Witch hazel

32 mins read

Witch hazel, a winter-blooming shrub that populates Haverford’s Arboretum, has assorted usages and an abundant history.

If you need a flower repair throughout the cold winter season, witch hazel simply might be your go-to winter-blooming plant. Typically reaching a height of 12 to 15 feet, witch hazel can be thought about either a big shrub or a little tree. These hardy perennials with fragrant, wispy yellow to orange flowers are from the family Hamamelidaceae. A year after blooming, the fruit capsules grow and ultimately split open to release seeds. Once dry, the witch hazel’s pills can catapult the little seeds as far as 30 feet. This is the only tree in North America to have flowers, fruit, and next year’s leaf buds all at once. Witch hazel illuminates the forest throughout the fall and winter months and provides a source of food for birds, deer, and other little mammals that consume its fruit pills and seeds.

Witch hazel has a long history and has actually been used by people for centuries. Commonly understood for its medicinal and cosmetic uses, the extract from the leaves, bark, and branches of witch hazel have actually been used as an astringent to deal with inflamed skin and swollen tissues for centuries. Native Americans used the plant to treat the cold, eye and liver conditions, and other diseases. Early inhabitants also used the leaves to make tea for various medicinal functions. Today, witch hazel is used in a variety of products, consisting of ointments, soaps, and lotions.

The name “witch hazel” likewise originates from folk history. Locals and early inhabitants used the witch hazel to find sources of water underground. As they walked over the ground that they were surveying, they would carry a forked or bent witch hazel branch, which was utilized as a divining rod. They would observe if the branch twisted or dipped, which they believed signaled that they had actually found water. This practice was called “water-witching” and led to the plant’s common name, witch hazel. [2]

Uses of Witch hazel

1. Eliminates Swelling

Inflammation is a typical immune response designed to secure your body versus injury and infection.

However, chronic inflammation is thought to play a main role in the development of certain illness.

Witch hazel includes numerous compounds with powerful anti-inflammatory homes, consisting of gallic acid and tannins.

It also consists of antioxidants that help avoid widespread inflammation and reduce the effects of totally free radicals, which are disease-causing substances that can build up in your body.

Therefore, witch hazel could have significant benefits and might be useful in the treatment of inflammatory-related concerns, such as acne, eczema or psoriasis.

Research studies show that topically-applied witch hazel can efficiently reduce swelling and assistance relieve your skin.


Witch hazel includes lots of compounds with anti-inflammatory properties, which might have significant benefits for your health.

2. Minimizes Skin Inflammation

Delicate skin, specified by irregular sensory symptoms, is a really typical condition, affecting an estimate of up to 45% of Americans.

Some research suggests that applying witch hazel topically to delicate skin may be useful in the treatment of inflamed, irritated or broken skin.

In fact, witch hazel has been shown to suppress erythema– a reddening of the skin caused by injury or inflammation– by as much as 27%.

One research study in 40 individuals discovered that using a cream with as low as 10% witch hazel extract was effective in minimizing skin inflammation and dealing with erythema.

Likewise, another little research study found that a topical preparation consisting of witch hazel was able to supply relief for sensitive or inflamed facial skin.


Witch hazel may help in reducing skin inflammation and supply relief for irritated and delicate skin.

3. Helps Reward Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids are caused by the swelling and swelling of the veins in your rectum and anus, resulting in symptoms, such as itching and bleeding.

Witch hazel is frequently utilized as a natural treatment to offer remedy for the pain and discomfort triggered by hemorrhoids.

It’s generally contributed to a cloth or cotton ball and used directly to the affected location to relieve the skin.

Though research is limited, witch hazel is believed to help deal with the itching, redness, pain and swelling connected with hemorrhoids due to its anti-inflammatory results.

What’s more, it has hemostatic homes, indicating that it may stop bleeding brought on by hemorrhoids.

However, more studies in people are needed to take a look at the effectiveness of witch hazel on piles.


Witch hazel is often used to lower the itching, soreness, discomfort, bleeding and swelling related to piles. More research studies are needed to assess its effectiveness.

4. Fights Acne

Thanks to its effective anti-inflammatory residential or commercial properties, some research recommends that witch hazel could be helpful in the treatment of acne.

