Witch hazel is a plant with powerful medicinal properties that can be used in a variety of ways. There are many species of witch hazel, but Hamamelis virginiana,
a type of shrub native to North America, is most commonly used in folk medicine in the US. The leaves and bark are made into teas and ointments. Most often applied to the skin and scalp, witch hazel is widely known for its ability to ease inflammation and soothe sensitive skin.
Here are the top 8 benefits and uses of witch hazel.
1. Relieves Inflammation
Inflammation is a normal immune response designed to protect your body against injury and infection. However, chronic inflammation is thought to play a central role in the development of certain diseases.
Witch hazel contains many compounds with potent anti-inflammatory properties, including gallic acid and tannins. It also contains antioxidants that help prevent widespread inflammation and neutralize free radicals, which are disease-causing compounds that can build up in your body.
Therefore, witch hazel could have far-reaching benefits and may be useful in the treatment of inflammatory-related issues, such as acne, eczema or psoriasis.
2. Reduces Skin Irritation
Some research suggests that applying witch hazel topically to sensitive skin may be beneficial in the treatment of inflamed, irritated or broken skin. One study in 40 people found that using a lotion with as little as 10% witch hazel extract was effective in reducing skin inflammation and treating erythema.
Similarly, another small study found that a topical preparation containing witch hazel was able to provide relief for sensitive or irritated facial skin. Summary Witch hazel may help reduce skin redness and provide relief for irritated and sensitive skin.
3. Helps Treat Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids are caused by the swelling and inflammation of the veins in your rectum and anus, resulting in symptoms, such as itchiness and bleeding. Witch hazel is often used as a natural remedy to provide relief from the discomfort and pain caused by hemorrhoids. It€™s typically added to a cloth or cotton ball and applied directly to the affected area to soothe the skin.
Though research is limited, witch hazel is believed to help treat the itching, redness, pain and swelling associated with hemorrhoids due to its anti-inflammatory effects. What€™s more, it has hemostatic properties, meaning that it may stop bleeding caused by hemorrhoids. Summary Witch hazel is often used to reduce the itching, redness, pain, bleeding and swelling associated with hemorrhoids. More studies are needed to evaluate its effectiveness.
4. Fights Acne
Thanks to its powerful anti-inflammatory properties, some research suggests that witch hazel could be useful in the treatment of acne. It can be applied directly to your face after cleansing or steaming for maximum effectiveness. It acts as an astringent, causing your tissues to contract to help shrink pores, while also soothing your skin and relieving inflammation.
This may prevent acne-causing bacteria from infecting your skin. For this reason, witch hazel is commonly added to many over-the-counter acne products and is especially useful for individuals with oily skin. Summary Witch hazel acts as an astringent to help shrink your pores, soothe your skin and reduce inflammation. More research is needed to determine the effects of witch hazel itself on acne.
5. Alleviates Scalp Sensitivity
Scalp sensitivity can be caused by a number of factors, ranging from cosmetic hair treatments to dermatological conditions, such as psoriasis or seborrheic dermatitis. Applying a bit of witch hazel to your scalp before washing your hair may help treat scalp sensitivity and provide relief from symptoms, such as itching and tenderness.
Witch hazel may also help relieve inflammation, which could be useful in reducing scalp sensitivity caused by conditions like psoriasis or eczema. It€™s also sometimes used as a natural remedy to relieve symptoms of other scalp problems, such as dandruff and dryness.
However, additional research is needed to evaluate the effectiveness of witch hazel in the treatment of these conditions.