witch hazel has been used for many centuries for medicinal purposes by Native Americans.
The witch hazel extract is obtained by steaming the witch hazel twigs. It is important to note that the shrub’s essential oil isn’t sold separately.
This can be attributed to the fact that the witch hazel doesn’t produce a lot of essential oils to warrant commercial production. There are however a number of witch hazel distillates i.e. hydrolats or hydrosols that are available as commercial products. These distillates are however gentler than typical witch hazel extract sold in drug stores. The distillates also contain alcohol.
Witch hazel has very many uses. Some of the most common external uses include treating cold sores, bruises and swelling.
Some of the main ingredients of witch hazel include; gallic acid, tannin, catechins, flavonoids (i.e. kaempferol and quercetin), proanthocyanins, essential oils (i.e. carvacrol, eugenol and hexenol), saponins, bitters and choline. Having defined witch hazel and briefly stated the plant’s main uses and ingredients, let’s shift our focus to looking at witch hazel uses at home in more detail.
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Controlling Spots And Blemishes
This is by far one of the most notable uses of witch hazel. Witch hazel has been proven to reduce pimple inflammation thanks to its astringent properties. According to numerous research studies, using witch hazel daily helps to reduce acne.
This explains why many over the counter acne treatments in the market today contain witch hazel. To control spots and blemishes effectively using acne witch hazel astringent, apply the extract on the affected area and pores using a witch stick, cotton pad or cotton ball. It is however important to seek medical attention before doing this.
Soothing And Healing Diaper Rash
Witch hazel has also been proven to be an effective diaper rash remedy. If your baby has diaper rash, apply witch hazel extract on the affected areas using a cotton ball. Witch hazel soothes and heals diaper rash faster than most diaper rash topical treatments available today. It also protects sensitive skin from further skin irritations.
Eliminate “Eye Bags”
Most people get annoying ”bags” under the eyes which are hard to eliminate. Eye bags usually result in a swollen appearance.
Although eye bags aren’t caused by serious underlying health problems, they are a major cosmetic concern. Witch hazel has been proven to tighten up the skin eliminating eye bags when the extract is rubbed gently below the eyes.
Soothing And Reducing External Hemorrhoids
Witch hazel is also a perfect anti-itch remedy. When combined with petroleum jelly or glycerine and aloe and rubbed on external hemorrhoids, witch hazel reduces itching significantly. Witch hazel also dries up the bleeding that results from hemorrhoids. Use a cotton pad or cotton ball to rub the astringent witch hazel on the affected skin part.
Relieves Varicose Veins Pain And Discomfort
Witch hazel is also a good remedy for varicose vein pain and discomfort. When using witch hazel to relieve varicose veins, soak a cloth in a solution of warm water and witch hazel extract and lay it on the legs i.e. where the varicose veins are visible.
Doing this will instantly reduce swelling and pain. This witch hazel water mix relieves varicose veins pain and discomfort by tightening the veins and blood vessels.
Soothing Poison Ivy & Poison Oak
This is another notable skin benefit of witch hazel. On top of controlling spots and blemishes, witch hazel also relieves swelling and reduces itching caused by poison ivy and poison oak.
Witch hazel is therefore an important accessory when going for camping, hunting, strolling in the woods etc. Using a spray bottle, apply witch hazel astringent to the itchy skin.
Treating Chicken Pox
A combination of witch hazel and; honey, aloe, lavender among other essential oils creates a spray which is extremely effective in treating chicken pox blisters.
When using witch hazel to treat chicken pox blisters, mix 0.5 cups of distilled witch hazel with; 1 tablespoon of honey, 40 drops of lavender essential oil, 15 drops of lemon essential oil, 5 drops of peppermint essential oil, 15 drops of bergamot essential oil, 0.5 cups of aloe vera gel and one teaspoon of carrot seed oil.
To get the perfect witch hazel aloe vera gel mixture, you should mix the other ingredients before adding distilled witch hazel. The mixture should be poured into a spray bottle and sprayed on the affected areas.
Avoid eye contact. This mixture has been proven to be more potent and better for treating chicken pox than the traditional calamine lotion.
Healing Bruises Faster
Witch hazel is also used to speed up the time required to heal bruises. In case you have those stubborn bruises which take the longest time to heal, you can rub witch hazel solution on the bruises regularly to fasten the healing time.
Preventing And Healing Razor Burn
Witch hazel’s natural anti-inflammatory properties also come in handy when it comes to stopping the formation of itchy bumps common around irritated hair follicles. To prevent and heal razor burn, apply witch hazel a few minutes before and after shaving.
Treating And Soothing Sunburn
Witch hazel is popular for healing damaged skin however, it is also effective for treating skin inflammation as is the case with sunburn. Witch hazel is used for treating and soothing sunburn even in cases where the inflammation isn’t obvious.
Using a spray bottle, apply the witch hazel toner or astringent to the affected part. When used to treat sunburn, witch hazel reduces healing time and prevents skin flaking and peeling.
Treating Dry Skin
Witch hazel is also used by individuals with dry skin to reduce skin flaking and peeling. Applying witch hazel immediately after showering helps to lock in moisture treating dry skin.
Healing And Soothing Skin Cuts And Bruises
You can use witch hazel in soothing skin irritations and other skin condition caused by injuries. Many dermatologists have been on record endorsing witch hazel as the best natural alternative to Neosporin. Applying a dab of witch hazel cleanses cuts protecting them against infection and promoting quick healing. Its effectiveness can even lighten scars and stretch marks.
Treating Bug Bites
Witch hazel’s anti-inflammatory and anti-itch properties are also used to treat bug bites. Applying a dab of witch hazel on the affected area has been proven to treat insect bites in record time.
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Refreshing “Tired Eyes”
Witch hazel is also used as an effective remedy for refreshing the eyes. It is however important to note that witch hazel solution shouldn’t be used directly on the eyes.
Instead, soak a clean cloth in a solution of cold water and witch hazel extract and then place the cloth over your (closed) eyes. After approximately 10 minutes, any redness and “tiredness” should be gone. This remedy is very effective after crying for a long time.
In a nutshell, the above information summaries the main uses of witch hazel plant. It is however important to note that there are many other benefits of witch hazel that aren’t mentioned above. All in all, the above information is adequate enough to highlight the anti-inflammatory and astringent properties, as well as importance of having witch hazel in your home.