In this world diseases are increasing day by day and also medicines. To lead a healthy lifestyle, we must take natural medicinal herbs in our daily diet. So that we may get rid of certain diseases. In that line, here we’re going to discuss the benefits and uses of Witch Hazel tree.
Witch Hazel is a natural solution that has been used long ago. In Traditional medicine, Witch hazel is used in treating various skin infections.
Witch Hazel also known as Snapping Hazel, is a small plant that has numerous medicinal properties. It originated at the east coast of North America. The Botanical Name of Witch Hazel is Hamamelis virginiana. It is a flowering plant that comes under the family Hamamelidaceae.
The name “Hamamelis” refers to “together with fruit” which means, the flowers and fruits are present together. That is, currently produced flowers and the matured fruits of the previous year occur simultaneously. This species has many different varieties namely H.ovalis, H. virginiana, H. vernalis, H. mollis and more.
Witch Hazel – Plant Description
Witch Hazel is a deciduous shrub that can grow up to 25 feet tall and rarely 40 feet. The leaves are long, oval, and alternately arranged in a wavy margin. Here in Hamamelis virginiana the flowers and the fruits occur simultaneously. It blooms during the month of September to November. The other species of Hamamelis have different blooming periods.
The flowers are also of different colors red, orange, pale to dark yellow and each of them are provided with strap shaped petals. The fruits are in the shape of a capsule with two parts and have a glossy black seed in each. The fruit splits open after 8 months of flowering and ejects the seeds to fly. And so this is called Snapping hazel.
Witch Hazel Uses
All the parts of this plant are used for various purposes in different forms. The parts such as the leaves, bark, and branches are used in the preparation of medicines.
Liquid Extract (Hazel Water)
The extract taken from the bark, dried leaves, and branches are called the hazel juice or Hazel water is used to cure various diseases. The leafy extract has a strong astringent effect which is used to tighten the skin. It is also available as cream or ointments.
Hazel water taken orally by mouth can cure diarrhea, vomiting, cold, bloody cough, flu, tuberculosis, cancer and tumors.
Witch Hazel is used as a natural treatment for itching, inflammation, skin injury, vaginal dryness, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, wounds, burns, insect bites, acne, skin irritation, and others.
Witch Hazel Tea
Nowadays most of them prefer herbal teas to maintain a healthy diet. In that case, witch hazel can also be taken as tea. Consuming about 2 to 4 ml twice a day is good for your health and it is the right dosage, don’t exceed that.
How to make Hazel Tea
Hazel tea is the simplest method that can be prepared within 10 to 15 minutes. Take 2 grams of witch hazel leaves or bark and boil it with water for about 10 minutes. So that the extract leaves off into the water. Now you can directly consume this tincture or add some sugar to it for taste and then have it.
Witch Hazel Sanitizer / Witch Hazel Spray
Before hearing about corona we could have never used hand sanitizer. But, after the arrival of coronavirus into this world, we could not find hand sanitizers in any shops. So people started to make sanitizer at home, as it would be free of chemicals, cost efficient, and very safe to use.
Here, Witch hazel is potent and found in bulk. So you can use Witch Hazel along with some other ingredients to make hand sanitizer. Let’s get into its preparation.
How to Make Sanitizer with Witch Hazel?
This method is an alcohol free witch hazel sanitizer preparation. Witch hazel itself contains only less anti-microbial action, so by combining other ingredients we attain full antimicrobial property for the sanitizer.
Witch Hazel Sanitizer
- First take a bottle and fill half the bottle with witch hazel.
- Add 1 teaspoon of aloe vera gel and 12 to 15 drops of thieves oil.
- Now add water to the rest of the bottle and shake it well.
- Don’t overfill the bottle with water, leave some space empty at the top, so that you can shake it well.
- Now it’s ready to use.
EMERGING HEALTH BENEFITS OF WITCH HAZEL
Till date there have been many scientific studies done in testing the health benefits of witch hazel. They found certain compounds in witch hazel that can produce antioxidant effects.
1] Witch Hazel for Hemorrhoids
Witch hazel water is an excellent therapy for hemorrhoids. It has anti-inflammatory properties that help you to get rid of hemorrhoids.
