Witch hazel can be used in a variety of ways as it is a plant that has so many strong medicinal properties. Witch hazel can be found in many breeds but there is a type of shrub found in North America called hamamelis virginiana which is used in the US as folk medicine. Parts of witch hazel-like bark and leaves are converted into ointments and teas which are further used as medicines. Witch hazel is commonly applied to the scalp and skin and is popularly known for holding anti-inflammatory properties which eases inflammation and helps in soothing sensitive skin.
It is also used as a natural treatment through herbal teas. Not only this but it is also consumed orally as well in a very little amount for treatment of some conditions.
Below you will see the top eight uses and benefits of witch hazel in real life.
- Decreases skin irritation – Dealing with skin irritation is the most common issue we face every day. It occurs on sensitive skins and is often described as abnormal sensory symptoms.
Due to this type of condition, almost 45% of Americans are affected.
A few suggestions have been given by some research that is, application of witch hazel over the sensitive skin topically can show positive results while treating inflammation caused over the skin, irritation, and cracked skin.
Also, it is beneficial to use witch hazel to conceal erythema up to 27%.
What is erythema?
Erythema is a skin condition in which reddening is caused over your skin due to irritation, itching, or injury.
A study Performed on 40 people has shown that using a cream or lotion which contains 10% extracts witch hazel is effective when it comes to treating erythema or reducing skin inflammation.
Likewise, one other precise study has shown that topical preparation of witch hazel was also effective in giving relief from irritation on facial skin which also means it is powerful when applied on sensitive skin because facial skin is sensitive.
- Relieves inflammation – With hazel has some anti-inflammatory properties that aids in proving relief to inflammation.
Inflammation is a natural response of your body that is caused after irritation or injury. It happens because your body fights the wounds and protects you from severe irritation and injury as severe problems can increase certain diseases in your body.
Witch hazel has so many compounds present in it which have anti-inflammatory properties along with tannins and gallic acid.
The type of antioxidants it contains are helpful in preventing severe inflammation by neutralizing radicals that move freely inside the skin and are responsible for causing disease compounds that can spread too much in your body.
So, we can clearly say that witch hazel has its own amazing benefits which are very useful in treating inflammation issues. For instance, psoriasis, eczema, and acne.
So many studies Prove that topical application of witch hazel even helps in soothing your skin and truly reduces inflammation.
- Helps in treating Hemorrhoids – Witch hazel works like a blessing when it comes to hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids occur due to inflammation and swelling of the veins in your anus and rectum which causes symptoms like bleeding and itchiness. Hemorrhoids cause severe pain and discomfort so preparing a natural witch hazel remedy to get relief from the symptoms can be very beneficial. It can be used directly on the affected area to give soothing effect to your skin by adding to a cotton swab or a piece of cloth.
Research done on witch hazel is very limited it is trusted that witch hazel helps in treating the redness, itching, pain, and swelling with is caused due to hemorrhoids because of its anti-inflammatory properties.
Not only this, but it is also wonderful because it has hemostatic properties as well which means it can help in stopping bleeding which is caused due to hemorrhoids.
As research is limited, more study is required to draw out the true effects of witch hazel on hemorrhoids.
- Prevents acne – Acne makes our lives hard. The only reason that witch hazel fights with acne is because it has anti-inflammatory properties.
Many research says that witch hazel is useful when it comes to treating acne. You can use witch hazel directly after taking steam and cleaning the entire face for best results.
You must have seen people using astringent to clean their skin and makeup residue, it works the same as an astringent which helps in minimizing pores by contracting with your skin tissues. (Trusted Source)
It gives you a soothing feeling while giving you relief from inflammation. It helps in preventing bacteria that cause acne and infects your skin.
Majorly witch hazel is added to many acne products and does justice to people with oily skin because it works like the counter treatment. As research is limited, more study is required to draw out the true effects of witch hazel on acne.
