Witch Hazel Uses

 A witch hazel shrub can easily be your best friend as it requires very low-maintenance, fills your garden with a wonderful aroma during winter, and resistant to most pests. Witch hazel thrives in full sun (semi-shaded in hot regions/areas), rich soil, and regular watering but it can tolerate acidic conditions. They can grow up to 10 to 20 feet high and in the wild, it grows under larger trees. Its extract has a wide range of uses and benefits from cosmetics to medicinal purposes.

There are four types of witch hazel such as the American Witch Hazel, Ozark Witch Hazel, Japanese Witch Hazel, and Chinese Witch Hazel.

 The American Witch Hazel shrub grows throughout northeast and southeast North America, from Nova Scotia to Florida and from the Great Lakes to eastern Texas. The bark extract is used to remedy a wide range of skin conditions. The Ozark With Hazel's bloom time is around January to April and are native to Missouri and Arkansas. The Japanese Witch Hazel can grom into its mature size for up to 15 feet tall and blooms around January to March. The most fragrant of all its types, the Chinese Witch Hazel also blooms from January to March. The gallic acid and tannins, the chemicals found in witch hazel can reduce swelling and fight bacteria when applied topically. Witch hazel can be purchased at Amazon, any drug store, Trader Joe's, Sprouts, most grocery stores, and health stores.

 Witch hazel has a lot of uses and benefits. However, just like how I would advise a friend, consult a doctor/practitioner, or a nurse if you have any other concerns before using witch hazel. If you want to give it a try, try applying it to a small portion of your skin first.  References are given at the bottom of the post for further reading and research.



1. Swelling/inflammation 

As I have mentioned above, the gallic acid and tannins found in witch hazel are responsible for its anti-inflammatory benefits. Inflammation is our body's natural reaction against injury and infection. When applied topically, witch hazel can reduce the swelling and soothe the affected area.

2. Skin Irritation 

A clinical trial found that witch hazel suppressed erythema (reddening of the skin due to irritation) by up to 27%. 

3. Hemorrhoids

 Applying witch hazel water to the skin (can use cotton ball) can temporarily relieve itching, discomfort, irritation, and burning from hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are caused by the inflammations of the veins in the rectum. Some of its symptoms include bleeding, pain, and itchiness. Direct application of witch hazel can relieve the discomfort.

4. Acne

Witch hazel acts as an astringent causing your tissues to contract to help shrink pores while soothing your skin and relieving inflammation. Furthermore, it can also prevent the bacteria causing acne from infecting your skin.

5. Sensitive scalp 

Witch hazel can relieve scalp irritation when applied to your scalp before washing your hair. It may help with itching and tenderness caused by dermatological conditions such as dandruff or psoriasis. This research with a sample size of 1,373 patients (1,233 women and 140 men), used a shampoo with witch hazel extract and found it to be effective.


OTHER KNOWN USES:

  • Treatment of insect bites
  • Make-up remover and toner
  • Treatment of  Razor Burn
  • Treats blackheads, cleanser
  • Heals bruises
  • Relieves minor burns
  • Astringent, anti-aging
  • Revitalizes tired eyes, eye puffiness


When you read articles with regards to the uses and benefits of witch hazel, you will come across articles that will mention taking it orally to relieve cold and fever, diarrhea, colitis, and even cancer. Please, please choose reliable and credible sources. Consult your primary care doctor first and foremost before taking anything orally or if you are suffering from a condition (or symptom) that persists for more than 3 days. Sometimes, self-treatment will do us more harm than good.


References:

Garden Designs

The U.S. Forest Service

Healthline- 8 Benefits and Uses of Witch Hazel

Pubmed DOI: 10.1159/000017904

MacKay D. Hemorrhoids and varicose veins: a review of treatment options. Altern Med Rev. 2001 Apr;6(2):126-40. PMID: 11302778.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4025519/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4158622/


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