REMEMBER: These Are 10+ Interesting Health Benefits of Witch Hazel! Pay SPECIAL Attention to Benefit #8! Contraindications & Dangers INCLUDED!
Witch hazel is a shrub that produces fragrant yellow flowers. The plant belongs to the Hamamelidaceae family, with three species being native to North American, one species native to Japan and one native to China.
The bark and leaves of the plant are used to create a topical astringent that people have been using for hundreds of years as a treatment for a variety of health issues from sunburn to wound healing and skin irritation.
Known for its healing properties, witch hazel is one astringent that everyone should have in their medicine cabinet. Here are ten reasons why.
Benefit #1 – Improves Healing of Wounds
Witch hazel is an effective astringent with anti-inflammatory properties, which makes it an excellent treatment for wounds and cuts. The plant has long been used by physicians to safely clean wounds, tighten skin and prevent infection from taking hold.
The plant also helps shrink blood vessels and increase blood flow to the skin’s surface.
The effectiveness in treating skin injuries and disorders is well documented and is even useful for children up to 11 years of age. The great thing about witch hazel is that it’s well tolerated by most people, which reduces the risk of an allergic reaction or complications during treatment.
Wolff, H. H. & M. Kieser. (2007). “Hamamelis in children with skin disorders and skin injuries: results of an observational study”, in European Journal of Pediatrics, Vol. 166(9).
Benefit #2 – Cures a Sore Throat
Most people are familiar with topical witch hazel, but it can be used in other ways to treat your health issues. Witch hazel tea or a gargle mixed with clove can be used to soothe a sore throat.
Pay attention: It’s the plant’s anti-inflammatory properties that help soothe the inflamed throat and provide pain relief. Its astringent properties also help kill bacteria, which can help heal the infection quickly.
Benefit #3 – Refreshes & Promotes The Health of Your Skin
Rich in tannins, witch hazel is most famous for its skin uses. People have been using this plant for hundreds of years to keep skin looking refreshed and healthy.
The antiseptic and antibacterial properties of witch hazel help keep the skin remain free of impurities and bacteria that leads to acne.
Its catechol tannins also remove any excess oil from the skin, which makes it an excellent treatment for blackheads. Many people use witch hazel as a toner to keep skin looking youthful and radiant.
Touriño, S., et al. (2008). “Highly galloylated tannin fractions from witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) bark: electron transfer capacity, in vitro antioxidant activity, and effects on skin-related cells”, in Chemical Research in Toxicology, Vol. 21(3).
Benefit #4 – Provides Relief for Hemorrhoids
One of the key ingredients in over-the-counter hemorrhoid creams is witch hazel. This medicinal plant works its magic in a few different ways.
It shrinks blood vessels and boasts astringent properties that shrink hemorrhoids. It also provides relief from burning and itching. It’s the high tannin content of the plant that produces these effects.
Witch hazel has also been shown to be effective in preventing infection and minimizing discomfort in patients operated for anal fissures and hemorrhoids.
Gaj, F. & P. Crispino. (2009). “Proctological surgery: advantages derived from the use of an innovative detergent in the post-operative period”, in La Clinica Terapeutica, Vol. 160(3).
Benefit #5 – Treats Acne
Whether you’re a teenager or an adult battling acne, you know how challenging and frustrating it can be to treat this stubborn skin condition. Witch hazel may be the one treatment you’ve yet to try – and it’s one of the most efficient out there.
As you know, this plant is a powerful astringent with antibacterial properties. It also promotes blood flow to the surface of the skin.
Pay attention: As a result, witch hazel makes quick work of skin bacteria like Staphylococcus epidermidis and Propionibacterium acnes. And the tannins keep the skin free of excess oil that can clog pores and promote breakouts.
Benefit #6 – Shrinks Blood Vessels & Reduces Varicose Veins
Witch hazel shrinks blood vessels and can even reduce varicose veins. Again, it’s the plant’s astringent properties that shrink bulging blood vessels, pain, and pressure.