- Alleviates scalp sensitivity – Your scalp can turn sensitive due to many underlying factors but the major reason that it becomes sensitive is when you go through chemical or cosmetic hair treatments for fashion like hair smoothening, hair rebounding and hair coloring. It also becomes sensitive due to dermatological conditions. For instance, psoriasis or seborrheic dermatitis.
You can apply witch hazel over your scalp before going ahead for washing your hair as it will treat sensitivity and give you relief from symptoms like itchy scalp and tenderness.
As per one study, witch hazel shampoo helped in getting relief from the itchy scalp in 1373 people. Witch hazel proved out to be effective in relieving inflammation which also relieves scalp sensitivity caused due to conditions like psoriasis or eczema. (Trusted Source)
People use it as a natural remedy to get relief from symptoms of other scalp conditions like dryness and dandruff.
Nevertheless, more research study is required to draw out the true effects of witch hazel on the treatment of such conditions.
- Soothes sore throat – As we know witch hazel has anti-inflammatory properties and is also used as astringent. Along with these abilities, witch hazel is also used for treating sore throat sometimes.
You can prepare a drink to consume witch hazel. To begin with, boil 5 ml (one teaspoon) of witch hazel in 240 ml (one cup) of water for almost 10 minutes. In addition, gargle using this mixture and you will feel relief.
Furthermore, witch hazel is also helpful in reducing swelling, dry extra mucus which is caused due to sore throat and decreasing pain. Though witch hazel anti-inflammatory properties have done justice to many, it is yet to make it evident for treating sore throats.
For now, the properties resulting in treating sore throats are totally dependent upon anecdotal evidence. A major level of research is required before considering witch hazel for use on sore throats.
In conclusion, it is recommended not to consume witch hazel directly because consuming witch hazel orally can cause stomach irritation as it has a very high tannin amount.
As it is said, prevention is better than cure, one must avoid consuming witch hazel directly. For further queries regarding the same, you can consult your doctor.
- Works as protection against skin damage – Witch hazel has high content of tannins present in it. It is a natural plant compound which holds impactful properties like antioxidant properties and anti-inflammatory properties. These properties help you in protecting your skin and thus prevents your skin from any type of damage when witch hazel is applied over the top.
A study has been performed on animals that say that tannins are a type of barrier which protects skin from inflammatory substances which damage your skin. It stops them from entering your skin cells.
One other study that is a test tube study says that to neutralize harmful free radicals and stop your kin from forming skin cancer cells, using witch hazel can be a great choice.
Likewise, another research shows that mice with skin tumors were exposed to radiation of witch hazel which helped in slowing the spread of the skin tumor.
Nevertheless, as the research is limited, researchers need to work more to consider the witch hazel effective for humans.
- Wards of infection – Many studies have said that using witch hazel have been helpful in treating some types of viral infections. For instance, a test tube study said that it has seen that the number of tannins in witch hazel has antiviral properties which worked for treating both human papillomavirus (HPV) and influenza A.
Likewise, some other test-tube studies said that they found the extract of herpes simplex virus 1 in witch hazel which is the reason hidden behind cold sores. Only due to this reason it is recommended to use witch hazel topically in natural form because applying it naturally helps in fighting cold sores and gives the utmost relief from its symptoms.
Nevertheless, we cannot rely upon these test-tube studies as the human study is still at a lower rate so before talking about the effects of witch hazel on viral infections, more research is required.
How To Safely Use of Witch Hazel?
Not everyone shows the side effects of witch hazel because it is a product that comes up with minimal risk properties.
You can use witch hazel ointment directly in a topical form for treating hemorrhoids but before applying it do take a test in a small area of your skin as few people go through itching and irritation after applying witch hazel on skin.
If you consume it orally make sure you consume only 3-4 spoons of witch hazel mixed in water in a day otherwise it will cause stomach irritation and may make you feel like puking.
Therefore, it is recommended to use a small amount of witch hazel in whatever way you use it.
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