It can be used directly to your face after cleaning or steaming for maximum effectiveness.

It functions as an astringent, triggering your tissues to contract to help shrink pores, while also calming your skin and eliminating inflammation.

This might prevent acne-causing bacteria from infecting your skin. For this reason, witch hazel is typically added to many over the counter acne products and is particularly beneficial for individuals with oily skin.

Still, research studies on the effects of witch hazel on acne are limited and more research study is needed to determine its effectiveness.


Witch hazel serves as an astringent to assist shrink your pores, relieve your skin and decrease inflammation. More research study is required to identify the impacts of witch hazel itself on acne.

5. Reduces Scalp Level Of Sensitivity

Scalp sensitivity can be triggered by a number of aspects, varying from cosmetic hair treatments to dermatological conditions, such as psoriasis or seborrheic dermatitis.

Using a bit of witch hazel to your scalp prior to cleaning your hair may assist treat scalp level of sensitivity and offer remedy for signs, such as itching and inflammation.

According to one study in 1,373 individuals, using a shampoo containing witch hazel extract was effective in lowering scalp irritation.

Witch hazel might likewise help alleviate inflammation, which could be beneficial in lowering scalp sensitivity triggered by conditions like psoriasis or eczema.

It’s also sometimes used as a natural treatment to relieve symptoms of other scalp issues, such as dandruff and dryness.

However, additional research is required to assess the effectiveness of witch hazel in the treatment of these conditions.


Witch hazel may help reduce scalp inflammation and inflammation. It’s also often utilized for dealing with dandruff and dryness, though more studies are needed to evaluate its effectiveness for these conditions.

6. Soothes Sore Throat

Because of its ability to reduce inflammation and serve as an astringent, witch hazel is often used to deal with aching throats.

Boiling one teaspoon (5 ml) of witch hazel in one cup (240 ml) of water for about 10 minutes, then rinsing with the mix, may offer relief.

This is thought to help reduce swelling, reduce pain and dry excess mucus triggered by a sore throat.

Yet, even though the anti-inflammatory properties of witch hazel are well documented, its use for dealing with aching throats is based solely on anecdotal proof.

Premium research studies are required to establish the potential benefits of witch hazel on sore throats.

In addition, taking witch hazel orally may trigger stomach irritation due to its high tannin content, so it is necessary to proceed with caution and consult your physician if you have any concerns.


Witch hazel is often utilized as a natural treatment for aching throats, however extra research studies are needed to look at its prospective benefits and side effects.

7. Safeguards Versus Skin Damage

Witch hazel is rich in tannins, a natural plant substance with effective antioxidant homes that can help safeguard your skin against damage when used topically.

One animal research study found that tannins can serve as a barrier, avoiding inflammation-causing substances from entering your skin cells.

What’s more, a test-tube research study showed that witch hazel assisted reduce the effects of damaging complimentary radicals and avoided the spread of skin cancer cells.

Similarly, another animal study found that the tannins in witch hazel were able to slow skin tumor growth in mice exposed to radiation.

However, most research study is currently restricted to test-tube and animal studies. More studies are needed to examine the effects of witch hazel on people.


Animal and test-tube research studies have discovered that witch hazel and its parts might prevent skin cancer development and safeguard against skin damage.

8. Wards off Infection

Some research studies suggest that witch hazel might be useful in fighting specific types of viral infections.

One test-tube study, for instance, found that the tannins in witch hazel displayed antiviral results against both influenza A and human papillomavirus (HPV).

Another test-tube research study revealed that witch hazel extract prevented the activity of herpes simplex infection 1, which is frequently the culprit behind cold sores.

For this reason, witch hazel is typically applied topically as a natural treatment to assist fight cold sores and ease signs.

However although test-tube studies have actually found promising results, human studies are still lacking.

More research studies are needed to take a look at the results of witch hazel and its possible effect on viral infections in healthy grownups.


Test-tube studies show that witch hazel may have antiviral properties and could be helpful versus specific kinds of viral infections. [3]

Few Facts of witch hazel

Witch hazel has actually been used for centuries to naturally help deal with and prevent:.