First let me tell you what hemorrhoids are? Hemorrhoids are the swellings or inflammations found in the veins of your lower rectum. It is caused due to the strain in the bowel movements or obesity. It can cause bleeding, irritation, discomfort and other anal issues.
Applying the hazel water externally on the skin will give you relief from these symptoms temporarily. Witch hazel wipes soothes your pain and discomfort.
As it is very effective some people also add witch hazel to the bathing water. This method also helps you to get relief.
2] Witch Hazel for Face
Normally our face may contain pimples, acne, sunburns, rashes, under eye bags, etc, due to many reasons. It may be because of stress, consuming too much oily foods, or over exposure to sunlight, pollution, or several other environmental factors or diseases.
These issues can cause pain, irritation, redness and more. But all these problems can be cured with just a simple natural remedy, witch hazel. The only thing you have to remember is moderation. Witch hazel should be used at a moderate level or else it may lead to some side effects, says Dr. Shainhouse.
How to Use Witch Hazel on Face
- The safest and common way to use witch hazel on your face is like a toner.
- Wash your face with warm water and gently rub using your favorite cleaner.
- Use cool water to rinse your face and then pat it with a soft cloth or towel.
- Take a cotton ball and soak it in a witch hazel solution containing no or low content alcohol.
- Now apply the soaked cotton ball to your face.
- Don’t rinse your face. Witch hazel will dry quickly, so apply your favorite face moisturizer to lock your face in hydration.
- If you’ve not yet used witch hazel, then first do spot with it on your hand and then try to your face.
- Continuing this process 1 to 2 times a day will prevent your skin from drying and keep it moisturized.
3] Witch Hazel for Acne
As we said already it has powerful anti-inflammatory properties that is helpful in treating acne. By applying it directly on the face, you can easily get relief from acne. But before using witch hazel, wash or steam your face properly for an effective reaction.
The astringent property makes your tissues to contract and shrinks the pores on the skin. It also relieves you from inflammation and soothes your skin. Witch hazel is an ideal solution for oily skin people.
Some studies have said that witch hazel cures the skin infection and prevents acne-causing bacteria entering your skin.
Under-eye bags can also be cured by witch hazel. But be careful when applying it to the under-eye bags. Because it may cause burns when applied directly.
4] Witch Hazel for Sunburn
Witch hazel is the best natural remedy to treat sunburn. Sunburn is a red, painful skin that is caused due to the overexposure to the sun or ultraviolet rays. The anti-inflammatory quality in witch hazel heals the wound or sunburn faster and gives you comfort.
A report published in the Journal of the German Society of Dermatology, has concluded that Witch Hazel can help treat sunburn. The authors have also stated that witch hazel protects your skin from damage caused by too much exposure to the sun’s UV rays.
How to Apply Witch Hazel to Sunburn?
Take a piece of cloth or cotton ball, dip it into the hazel water and gently apply on the sunburns. It soothes your pain and prevents you from other inflammations also.
You can also mix aloe vera with the witch hazel and apply over the sunburn for quick results. Aloe vera is another anti-inflammatory agent that cures the sunburn.
5] Cures Inflammatory Conditions
Generally, inflammation is considered as a normal response of the immune system that is created to protect your body against serious infections. But chronic inflammations are due to the development of diseases. But this can be treated with witch hazel. It contains tannins, gallic acid, and various compounds with anti-inflammatory properties that help in the healing process.
Witch hazel is also provided with antioxidants that prevents the spread of inflammations in the underlying tissues and neutralizes the free radicals, which is a major disease causing compound built up in your body.
Therefore, Witch Hazel has a great potential to treat various types of inflammatory conditions such as eczema, acne, and psoriasis. Some studies show that witch hazel effectively reduces inflammation when applied topically on the skin. It reduces your pain and soothes your skin.
6] Witch hazel for skin
For Skin Irritation & Inflammations
Sensitive skin is a common condition affecting nearly half of the Americans. Some research recommends that witch hazel is a perfect solution for sensitive skin. No matter whether your skin is irritated, inflamed or broken, witch hazel will give you lifetime relief.
