Witch hazel is one of those age old multipurpose remedies that tend to go forgotten as newer, more enticing (and often more expensive) natural folk remedies come into vogue. The witch hazel shrub is native to North America, and its leaves and bark are used to make witch hazel solutions or “hydrosols”. It’s still a really effective multi-purpose home remedy to keep on hand as it really can come in handy for a multitude of practical and naturally medicinal uses.
Excellent as a non-drying skin toner
Known for its naturally astringent, anti-bacterial and anti-yeast properties, its most common uses are to help tone the skin after washing, helping to seal the pores and pick up any excess dirt or debris on the skin without drying the skin. Using it daily as a toner after washing the face can help to diminish blackheads and prevent the beginnings of new blemishes because it helps get the pores cleaned out more effectively. Cleaner, bacteria-free pores mean less breakouts.
A lot of people love the feeling and effect of a toner, but they can’t use traditional toners because they are drying. As long as you choose an alcohol free version of a witch hazel solution, you shouldn’t have this issue. Most people who use it report that it doesn’t leave their skin feeling tight like other toners can tend to do, but still gives them that final sweep that eliminates any leftover pore-clogging.
Not only can you benefit from the anti-itching and soothing benefits of witch hazel (again, alcohol free always works best), but often times people use witch hazel for dogs and infants that have allergies or tend to get itchy, dry skin or rashes a lot. You can mix it with aloe juice to make a soothing anti-itch solution as well. It can also soothe healing burns and other abrasions that start to get itchy during the healing process.
Witch hazel can also be used to help soothe an itchy or irritated scalp. It is often used to help treat psoriasis and dandruff due to its astringent quality, and helps to quell uncomfortable itch and irritation caused by these two common scalp issues. You can mix a solution of about half distilled water and half witch hazel to make a rinse, or spray it directly on the scalp, massaging it in and leaving it on for a few minutes before rinsing.
Helps control bleeding, bruising
Witch hazel is a vasoconstrictor, which means it will help to contract tissues, and can help to stave bleeding, and help prevent blood from coming to the surface of the skin.
What does this particular property mean? Well, witch hazel can be extremely useful in helping prevent long-present bruises with regular application since it helps prevent the blood from pooling too much near the surface of the skin.
It also helps constrict blood vessels and exposed tissues, so it has long been used in the relief of hemorrhoids. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, so it helps soothe inflamed tissues, and can be incredibly effective at helping relieve the pain, itching and irritation frequently felt by hemmorrhoid sufferers.
Naturally soothe and help treat bug bites, poison ivy
Witch hazel is a great natural remedy for bug bits and poison ivy, so it’s a great resource to keep on hand in the summer time, especially if you have kids. The astringent quality helps to soothe it and pull the irritant out of the skin, and the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant constituents of witch hazel including but not limited to flavonoids, catechins and saponins aid in fast healing and reduced tissue irritation.
Danna Norek owns AuraSensory.com, where you can find a variety of natural haircare, skincare and personal care products including a best selling sulfate free Natural Shine Enhancing Shampoo with citrus oils and Deep Hydration Conditioner.
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