  • skin sores
  • contusions
  • redness and swelling
  • ingrown hairs
  • psoriasis or eczema
  • oily skin
  • excess sweating
  • varicose veins
  • cracked or blistered skin
  • insect bites
  • poison ivy
  • irritated scalp
  • sunburn and cancer malignancy
  • razor burn
  • mucous membrane swelling
  • piles
  • allergic reactions

Current research studies even reveal that the tannins found in witch hazel might exert a protective action against colon cancer cells.

The skin is our largest and most susceptible organ, so it could use all the support it can get. Skin is our natural barrier to the outside world and offers us with protection against UV radiation, chemicals in our food supply, bacteria and other germs, and toxic wastes.

All of the “stress” that our bodies deal with every day, both internally and externally, appear on our skin in the form of aging, puffiness, infections, swelling and level of sensitivities. That’s why we count on eating and using natural anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories to assist curb swollen and infected cells.

Organic plant treatments for skin conditions have actually been utilized for countless years, and today numerous standard herbs are being reestablished, studied thoroughly and experiencing a resurgence in appeal because many chemical treatments don’t always work or have extreme side effects.

As the authors of the book “Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Elements” mention, increasingly more individuals are turning to making use of herbs for the following factors: the negative effects of chemical drugs, wanting to return to nature, belonging of the green transformation, and wanting to utilize more natural and safe items.

Can you clean your face with witch hazel?

Yes, because it’s a natural cleanser, it’s capable of lowering germs development on the skin and accelerate the time needed to recover infections or scabs.

Another benefit for delicate skin is that it lowers the look of pores (although no item can actually diminish pores) and assists stop excess oil production, sweating, and development of blackheads or whiteheads, which can contribute to breakouts and tempt you to pick at your skin. You can avoid irritating acne products and turn to witch hazel to reduce the seriousness of imperfections forming under the skin and avoid blackheads triggered by dried sebum buildup in pores.

The length of time does witch hazel take to clear acne?

It depends on how extreme someone’s acne is. It might take effect in simply numerous days or take numerous weeks.

Does witch hazel get rid of acne scars?

It can help, due to its anti inflammatory and antioxidant homes. Applying some can help stop swelling and soreness if you currently picked at your acne. It can also curb indications of past irritations and handle skin infections that might arise from choosing.

What does witch hazel do to your face? Does witch hazel fade dark areas? Can it tighten up skin?

If you’re looking for a natural way to firm up your skin and decrease signs of aging like scars, redness, staining, dryness and puffiness around the eyes, then look no more than witch hazel. It tightens up skin and is protective versus skin cancer, melanoma and other damage triggered by UV light because of its protective polyphenols and tannin antioxidants. These prevent the expansion of cancer malignancy cells and help secure healthy skin cells into older age.

Use it to keep your skin free from annoying chemical products that can alter oil production and increase dryness. Witch hazel has been revealed to assist secure collagen and skin flexibility just as well as numerous business charm products. Its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant residential or commercial properties make it a fantastic method to protect skin’s flexibility, conserving your complexion and assisting you deal with the results of environmental stress on your skin. And since using witch hazel for your pores helps them look smaller sized, this can make your skin appear more even.

Deals With Pest Bites

Numerous bug repellents and commercial items used for dealing with insect bites consist of witch hazel. Wondering how to eliminate mosquito bites? Individuals turn to witch hazel to reduce the results of bug bites, such as discomfort and swelling from stings, allergies and irritations.

Particular research studies have discovered that applying witch hazel cream to skin inflammations can curb symptoms just as well as artificial chemical creams, including dexpanthenol, which is typically used to fight skin inflammations in children. It can also be utilized to help speed up healing scabs or small cuts since witch hazel extract consists of isopropyl alcohol, which is another natural disinfecting active ingredient that kills germs and helps avoid infections.

Prevents Ingrown Hairs and Rashes

After shaving, you can use witch hazel to any part of the body to slow bleeding from nicks or cuts, avoid germs development and infections within hair roots, soothe razor burn, and avoid ingrown hairs from forming. Some individuals likewise like to use the toner together with other healing vital oils on skin after waxing to minimize pain, swelling and bleeding.

