December 23, 2012

What is Witch Hazel – 10 Amazing Uses & Benefits

Witch hazel, also known as winterbloom or spotted alder, is actually a flowering shrub common in North America. The leaves, bark, and twigs of witch hazel are high in tannins. Tannins are found in any natural astringent because of their ability to tighten, dry and harden tissues. The witch hazel water you can buy for $2 at any any drugstore is actually a steam distillation of the bark, leaves, and twigs of the shrub itself.
Witch hazel (the astringent) has a wonderfully clean smell that’s hard to describe.
Native Americans have been using witch hazel water as a medical astringent for centuries. And with good reason.
The wonderful thing about witch hazel is that it’s 100% natural, and cheap too. Because it has so many uses, it’s a great addition to any medicine cabinet.

Witch Hazel Uses & Benefits 

1. Treat Acne

You don’t need to waste money on harsh chemical toners that claim to “zap your acne to bits.” Witch hazel is an effective, gentle, and natural way to treat acne or oily skin.

2. Reduce Puffiness
If your eyes are puffy from crying or lack of sleep (or both), then soak two small cotton pads with witch hazel and put them over your eyes. Witch hazel is famous for shrinking blood vessels (which is why it’s one of the main ingredients in Preparation H cream).

3. Cure a Sore Throat
If you’re lucky enough to have a witch hazel bush growing nearby, you can easily make witch hazel tea by soaking some leaves and twigs in a cup of very hot water. Add a few cloves for flavor and soak for at least 15 minutes. Then, strain off the solids and gargle with the tea. Because of witch hazel’s ability to soothe and reduce swelling, this is an excellent, ancient remedy for sore throats. Consider adding it to your arsenal of the best natural cold and flu remedies at home.

4. Reduce the Appearance of Varicose Veins
Soak a thin cloth in witch hazel and lay it on your varicose veins. Applied daily, this is a natural (and cheap) way to reduce the appearance of varicose veins.

5. Heal a Bruise
Witch hazel is amazing when it comes to healing bruises. Again, soak a thin cloth in witch hazel and apply it to your bruise several times a day until the bruise is gone. Your shiner will be gone a lot quicker if you use witch hazel to speed the healing process.

6. Cleanse and Soothe a Wound
There’s a good reason why many tattoo artists cleanse a brand new tattoo with witch hazel. The reason is because it cleanses the skin of germs and bacteria, and also soothes inflammation. You can use witch hazel to cleanse any wound or scrape, big or small.

7. Stop an Itch
If you’re trying not to scratch anything, from chicken pox to poison ivy to a sunburn, soak a cloth or cotton ball with witch hazel and rub it on your skin. Witch hazel works awesome for soothing itchy skin.

8. Refresh Skin
Witch hazel is as a simple skin refresher in the summer.Use it to cleanse the oil, dirt and impurities fromskin.

9. Refine Pores
  Witch hazel is a wonderful way to tighten up large pores.

10. Seal in Moisture
Although witch hazel does remove oils from your skin, it won’t dry it out like other commercial astringents. When you use witch hazel right after a shower it will actually help seal in moisture, which is wonderful if you have dry skin in the winter months.

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