Witch Hazel: Everything You Need to Know

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When I was a small child I clearly remember a hateful wasp stinging me while I was up to no good in my grandma and grandpa’s backyard. Needless to say, during that moment I was a little extra emotional and thought the discomfort would never end.

Thankfully my grandmother, the miracle worker that she was, always had the right remedy for everything. I will never forget that when she applied witch hazel on the bite, after a little bit the inflammation and discomfort gradually went away.

Witch hazel not only works well on insect bites, but it can serve for several other purposes as well. This is everything that you need to know about witch hazel. 

Witch Hazel: What’s With the Name?

Witch hazel has nothing to do with witches or witchcraft, so now you can be a little more at ease. It comes from the Middle English word “Wyche”, meaning flexible, which the branches of the plant happen to be. The word “hazel” has to do with the plant’s similarity to the hazelnut tree. 

What is Witch Hazel Made of?

This product is a small native plant that can be found along the east coast of North America where there are four different species. Witch hazel is extracted from the bark of the plant and then distilled into the product that we find on the grocery store shelf. 

What Makes It So Useful?

Witch hazel is a cleansing agent that contains chemicals called tannins that help remove germs and bacteria from the skin.

It works as an astringent to not only shrink pores that cause acne, but also soothes the skin in the process, leaving you with healthier skin. For the many reasons that follow, this multi-purpose remedy should be in every medicine cabinet and home across America.  

What are the Benefits of It?

Fights Infections

Many people apply it as a natural remedy to fight not only cold sores, but to relieve other viral infections as well. It’s also been promising on fighting against influenza A and human papillomavirus.

Works Against Acne

Did you know several acne-fighting treatments contain this in them? If you deal with oily skin and struggle to keep your face cleaned up, it might just prove beneficial for you to give it a try.  

Helps with Dandruff

Although not widely proven by researchers, a few experiments have found that witch hazel shampoo can actually help get rid of dandruff. At the very least, it will make it less noticeable. 

Relieves Inflammation/Stings

It also has antioxidants that help stop inflammation and rashes from spreading. It can treat skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis. It also works with the discomfort from sunburn or other irritants that may be causing issues for your skin.

You will also notice that it takes away the itching too. And as mentioned earlier, it will alleviate the discomfort from bug bites and stings very quickly.   

Provides Relief From Scalp Sensitivity 

Before washing their hair, many people apply witch hazel directly onto their scalp to help with itching and scalp irritation. 

Slows Down Bleeding

Not only does witch hazel serve by tightening the skin, but it also may help constrict blood vessels. It may help stop the bleeding for minor cuts and even nosebleeds.  

Alleviates Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids, which are dilated veins in the rectum or anus, can be extremely uncomfortable. You may even notice bleeding and itching.

Again, this is not something that has been widely proven, but many people put it in their bath-water and soak in it, to help manage the discomfort. 

Prevents Skin Damage

Witch hazel works not only as a skin healer, but also as a preventative agent for damaged skin. It creates a barrier that keeps certain substances from entering the skin.  

Treats Sore Throats 

Since witch hazel has proven to work on decreasing inflammation, many people go as far as using it to help cure a sore throat. It should reduce the swelling and take away the pain.

You should boil one teaspoon of it in one cup of water for around 10 minutes and then gargle. Just be aware that certain people who orally take witch hazel end up with stomach irritation.  

Lightens Stretch Marks

There might not be any research that supports using witch hazel to help lighten stretch marks, but several users will argue that it does indeed lighten stretch marks and make them far less noticeable. 

How to Apply Witch Hazel

Cotton Ball in Jars

Most often, witch hazel is applied directly onto the skin area that is affected and can be used several times a day. Simply use a cotton swab and dab it on your skin. Mixing it with aloe vera can provide even more soothing results. 

Some people even drink small doses of it to help with diarrhea, colds, fevers, cancer, tuberculosis, ulcers, and vomiting up blood. It might not be in your best interest to use it below the beltline where the skin is extra sensitive.

Side Effects

While witch hazel is okay for most people, it might not be for certain others since it may cause an allergic reaction. To be safe, apply only a small amount of witch hazel onto the skin and keep an eye on it for 24 hours. 

If you don’t notice anything irregular, you should be safe to apply more liberally in the future. Ingesting small amounts of it should also be fine. However, drinking large amounts of it may cause liver or kidney damage. 

Final Word 

As you can see, it helps you to better manage many things. If for whatever reason, your condition does not improve while using it, you may need to contact a doctor for more advice.

What other ways have you learned to use witch hazel from past experiences?  May God bless this world, Linda

Witch Hazel Products

Natural Remedies That Really Work

Copyright Images: Cotton Jars-Depositphotos_11340451_s-2019

4 thoughts on “Witch Hazel: Everything You Need to Know

  • January 18, 2020 at 9:32 am
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    My husband had restless leg syndrome. I would rub his legs generously with witch hazel and it would fairly quickly stop the painful twitching. I have also put it on a place I have bumped pretty hard and it has lessened the effects of bruising. Thanks for all your articles.

    Reply
    • January 18, 2020 at 10:26 am
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      Hi Rosann, wow, this is good to hear! I LOVE LOVE LOVE hearing tips like this! We all learn from each other! Thank you, Linda

      Reply
  • January 18, 2020 at 10:50 am
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    Linda, thank you for sharing this about witch hazel! Like you, I had a grandmother who reached for it in her own cabinet whenever we had our bumps and stings through life! I learned the value of witch hazel from her and keep it well stocked in my own cabinet now.
    I found another Thayers witch hazel called a medicated witch hazel. About 22 years ago my husband was T-boned by a drunk driver. It caused some majors changes in our life from the damage caused to his spine. We have tried lots of different ways to manage the pain without having to use pain meds everyday. The best relief my husband has found are daily back rubs as needed, using the medicated (it contains extracts of many herbs including Camphor and Eucalyptus) witch hazel. It has made all the difference for him in getting through each day. And we’re so grateful for that.
    Thank you again Linda for the many things you share with us! You teach and inspire us all! Hugs! Tana

    Reply
    • January 18, 2020 at 11:24 am
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      Hi Tana, oh you made my day! I work so hard to teach the world, your comments mean so much to me. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. NOW, I need to go get some the medicated Witch Hazel!! I was hit head-on by a drunk driver and I don’t think my body has ever been the same. Thank you for sharing your experience about this witch hazel. I LOVE hearing about this medicated witch hazel. Thank you, Linda

      Reply

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