Regarded by many as a bathroom commodity, there’s no doubt you’ve heard of (and perhaps even purchased) witch hazel.
And the popularity is not by happenstance - oh, no - witch hazel is one of the most effective natural ingredients in caring for the skin. In fact, it is approved by the FDA as one of the only medicinal plants used as a non-prescription drug ingredient. Pretty rad, huh?
With such an abundance of uses, it comes as no surprise a bottle of this goodness can be found under almost every bathroom counter. Historically, it has been applied to reduce swelling and inflammation, treat skin ulcers and sore, soothe sore muscles, and stop internal bleeding. Today it is used widely to treat skin issues such as acne and varicose veins, among the many traditional uses.
Also known as the Spotted Alder, Winterbloom, or Snapping Hazelnut, the extracts from its leaves, bark, and twigs are utilized for the plant’s known anti inflammatory, antioxidant, and astringent properties.
Witch hazel extracts from its leaves, barks, and twigs are utilized for the plant’s known antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and astringent properties. The leaves are rich in gallic acid, tannic acids, and volatile oil. The bark contains tannic, gallic acid, resin, fat, and odorous bodies.
The constituents of witch hazel have been proven to protect cells from oxidative damage, prevent skin disorders, reduce healing time, promote healthy looking skin by effectively renewing cells, stimulating collagen and elastin production, and inhibiting excessive melanin synthesis.
If witch hazel is not currently part of your skincare arsenal, after reading the above, I’ll guess it will be shortly. Let’s now discuss some ways to put your witch hazel to use.
Witch Hazel To Treat Acne
Acne comes from the buildup of oil and dirt on the skin, most commonly on the face, but also on areas such as the neck, back, and shoulders. By applying witch hazel to the affected part, it can remove excess oil and prevent further growth of bacteria and pimples. With regular use it will help clear the skin from such impurities.
Witch hazel works as a remedy against the signs of skin aging from UV-ray exposure. Not only does it protect the skin as an antioxidant, it reinvigorates skin elasticity and reverses the inflammatory effects of the sun. Studies have also shown the power it has at reducing erythema from UV-exposed skin.
Witch Hazel Promotes Healthy Hair and Scalp
By removing excessive oil from the scalp and hair, a host of conditions (like dandruff and dull hair) are alleviated. A recent study shows how witch hazel is beneficial in the treatment of irritated and inflamed skin for those with sensitive scalps. Apply generously to clean hair, then rinse thoroughly, or you may purchase a quality shampoo containing the ingredient.
Witch Hazel for Treating Insect Bites
Combined with jojoba oil, witch hazel is a fantastic all natural insect repellent. Jojoba oil mimics the molecular structure of sebum (skin's natural oil) and the combination will glide on smoothly and comfortably. If you find yourself with a bite though, witch hazel can reduce inflammation and pain from bug bites, bee stings, poison oak, and poison ivy. To use, simply soak a cotton ball and applied directly to the affected area.
Treat Cuts and Bruises With Witch Hazel
As mentioned earlier, witch hazel speeds recovery time. Apply to scratches, cuts, and bruises to heal quickly and prevent scarring or pigmentation.
Promote Shiny Smelly-Good Pet Hair with Witch Hazel
Since the plant extract is mild enough for pets, the same properties can be used to prevent bacteria from building up on their skin. This includes its cleansing properties that can help them from getting wounds or infections and even keep them odor-free.
As always with us over here at Wild Foods, quality is of the utmost importance. We know that many of you are DIYers, and so we want to send you off with a simple how to for making your own witch hazel recipes.
Witch Hazel Recipes
Topical Astringent Recipe
Soak 1 TBSP witch hazel bark in distilled water for 30 minutes, then bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, covered, for 10 minutes, then remove from heat. Let steep for another 10 minutes. When cool, strain and bottle. Will keep in the refrigerator for about 3 weeks.
Apply to cuts, bruises, varicose veins, acne, skin bites, inflamed skin, and various other conditions with a soaked cotton ball.
Witch Hazel Tea
Steep 1 TSP dried herb in 8 ounces of boiling water for 10 minutes, then let stand for 30-45 minutes. Add honey and lemon for taste!