Witch hazel, also known as Winter Bloom, is a shrub that grows in North America, Europe and Asia and was used by the American Indians for medicinal purposes. Witch hazel is a common ingredient in over-the-counter skincare products and can be used in many different ways. It is most commonly used on swelling, sores and bruises.
Skin Beautification Uses
Witch hazel astringent, applied to pimples and blemishes, is believed to reduce inflammation because of its antiseptic properties. You can use witch hazel towelettes to cleanse the face of dirt and impurities and prevent oily build-up on the skin. Witch hazel is said to smooth wrinkles and, according to the Wise Bread website, witch hazel can aid in the reduction of under-eye bags. Applying witch hazel on the body after showering can prevent dry skin.
Healing and Soothing Uses
Witch hazel can reduce pain and swelling caused by varicose veins. Applying witch hazel-soaked cloths on your varicose veins can bring temporary relief due to tightening of the veins. If you have a sore throat or wounds in the mouth, gargling with witch hazel is believed to ease the pain, clean the wounds and prevent infections. Witch hazel can help relief discomfort from chickenpox blisters, sunburn, cuts and bruises.
Witch hazel taken internally through witch hazel capsules, tablets or tea can help to relieve diarrhoea and stomach flu. Hamamelitannin in witch hazel is believed to stem bleeding by constricting blood vessels including menstrual bleeding. According to the Herbal Extract Plus website, taking witch hazel can also prevent haemorrhages from the nose, uterus, kidneys, lungs and rectum.
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