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The 7 Unexpected Ways Witch Hazel Can Improve Your Health

The 7 Unexpected Ways Witch Hazel Can Improve Your Health

Ever heard of witch hazel? This seemingly ordinary shrub holds incredible medicinal powers that have been revered for centuries. From its magical ability to soothe and heal the skin to its remarkable impact on oral health and beyond, witch hazel is truly a hidden gem. In this article, you’re going to discover the top 7 witch hazel health benefits that will leave you spellbound and eager to harness its potent powers.

Witch Hazel Summary

Nutrient name:Witch Hazel
Nutrient picture:Witch Hazel Plant
Origin:Eastern North America and Eastern Asia
Other names:Snapping hazel,
Spotted alder,
Striped alder,
Hamamelis virginiana,
Supplements that contain this nutrient:Metanail Serum Pro For Glowing Skin & Nails.
Main benefits:Skin Health,
Treatment for Hemorrhoids,
Oral Health,
Anti-inflammatory Properties,
Nail and Feet Care,
Scalp Health,
Anti-aging Properties.
Related nutrients:Japanese Witch Hazel
Chinese Witch Hazel

What is Witch Hazel?

What is Witch Hazel

Witch hazel, scientifically known as Hamamelis virginiana, is a flowering shrub native to North America. It belongs to the Hamamelidaceae family and has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties. Hamamelis virginiana is known for its astringent and anti-inflammatory properties, making it a popular ingredient in various skincare products.

Witch hazel’s therapeutic potential doesn’t stop at skincare. This versatile plant has been used traditionally for treating a variety of health conditions. Its bark, leaves, and twigs are processed into a liquid form that’s used not just topically, but also ingested for various ailments. Its active ingredients, such as tannins, flavonoids, and volatile oils, contribute to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and astringent properties. This makes this shrub a beloved natural remedy across different cultures.

Other Witch Hazel Names

Witch hazel is also commonly referred to as

  • Snapping hazel,
  • Spotted alder,
  • Striped alder,
  • Hamamelis virginiana,
  • Beadwood.

The History of Witch Hazel and its Origins

The use of witch hazel dates back centuries to Native American tribes who recognized its medicinal properties. They used the bark, leaves, and twigs of the witch hazel plant to create poultices and teas to treat various ailments. It’s name is believed to have originated from the Old English word “wice” meaning pliant or bendable, as the branches of the shrub were often used to create divining rods.

According to historical records, the early settlers also utilized the leaves of Hamamelis virginiana to brew tea for medicinal purposes. Presently, witch hazel finds its application in a wide range of products, such as ointments, soaps, and lotions. The name for this shrub has its roots in history. Indigenous people and early settlers utilized this shrub as a means to locate subterranean water sources.

During their surveying expeditions, they would carry a forked or bent branch of witch hazel, which acted as a divining rod. They believed that by observing any twisting or dipping of the branch, they could detect the presence of water. This age-old practice, referred to as “water-witching,” eventually led to the plant being commonly known as witch hazel. Today, Hamamelis virginiana is widely used in many cultures for its varied health benefits.

Witch Hazel Nutritional Profile

While Hamamelis virginiana is not typically consumed as a food, it does contain several beneficial compounds. The extract of Hamamelis virginiana contains tannins, flavonoids, and volatile oils. These compounds contribute to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Hamamelis virginiana leaves contain a variety of beneficial polyphenols, which are the main phytochemicals found in them. These include:

  • Tannins ( 3–10%)

  • Flavonoids

  • Essential oil (0.5%)

Additional components found in the extract include kaempferol, quercetin, isomers of chlorogenic acid, and hydroxycinnamic acids. The volatile oil contains trace amounts of safrole and eugenol, along with various other minor constituents such as resin, wax, and choline.

Source: Drugs

The Top 7 Witch Hazel Health Benefits For Your Health

Skin Health

Witch hazel is widely known for its benefits in maintaining healthy skin. It helps to reduce inflammation, soothe irritation, and prevent acne breakouts. Studies show that the astringent properties of witch hazel help to tighten the skin and reduce the appearance of pores. It can also be used to treat conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis. If you suffer from dry skin, applying witch hazel can help to reduce oiliness and restore moisture. You can also use it to relieve inflammation and irritation from sunburns and insect bites.

That’s why Metanail Serum Pro, a natural serum, uses Witch Hazel in its formula. This plant enables the other natural ingredients in Metanail Serum Pro to glow your skin and boost its health to the optimal level. Plus, that works for nails too!

Treatment for Hemorrhoids

One of the most common uses of Hamamelis virginiana is in the treatment of hemorrhoids. According to ongoing research, Witch hazel extract has a cooling and soothing effect on irritated skin, relieving itching, swelling, and discomfort associated with hemorrhoids. It can be applied topically or used in the form of medicated pads. Are you suffering from hemorrhoids? Witch hazel may be the answer.

