High tannin content in witch hazel makes it an effective astringent for use on the skin. It is great for bug bites, inflammation, and wound cleaning. Witch hazel is generally safe to use on the skin, but excessive internal use can cause stomach upset or organ toxicity.
Bendable witch hazel twigs were used as divining rods for dowsing in old England times to find underground water, metal, and other precious items.
A few human studies were found demonstrating witch hazel to be a safe and effective herb for atopic dermatitis, skin inflammation, and for treating various children's skin disorders. It may also be helpful for hemorrhoids and varicose veins, but more research is needed. In addition, witch hazel showed antioxidant, antidiabetic, and antimutagenic actions in vitro. Click the button below for a detailed review of research.
Latin Name: Hamamelis virginiana
Witch hazel is a small tree with stunning bright yellow flowers that bloom in the Fall. Bark is ridged, leaves are short ovate shaped and slightly hairy, and fruit is a pod.
The bark, twigs, and leaves are used. Topical use is generally safe. Internal use may be safe in moderation. Commercially bought witch hazel will usually have no tannin content and a higher alcohol content. Read the label.