Stops Ear Infections from Establishing

Because witch hazel is a reliable antibacterial, and “swimmer’s ear” or other ear infections are typically brought on by bacterial infections, it’s a natural way to treat irritations within the ear canal. Witch hazel helps clear up germs overgrowth and infections within the ear; dry up oil, pus and excess sweat; separate wax; and even eliminate smell. To clean up the outside of the ears, use numerous drops to a swab and rub around the inside of the ears.

Protects Your Mouth, Lips and Gums

If you have blisters on your lips, inner cheeks or gums, turn to witch hazel to speed recovery and eliminate discomfort and swelling. It’s safe to apply the extract to the inside of your mouth to decrease bleeding, blisters, sores, bad breath smells and infections of the gums, particularly when integrated with other healing oils like coconut oil or peppermint oil.

Witch hazel likewise assists relieve discomfort from toothaches or teething in babies, avoid infection after dental surgery, and fight bleeding and swelling from mouth sores. [4]

Fun Truths

Witch Hazel is a medicinal plant. The bark and leaves can be utilized to produce a topical astringent.

Witch Hazel branches have been traditionally utilized by dowsers to locate water.

The distinctive petals of witch hazel are temperature delicate; they end up being reflexed when cold and unfurl when warm. [5]

Natural Space Spray

This scented spray is made with only 3 easy components! Provide your linens, bed room, or even the air in your home a revitalizing spritz without utilizing extreme chemicals.

Important oils– extracted from leaves, fruit peels, petals, and other plant parts– capture nature’s subtle scents and can refresh your home. You can blend and match vital oils for a signature fragrance: attempt combinations like wild orange and tea tree, lavender and rose, or clean and basic green tea and cucumber.

What you require


  • Spray bottles
  • Vital oils
  • Pure water
  • Unscented witch hazel
  • Dried flowers

How to do it

  1. Natural space spray
  2. Pour 25 to 30 drops of essential oil in your bottle.
  3. Fill the bottle halfway with witch hazel. (Note: Witch hazel helps the oil and water integrate and will assist the scent stick around for a longer period of time.)
  4. Fill the remainder of the bottle with pure water. This ratio works pretty well no matter the size of the bottle.
  5. Shake bottle to integrate all the components.
  6. Place a sprig of dried flowers and herbs to finish off your aromatic spray. [6]

Witch Hazel Plant Guide: How to Grow Witch Hazel

Witch hazel plants are popular gardening options that include color and fragrance to winter landscaping.

  1. Root your witch hazel. The plant can be grown in pots, but over time (and as it grows), it will require to be rooted in the ground.
  2. Plant witch hazel in acidic, well-draining soil. These low-maintenance plants grow in USDA strength zones 3 through 9 and are tolerant of acidic soil.
  3. Water witch hazel plants in the summer. Witch hazel plants are sensitive to dry spell, so make certain to keep the soil damp with routine watering in hotter months.
  4. Place witch hazel plants in direct sunshine. Too much shade will lead to duller flowers and leggy development, so witch hazel grows finest in full sun or in some cases in partial shade.
  5. Grow witch hazel in cooler winter temperature levels. Witch hazel requires a winter season chill in the milder months to allow complete flowering in late winter season.
  6. Safeguard your plant with fencing. Witch hazel plants are resistant to most bugs and illness. Fencing can avoid roaming deer from eating the leaves.

How to Look After Witch Hazel

Witch hazel is relatively simple to tend to, but follow these suggestions to keep your plant healthy:.

  1. Provide witch hazel space in your garden. If you add other plants to your garden, make certain that they do not block the witch hazel’s sunshine.
  2. Add mulch to your plants for water retention. Mulching around witch hazel can help maintain water and let your plant grow in moist soil.
  3. Prune your witch hazel to keep its shape. These large shrubs can grow over 20 feet tall, so you will require to prune them to keep shape and remove dead branches. When you prune your witch hazel, do so in the past summer strikes so the following year’s buds can establish. Also, prune suckering branches at the base so as not to hamper the plant’s development. [7]

Exist Any Negative Effects Of Witch Hazel?

No, witch hazel does not have any major adverse effects when used on the skin or consumed orally. However, some individuals could experience irritation due to an allergic reaction, so it’s constantly best to do a patch test before you begin utilizing it.

