Witch hazel is a small tree native to the east coast of North America. Many people use it as a decorative outdoor plant.
In this article, learn about the possible benefits of witch hazel, as well as how to use it and whether there are any side effects.
Uses and benefits
Witch hazel is an astringent. People commonly use it topically, meaning they apply it directly to the skin.
Witch hazel may help treat the following conditions:
Witch hazel may help heal hemorrhoids, which are dilated veins in the anus or rectum. Hemorrhoids can cause irritation, bleeding, and discomfort.
While there is not enough evidence to prove it is effective, some people get relief by adding witch hazel to a bath. This may be due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Similarly to sunburn, bug bites and stings can cause swelling and inflammation. Applying witch hazel to the bite may reduce itching and discomfort.
Witch hazel has anti-inflammatory properties, which may help reduce discomfort from sunburn.
People can use a cloth or cotton ball to apply witch hazel directly to sunburn.
It may be especially soothing if a person mixes witch hazel with aloe vera, which is another plant and anti-inflammatory agent.
Some people apply witch hazel to pregnancy stretch marks in an effort to lighten them and make them less noticeable. However, there is no research to support this use.
The astringent properties of witch hazel cause the skin to tighten and small blood vessels to constrict, which may help stop bleeding from minor cuts or nosebleeds.
Witch hazel is safe for most people to use as an at-home treatment for some common skin issues.
Some people may have an allergic reaction to witch hazel, so it is best to test it first on a small patch of skin and monitor it for 24 hours. If there is no redness, itching, or irritation, it should be safe to apply to a larger area.
Witch hazel can be a great addition to an at-home medicine cabinet and is usually well-tolerated. It is safe for most people to use for certain skin conditions, even if the research has not yet proven its effectiveness scientifically.
However, using home remedies such as witch hazel cannot replace advice from a doctor or other healthcare provider.
If using witch hazel as a remedy does not work or the condition gets worse, it is vital that people consult their doctor for further advice.
Witch hazel is available in some pharmacies, health food stores, and online.
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