Oral Health

Hamamelis virginiana can also contribute to oral health. Studies show that it possesses antimicrobial properties that can help combat bacteria in the mouth, reducing the risk of gum disease and tooth decay. Additionally, it can be used as a mouthwash to alleviate sore throats and mouth ulcers. Those who suffer from canker sores can find relief with extract from this plant.

Anti-inflammatory Properties

Thanks to its high content of tannins, it exhibits potent anti-inflammatory properties, research shows. It can help reduce redness and swelling associated with inflammatory skin conditions such as acne, sunburn, and razor burns. Witch hazel can also be used to calm insect bites and stings. If you suffer from joint inflammation due to arthritis or tendonitis, applying compress with its extract can reduce pain and stiffness. It can also be used to alleviate the symptoms of colds and other respiratory ailments.

Nail and Feet Care

Witch hazel can be beneficial for nail and feet care as well. Some reports have shown that its astringent properties help to strengthen weak nails and prevent nail infections. It can also be used to soothe tired and achy feet, reducing swelling and odor. If, for example, you spend long hours on your feet, applying lotion or cream with the Hamamelis virginiana extract can help to keep the skin soft and supple.

Scalp Health

Reports from beauty experts also show that Hamamelis virginiana can be used to promote a healthy scalp. It helps to balance oil production, preventing greasy hair and scalp conditions such as dandruff. This extract can be applied directly to the scalp or added to shampoos and conditioners. You can also use it to treat scalp infections and soothe itchiness.

Anti-aging Properties

Witch hazel is rich in antioxidants that help protect the skin from free radical damage, which can accelerate the aging process. According to some reports, regular use of Hamamelis virginiana can help reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots, promoting a more youthful and radiant complexion. You can use it to hydrate the skin, reduce redness and puffiness, and even out skin tone.

How To Use Witch Hazel?

Witch Hazel Toner

One popular way to use witch hazel is as a facial toner. Mix equal parts distilled witch hazel extract and water, and apply it to your face using a cotton pad. This toner can help balance the skin’s pH, tighten pores, and remove excess oil.

Witch Hazel Cream

Hamamelis virginiana is also available in the form of creams and ointments. Apply witch hazel cream directly to the affected area to soothe skin irritations, insect bites, or burns. Make sure to follow the instructions provided on the product packaging.

Direct Application

For specific skin concerns or spot treatments, you can apply Hamamelis virginiana directly to the affected area using a cotton swab. This method is beneficial for treating acne breakouts or insect bites.

Witch Hazel in Foods and Drinks

While witch hazel is not commonly consumed as a food or beverage, some herbal teas may contain witch hazel as an ingredient. It is important to note that consuming large amounts of witch hazel can be toxic, so it is best to stick to external applications or products specifically designed for oral use.

Top 3 Witch Hazel Supplements for Enhanced Overall Health

For those who are looking to increase their intake of witch hazel, there are several supplements available on the market. These supplements can help boost your overall health and provide you with numerous benefits. Here are three of the top Hamamelis virginiana supplements:

Dickinson’s Original Witch Hazel Pore Perfecting Toner

Dickinson’s Original Witch Hazel Pore Perfecting Toner is a natural astringent that helps to cleanse and tone the skin. It helps to remove excess sebum, dirt, and impurities from deep within the pores without over-drying skin. It also helps to reduce inflammation and redness.

Dickinson’s Original Witch Hazel Pore Perfecting Toner Main Benefits:

  • Helps to Unclog and Tighten Pores: It helps to reduce pore size by absorbing excess oil.

  • Helps to Reduce Inflammation and Redness: It has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce swelling, itching, and discomfort.

  • Soothes Skin Irritations: It helps to soothe minor skin irritations such as sunburns and insect bites.

Dickinson’s Original Witch Hazel Pore Perfecting Toner Price:

At $4.94 for 8 fl oz, Dickinson’s Original Witch Hazel Pore Perfecting Toner is a great value for money.

THAYERS Alcohol-Free, Hydrating Original Witch Hazel Facial Toner

THAYERS Alcohol-Free, Hydrating Original Witch Hazel Facial Toner is a gentle astringent that can help to refresh and soothe the skin while removing oil, dirt, and makeup residue. It contains aloe vera which helps to keep the skin hydrated. Additionally, this facial toner is free of alcohol which makes it suitable for sensitive skin types.

THAYERS Alcohol-Free, Hydrating Original Witch Hazel Facial Toner Main Benefits:

  • Cleanses and Refreshes the Skin: It helps to cleanse and refresh the skin without drying it out.

  • Hydrates and Soothes Sensitive Skin: The aloe vera formula is gentle enough for sensitive skin, helping to hydrate and soothe any irritation.

  • Cleanses 100%: This product also helps to remove any leftover makeup residue, dirt, and oil from the skin.