So apply witch hazel extract topically on the skin to get rid of your issues.
In fact, it is also said that witch hazel suppresses erythema, which means reddening of the skin caused due to skin irritation or injury. A study conducted with 40 people, where 30% used lotion and the remaining 10% people used witch hazel extract. The result has shown that witch hazel extract was very effective in treating skin inflammation and erythema.
A study in the European Journal of Pediatrics in 2007 shows that it was conducted with 309 children who have diaper rash, minor skin lesions, or localized dermatitis. Among them, 78 children used dexpanthenol ointment, which is a drug used to treat skin diseases. And the rest of the children were treated with witch hazel extract. As a result, children who have used witch hazel had recovered quickly without any side effects.
Also, another study proves that the topical preparation of witch hazel will provide a great relief for irritated or sensitive skin.
For Skin Damage
Witch hazel is a natural herb that is rich in powerful antioxidants and tannins. These compounds protect your skin from damage. One animal study shows that the tannins in the herb acts as a barrier and prevents the foreign bodies that enter your skin cells to cause inflammations. Also, researchers say that tannins can slow down the growth of tumor cells in the skin.
Similarly another test-tube study has revealed that witch hazel neutralizes the free radicals and prevents the spreading of cancer cells in the skin. Anyhow there are a lot of things that should be evaluated on humans.
7] Witch hazel for Hair and Scalp
Scalp sensitivity can be due to many factors from hair treatments to dermatological conditions. All these issues can be treated with Witch hazel. A research in 1373 people who used witch hazel shampoo has shown effective results in relieving scalp irritation.
Scalp sensitivity can also occur due to conditions like seborrheic dermatitis or psoriasis or eczema. And other scalp problems such as dryness, dandruff can also be cured using witch hazel. It is also very helpful in healing inflammation.
Therefore, witch hazel is an all in one natural solution for your skin and scalp. But the only thing is, there is no effective evidence to prove the benefits of witch hazel for scalp.
How to Apply Witch Hazel to your Scalp?
- If you’re suffering from scalp irritation then witch hazel is an effective natural remedy for you. Take a few witch hazel and make it a paste. Apply the paste to your scalp while bathing, or leave it to dry in the scalp for 10 minutes and then wash your hair. This gives you relief from itching.
- Nowadays witch hazel shampoo is also available in the market. You can also use them while bathing to get rid of scalp sensitivity.
8] Soothes Sore Throat
Witch hazel sometimes acts as an astringent, as it has the ability to reduce inflammation. It is believed that witch hazel can treat sore throats. The anti-inflammatory properties decrease the swelling, soothes your pain, and dries the excess mucous. But some strong evidence is needed to prove its potential on sore throats.
How to use Witch Hazel for Sore Throat?
Take one teaspoon of witch hazel and boil it with one cup of water. Let it boil for about 10 minutes. Then leave it to cool for sometime and gargle the mixture with a little warm. This provides you relief from sore throat.
Remember that you’re spitting that mixture out. Taking it orally can cause stomach irritation, as it contains high amounts of tannin.
Does Witch Hazel Good for Your Skin?
Witch hazel contains a chemical compound called tannins which is very good for your skin. You can apply the hazel cream or extract directly to the skin. When applied witch hazel repairs the broken skin, reduces the inflammation, and fights against harmful bacteria.
Witch Hazel Side Effects
Though witch hazel has various health benefits, there is not much evidence to prove its potential. Some of them have reported that witch hazel reduces inflammation, but it does not help to get rid of itching and rashes associated with the same issue.
Some users also claim that witch hazel for acne is very effective but has created dryness. And also Anecdotal research has shown mixed results. The American Academy of Dermatology still recommends benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, because there is no evidence for witch hazel benefits.
A pure alcohol free witch hazel can aggravate your skin and cures inflammation and wounds. So you should consider the type of witch hazel you’re using, whether it is witch hazel alcohol or alcohol free witch hazel.
Witch Hazel is a natural topical remedy for various conditions. It acts as an astringent and contains potent antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties that are helpful in treating conditions from scalp sensitivity to dermatological issues and hemorrhoids. But still more research has to be done to prove the health benefits of this powerful plant.