Let’s face it – although varicose veins are harmless, they’re still embarrassing. That’s why people want to remove them or, at the very least, minimize their appearance.
Witch hazel is considered one of the most effective topical treatments for varicose veins. Many studies back the effectiveness of this plant in reducing the appearance of these veins.
MacKay, D. (2001). “Hemorrhoids and varicose veins: a review of treatment options”, in Alternative Medicine Review, Vol. 6(2).
Benefit #7 – Reduces “Puffy Eyes”
Do you wake up with puffy eyes in the morning? Whether you didn’t get enough sleep, or you’re battling allergies, puffy eyes can be difficult to fix. Unless, of course, you have witch hazel on hand.
Anti-inflammatory and antiseptic, witch hazel will minimize inflammation and tighten the skin to restore your eyes back to their former glory.
Pay attention: Try soaking a cotton ball or pad in witch hazel and placing it on your eyes for about 5 minutes. As a bonus, this should also help reduce redness and dark under-eye circles.
Benefit #8 – Reduces Blackheads & Tightens Up Your Pores
Suffering with blackheads or large pores? Put the harsh cleaners away and reach for witch hazel. You already know that this plant is excellent for treating acne, but it’s also great for getting rid of blackheads and shrinking pores.
As an astringent, witch hazel will kill skin-damaging bacteria that causes blackheads. Because of its ability to shrink blood vessels and tighten the skin, it will also help make large pores look smaller over time.
Pay attention: Some people see immediate results when using witch hazel, but results can take a few months for others. That said, witch hazel is one of the most efficient and gentle treatments for blackheads and large pores.
Benefit #9 – Provides Ease for Eczema & Psoriasis
Psoriasis and eczema are common but uncomfortable skin conditions with few effective treatments available. But witch hazel can offer relief with daily topical applications.
Science backs the effectiveness of this plant as well as chamomile and other plants with antiseptic properties in treating eczema and psoriasis. The anti-inflammatory properties of this plant soothe inflammation and bring relief from the pain, itching, and redness that comes along with these skin conditions.
You can find witch hazel in a variety of forms, including creams, astringents, and wipes. Any one of these will be effective at relieving eczema and psoriasis.
Hörmann, H. P. & H. C. Korting. (1994). “Evidence for the efficacy and safety of topical herbal drugs in dermatology: Part I: Anti-inflammatory agents”, in Phytomedicine, Vol. 1(2).
Benefit #10 – Great Anti-Inflammatory Substance for Sunburn, Razor Burn, Bug Bites & Diaper Rash
Witch hazel has long been used as a treatment for burns and bug bites. As an anti-inflammatory and antiseptic, it’s a fitting choice for reducing swelling, minimizing pain and preventing infection or other adverse reactions.
Today, you’ll find that aside from aloe vera, witch hazel is one of the most popular herbal treatments for sunburns.
It can also soothe razor burn and diaper rashes while helping bug bites heal faster. While its effectiveness needs to be studied more, evidence suggests that this plant can help treat sunburns and provide relief when applied shortly after exposure.
Hughes-Formella, B. J., et al. (2002). “Anti-inflammatory efficacy of topical preparations with 10% hamamelis distillate in a UV erythema test”, in Skin Pharmacology and Applied Skin Physiology, Vol. 15(2).
Side-Effects & Dangers of Using Witch Hazel
Witch hazel is considered safe when applied topically, although it may cause an allergic reaction in some people. When taken orally in small doses, it’s possibly safe.
Possible side effects include:
- Upset stomach when taking by mouth.
- Contact dermatitis (rare)
Contact dermatitis is rare, and witch hazel is well tolerated even by children. Although the risks of its usage are minimal, there are possible complications that may arise if you take an excess amount by mouth, including:
- Liver damage
- Kidney damage
Pay attention: Studies on this plant are still limited, so avoid use if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding unless you are using topically and in small amounts for a short period.
Witch hazel has been used for hundreds of years to treat a variety of health conditions. With so many benefits, everyone should keep a bottle of this astringent in their medicine cabinets.