THAYERS Alcohol-Free, Hydrating Original Witch Hazel Facial Toner Price:

At $11.25 for 12 fl oz, this product is great value for money.

Amazon Basics Witch Hazel USP Astringent

Amazon Basics Witch Hazel USP Astringent is a natural astringent that helps to cleanse and tighten the pores while also helping to reduce redness and inflammation. It is free of alcohol, parabens, and sulfates which makes it suitable for those with sensitive skin.

Amazon Basics Witch Hazel USP Astringent Main Benefits:

  • Unclogs and Tightens Pores: It helps to reduce the size of pores and absorb excess oil.

  • Reduces Inflammation: It has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce redness, swelling, and itchiness.

  • Soothes Skin Irritations: This product is beneficial for treating a minor skin irritation such as sunburns, or even insect bites.

Amazon Basics Witch Hazel USP Astringent Price:

At $5.10 for 16 fl oz, Amazon Basics Witch Hazel is an affordable option.

Risks of Consuming Witch Hazel (Side Effects)

While witch hazel is generally safe for external use, there are some potential risks associated with consuming it. It contains a compound called safrole, which has been linked to liver damage and cancer in animal studies. It is essential to use Hamamelis virginiana products as directed and avoid ingesting them unless under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

Witch Hazel vs. Other Similar Plants

Witch Hazel vs. Japanese Witch Hazel

Japanese witch hazel, also known as Hamamelis japonica, is a closely related species to the American witch hazel. While they share similar properties, Japanese witch hazel is known for its larger, fragrant flowers. Both plants are used for their medicinal benefits and have overlapping uses.

Witch Hazel vs. Chinese Witch Hazel

Chinese witch hazel, scientifically known as Hamamelis mollis, is another species within the witch hazel family. It is native to China and is valued for its ornamental flowers and foliage. Chinese witch hazel also possesses medicinal properties and is used in traditional Chinese medicine.

Witch Hazel: Conclusion

Witch hazel is a versatile plant with numerous health benefits. From skincare to oral health and beyond, it has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties. Whether you’re looking to improve your skin, alleviate discomfort, or promote overall well-being, witch hazel can be a valuable addition to your natural health regimen.

If you’re considering adding Hamamelis virginiana products to your self-care routine, make sure to speak with a healthcare professional first. They can help determine the best dosage and frequency of use as well as answer any questions you may have. Additionally, it is important to read product labels carefully before using any supplements. With that in mind, you can start reaping the benefits of this beneficial plant today.

FAQs About Witch Hazel

Who should not use witch hazel?

While witch hazel is generally safe for most people, individuals with sensitive skin may experience irritation. It is recommended to perform a patch test before using extract from this plant on a larger area of the skin. Those who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid using any witch hazel supplements without consulting a healthcare professional. Additionally, due to the presence of safrole in Hamamelis virginiana, it is not recommended to consume it orally unless under medical supervision.

Why do you wipe with witch hazel?

Witch hazel can be used for gentle cleansing and soothing after bowel movements, particularly in cases of hemorrhoids or anal fissures. It helps to reduce inflammation and provide relief from discomfort. Additionally, it helps to cleanse and tighten the pores while controlling oil production. It can be used as a natural alternative for those looking to avoid harsh chemicals or fragrances found in commercial wipes.

What happens if I get witch hazel in my eye?

If witch hazel comes into contact with your eyes, it may cause irritation and discomfort. Rinse your eyes thoroughly with water and seek medical attention if the irritation persists. Additionally, it is important to keep witch hazel products away from children and pets to avoid accidental ingestion or contact with the eyes.

What should you use witch hazel for?

Witch hazel can be used for various purposes, including skincare, oral health, nail and feet care, scalp health, and as a natural astringent. It is known for its anti-inflammatory and soothing properties. It can also be beneficial for treating several skin conditions such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis. Additionally, it helps to reduce redness and irritation associated with sunburns and bug bites. It is also helpful in alleviating pain from hemorrhoids or anal fissures due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

When should you not use witch hazel?

Avoid using witch hazel on open wounds or broken skin, as it may cause further irritation. If you have any underlying skin conditions or allergies, consult with a healthcare professional before using this supplement. Additionally, individuals who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not use this extract without consulting a doctor. Finally, avoid consuming Hamamelis virginiana orally unless under medical supervision due to the presence of safrole in the plant.

Can you use witch hazel on open wounds?

It is generally not recommended to use witch hazel on open wounds, as it may delay the healing process. It is best to consult with a healthcare professional for appropriate wound care. Hamamelis virginiana may cause further irritation and discomfort, so it is important to proceed with caution when using it on open wounds. Additionally, individuals who are allergic to witch hazel or other plants in the Hamamelis family should avoid using it altogether. It is essential to read product labels carefully and use them as directed.