The Witch Hazel shrub is known to have many healing properties and is an inexpensive way to treat minor injuries and common skin problems. Native Americans have enjoyed the benefits of witch hazel for more than a century.The shrub is native to North America and grows in slightly wooded areas from Canada to Florida.
Witch hazel contains significant amounts of hydrolats and hyrdosols. If purchasing the readily available and most inexpensive version of witch hazel at the drug store, read the label carefully, because it may be infused with alcohol. Tannin is one of the ingredients in witch hazel that helps reduce swelling and is often not present in typical retail store brands.
Top 10 Witch Hazel Uses
- Bug Bites and Poison Ivy – Witch hazel can be used as a preventative and after contact treatment. Wipe exposed areas with the liquid to keep bugs and insects at bay during the summer and fall months. Witch hazel reduces swelling while offering relief from itching resulting from exposure to poison ivy and mosquito bites.
- Cuts and Bruises – Stick a bottle of witch hazel in your purse or suitcase before leaving on vacation or spending the day outside. Simply dab a little witch hazel onto a cut or bruise to facilitate the healing and reduce inflammation. If you twist your ankle while playing sports, rub some witch hazel onto the affected area to reduce swelling.
- Acne – Witch Hazel is a common ingredient in many blemish products. Pour a few drops of the liquid onto a cotton ball and gently rub it one sore spots to reduce redness and swelling, or wash the entire infected area with the organic liquid.
- External Hemorrhoids – Witch hazel is known to “tighten” skin and reduce itchiness. Multiple home remedies suggest that those suffering with external hemorrhoids mix together equal amounts of witch hazel, petroleum jelly, and glycerine and rub it on the affected area to dry up bleeding and reduce irritated skin.
- Diaper Rash – Witch hazel is gentle enough to be used on infants. Squirt some of the liquid onto a cotton cloth and rub easily over the diaper rash. Even with natural products an allergic reaction can occur, use on a small area to test for irritation and discuss with your pediatrician before usage.
- Varicose Veins – To reduce the appearance and pain associated with varicose veins, use witch hazel to soak several wash cloths and lay the material gently on the legs. Sit with your legs propped up and straight to help reduce any pain and to keep the liquid from spilling off the limbs. Witch hazel has reportedly been known to offer temporarily relief of discomfort and tighten the varicose veins in the process.
- Sunburn – Witch hazel is an incredible all natural treatment for a multitude of skin irritations, sunburn is no exception. Apply the liquid to the skin with a damp cloth or by pouring slowly to help alleviate skin flaking and peeling.
- Dry Skin – Develop the habit of gently rubbing witch hazel onto your skin immediately after drying off from a shower to prevent or treat dry skin. The liquid can be applied again throughout the day to treat problem dry skin patches. Apply a few dabs of witch hazel to rid your face of bags under the eye bags. Wipe the liquid gently under the eyes, be careful to avoid dripping into the eyes and mouth.
- Chicken Pox Blisters – Witch hazel is an important ingredient in a home remedy mixture that has been known to help in the treatment of chicken pox blisters. In a clean spray bottle mix together 15 drops bergamot essential oil, 1 tablespoon honey, 5 drops peppermint essential oil, 40 drops lavender essential oil, 15 drops lemon essential oil, 15 drops bergamot essential oil, , 1 teaspoon carrot seed oil and a half a cup aloe vera gel. After shaking the chicken pox blisters remedy so all the ingredients have thoroughly combined, add in a half a cup of distilled witch hazel and shake vigorously again.
- Homemade Deodorant – Use witch hazel to make a natural deodorant that is also known to help heal dry and care for dry skin. Mix together 2 tablespoons of cornflower water,2 tablespoons of orange flower water, one teaspoon of high proof vodka, 8 drops of bergamot essential oil, 10 drops of geranium essential oil, 10 drops of cypress essential oil, four drops of lavender essential oil, five drops of neroli, three drops of black pepper, and four tablespoons of witch hazel. Use a funnel to slowly and carefully pour all of the ingredients into a bottle with a spray nozzle and then shake vigorously. Shake the bottle before each use to make sure none of the skin soothing ingredients have sunk to the bottom.
Witch Hazel Warnings
Herbal remedies work wonderfully for many people, but the possibility of an allergic reaction is always possible. Pregnant and nursing women may not be able to use all of the ingredients noted in the natural remedies. If new to the use of witch hazel or any of the ingredients noted in the home remedies, make sure to check with your doctor before use. Adverse side effects of witch hazel, although uncommon, could include nausea, vomiting or constipation, chest tightness, pain, or trouble breathing, hives, rashes, skin irritations, and leg swelling.