It has actually also been understood to trigger indigestion in some individuals. It’s finest to prevent consuming witch hazel orally in big quantities as it consists of percentages of safrole (a chemical potentially linked to cancer) and tannins (poisonous substances) and could possibly trigger liver problems.

Pregnant and breast feeding women need to also speak with a physician before using or consuming witch hazel.

Witch hazel advantages are originated from its abundant anti-oxidant and astringent homes. It is commonly utilized in skin care items as it might help in reducing acne, recover contusions and sunburns, and relieve cold sores. It has natural anti-aging residential or commercial properties and might help reduce puffy eyes and varicose veins. Additionally, it can assist protect and clean the scalp. However, do not use it exceedingly. It might cause skin irritation or stomach discomfort. Since the safety standards have not been figured out yet, pregnant and breastfeeding females should speak with a physician before taking in witch hazel.

What other drugs communicate with witch hazel?

If your doctor has actually directed you to use this medication for your condition, your medical professional or pharmacist might already be aware of any possible drug interactions or negative effects and might be monitoring you for them. Do not begin, stop, or change the dose of this medication or any medicine before getting further info from your physician, healthcare provider or pharmacist first.

Witch Hazel has no known interactions with other drugs.

This document does not include all possible interactions. Therefore, before using this item, inform your medical professional or pharmacist of all the items you use. Keep a list of all your medications with you, and share the list with your physician and pharmacist. Talk to your doctor if you have health concerns or concerns.

What are warnings and precautions for witch hazel?


This medication contains witch hazel. Do not take Hamamelis virginiana, Tucks Medicated Pads if you are allergic to witch hazel or any ingredients included in this drug.

Stay out of reach of children. In case of overdose, get medical assistance or contact a Toxin Control Center instantly.


Hypersensitivity, oral use.

Effects of Substance Abuse

No information readily available.



Pregnancy and Lactation

Information is not available about use of witch hazel during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Consult your medical professional. [9]

What are the does of witch hazel?

Liquid, External

Generic: (500 mL, 4000 mL, 20000 mL).

Service, External

Generic: 86% (473 mL).

Pad, External



Apply as required.

For external usage just; do not utilize in or around eyes.

When useful, cleanse the affected area with moderate soap and warm water and rinse completely.

Rectal products

Apply rectal wipes by carefully cleaning, patting, and blotting the afflicted area.

Do not put the item into the rectum utilizing fingers or any mechanical device or applicator.


With proper topical application there is no danger of overdose of witch hazel.

Oral overdose of witch hazel can cause nausea and throwing up, and kidney or liver damage. If overdose signs do not fix with discontinuation of witch hazel, look for medical aid or report to Poison Control. [10]

The bottom line

For centuries, people have actually utilized witch hazel to soothe minor skin issues like bug bites, diaper rash, and piles. The treatment comes from a North American shrub. The plant includes chemicals that alleviate soreness, itching, and inflammation.

Witch hazel is one of the few plants that satisfy the FDA’s standards for safety and effectiveness. The FDA has actually only authorized it for topical use on the skin. Swallowing witch hazel might cause queasiness, vomiting, and liver damage. [11]


  1. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/witch%20hazel
  2. https://www.haverford.edu/arboretum/blog/wonders-witch-hazel
  3. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/witch-hazel-benefits-uses#TOC_TITLE_HDR_2
  4. https://draxe.com/nutrition/witch-hazel/#Top_10_Uses_and_Health_Benefits
  5. https://www.bio.brandeis.edu/fieldbio/Wildflowers_Kimonis_Kramer/PAGES/WITCHHAZEL_PAGE_FINAL.html
  6. https://www.marthastewart.com/1526211/natural-room-spray-with-essential-oils
  7. https://www.masterclass.com/articles/witch-hazel-plant-guide
  8. https://www.stylecraze.com/articles/benefits-of-witch-hazel-for-skin-hair-and-health/
  9. https://www.rxlist.com/consumer_witch_hazel_tucks_medicated_pads/drugs-condition.htm
  10. https://www.medicinenet.com/witch_hazel/article.htm
  11. https://www.verywellhealth.com/the-benefits-of-witch-hazel-90061
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