There’s no Hocus Pocus about Witch Hazel…

13 Nov

Witch hazel has been used for years in healing and medicinal remedies. For something so popular, you sure don’t hear about it much. The most commonly seen variety of witch hazel plants in North America are the “hamamelis virginiana”…in case you were waiting for the scientific name. Ha! In truth though they are lovely shrubs that have pretty little yellow flowers with long slender petals. Extract is taken from the leaves and bark to create the witch-hazel astringent. Tannins found naturally in this extract give it the astringent quality.

If you are wondering how it is used for healing purposes think SKIN. If you look through all of your skin care products you’ll probably find that witch hazel is in fact listed on many of the ingredient lists. It is great for acne or oily skin due to its antiseptic and soothing properties. I like to use it around my nose and chin since those areas seem to be more trouble zones for me. What I love though is when you dabble it on with a cotton ball, your skin doesn’t feel like it is going to shrivel off of your face. It actually feels nice and refreshing…a little face wake up call. It also feels good if you use it on irritated, dry, or itchy skin elsewhere. For people with sensitive skin (like myself) you should give it a whirl and see what you think. It is also commonly used for poison ivy, insect bites, hemorrhoids, and perineal irritation in women postpartum. Many women experience hemorrhoids during their pregnancy or postpartum. If you have ever seen or heard of Tucks pads they are used to treat hemorrhoids. Their active ingredient is witch hazel…fancy that, right?! This little gem has been hidden in ingredients right under our nose!

I like using the T.N. Dickinson’s witch hazel astringent. I purchased it at Whole Foods, but I’m sure other stores sell this product or something similar. You can check out Dickinson Brands Inc. for other witch hazel products and a store locator. Laura and I are planning on trying our hand at some more DIY body care product creations this winter and we’ll be sure to add in this soothing ingredient. It is great to have simple multi-purpose products that are so nice and gentle on your skin. Talk about a healing & body care cabinet must have!

Have you used witch hazel before?

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One Response to “There’s no Hocus Pocus about Witch Hazel…”

  1. Jennifer November 13, 2011 at 3:37 pm #

    Gonna have to go get some of this! I’ve used witch hazel before (to help heal a 2nd degree tear after childbirth) and loved it. My midwife gave be a tub of pads that were soaked in witch hazel. I even used them on my husbands foot to ease the discomfort of a really nasty blister.

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