Yes, shrubs have a purpose other than looking nice, and are more than what Monty Python made shrubbery out to be. And they’re not too expensive. One shrub in particular, witch hazel, has many natural healing properties. OK, so it looks a bit like tiny alien hands growing on a bush, but there’s a lot of uses for this shrub. Witch hazel is best known for its astringency. Astringent properties happen when you sip a nice, dry red wine and it feels like your face is sucking in on itself. What witch hazel does best is provide this astringency. It is a natural anti-inflammatory and can shrink veins and mucous membranes, protect skin, get rid of swelling, relieve irritation, and stop discharge, oozing, and weeping. But not the sad kind of weeping–only the gooey, poison ivy sort of weeping.
In ye olden days, the twigs and bark of witch hazel were boiled to remove its essential oils and natural healing properties. And while the shrub still does grow along the eastern side of the United States, there are stronger distillations of witch hazel available at most local drugstores. It comes in many forms, including creams, lotions, powders, douches, suppositories, wipes, and yes, even medicated pads. From witch hazel acne treatment wipes to medicated witch hazel hemorrhoid pads, this natural remedy heals all ages.
Witch Hazel Benefits
Witch hazel can be used as an acne treatment. Since it’s an astringent, witch hazel can be used to tighten up and dry your skin. This helps get rid of an acne-riddled complexion and make way for clearer skin. Witch hazel will minimize large facial pores, so that means less gunk can get caught in them, which means less acne and less blackheads. The witch hazel will also remove excessive oils from your skin, which will get rid of acne faster and help prevent acne in the future. The natural anti-inflammatory properties of witch hazel will also help reduce the swelling and redness that comes with the most massive of zits.
Witch hazel can also be used to treat hemorrhoids.Natural anti-inflammatory properties of witch hazel can provide much relief for those with hemorrhoids. Not only can it reduce inflammation of a vein, but it can also help soothe the pain that invariably comes with it. Witch hazel can be taken in several forms for this, including lotions, creams, and even suppositories. Pick your poison, as the expression goes, and those natural witch hazel astringent properties will do their magic: reduce that swelling. Just think–no more inner tube at the movies for you!
Diarrhea and bleeding ulcers can be treated with witch hazel tea. Those astringent properties come in handy, particularly when it comes to diarrhea, bleeding ulcers, and general stomach-flu symptoms. So, when your digestive tract is going all wonky, a dose of witch hazel can help get rid of those nasty symptoms. It will help constrict the blood vessels that are bleeding and prevent the mucous membranes from producing excessive mucous, which can irritate the intestines, causing inflammation and diarrhea. Witch hazel can be particularly helpful concerning Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which can be difficult to treat and can truly inhibit a person’s day-to-day lifestyle.
Witch hazel tea can also be used as a laryngitis treatment. Laryngitis is a painful inflammation of the larynx that can cause a sore throat, coughing, swollen lymph nodes, and difficulty swallowing. Ick, right? But the same properties that allow witch hazel to treat hemorrhoids can also help treat laryngitis. Drinking witch hazel tea will reduce swelling and inflammation while helping to provide some pain relief. While the primary cause of laryngitis, such as an infection, may still need to be treated, witch hazel can go a long way to help get rid of a sore throat, raspy cough, and all of the other painful symptoms that accompany laryngitis.
As a topical treatment, witch hazel treats many skin problems like psoriasis, eczema, bruises, and sores. OK, so it won’t cure green skin, but it’ll cure a lot of other things. Use witch hazel as a compress for bruises, sprains, and strains. It will help speed recovery and increase healing, as well as get rid of swelling and inflammation. It will accelerate healing for mild burns. Witch hazel can also help get rid of the swelling, irritation, and occasional discharge that comes with psoriasis and eczema. Many topical remedies containing witch hazel can be found at your local drugstore. And many of these come in the form of lotions, soaps, and skin creams that moisturize dry, flaky skin.
More Uses for Witch Hazel
But wait! There’s more! That’s right, for no additional cost, witch hazel will also treat a variety of other symptoms, maladies, illnesses, aches, skin breaks, contusions, and poo problems. That includes, but is not limited to, insect bites, mild allergic reactions, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, poison ivy, mild burns, scrapes, cuts, cold sores, sore throats, unduly heavy menstrual bleeding, vaginal irritation, bleeding gums, diaper rash, insect stings, swollen and puffy eyes, dry skin, cracked and calloused feet, blisters, nose bleeds, oily skin, and even stinky armpits. Just find the form you need it in–be it powder, cream, suppository or pad, witch hazel is a good treatment for many symptoms.
For the health concerns of the very young to the elderly, witch hazel really does have a lot to offer as one of the oldest natural remedies available in the United States. And, as its name suggests, witch hazel even has properties from before its time as a natural treatment, before the old-wives’ remedies…. Some have said that witch hazel has magical properties and can even heal a broken heart. Personally, I think anything that can get rid of acne, treat hemorrhoids, and relieve PMS doesn’t need magical properties, or be able to heal a broken heart. In fact, it had me at “acne.”
Witch Hazel Products
Dickinson’s All Natural Witch Hazel Astringent for Face and Body. Dickinson’s is a very popular brand of products that use witch hazel. The power of the brand, combined with witch hazel’s popularity for use in fighting acne, and you end up with a strong weapon for fighting facial acne, back, and even body acne. With Dickinson’s, the witch hazel continues to minimize pores, remove excess face and body oil, and get rid of acne.
Thayers Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera Pads. These Thayers Witch Hazel pads contain not only witch hazel but also aloe vera. This provides double-whammy relief for the painful inflammation, redness, swelling, and general irritation that are symptoms of hemorrhoids. In this form, witch hazel can treat the symptoms that you have while also constricting the swollen vein and protecting the irritated skin around the region. Apply topically for relief of symptoms.
Harley Street Witch Hazel Cosmetic Gel. This cosmetic gel is made with witch hazel extract but also contains aloe vera and honey, both of which are known for their skin improving qualities. This particular gel will do all the things any good skin astringent will do and more. It will tighten skin, minimize pores, help remove excess oil, help get rid of acne, and may even be used to help prevent acne scarring.
Witch hazel mixed with alcohol should not be taken internally.
Some witch hazel products mix the essential oils of witch hazel with rubbing alcohol or other non-edible substances. While this may provide excellent relief of topical troubles, like bruises, acne, and hemorrhoids, it should not be ingested. Witch hazel can be taken internally to treat a variety of other medical problems, but keep a close eye on what each product contains and follow the directions closely. That means you shouldn’t eat the witch hazel hemorrhoid pads or try to wipe your eyes with them. Or drink things with rubbing alcohol in them. So, it may sound pretty complicated, but it’s actually quite simple.