We have all heard of Witch Hazel, usually in the form of an alcohol solution used for facial care. But this healing plant also known as, Hamamelis virginiana, has many other uses beyond just getting rid of those stubborn blackheads on your face.
Witch hazel is actually a very common tree grown in the U.S. Its leaves or roots are used for medicinal purposes. The common name arose as a result of the remarkable medicinal properties of the alcoholic extract from the leaves and bark of the plant, which is used on bruises and inflammations, and as a rubbing lotion. Both the leaves and the bark of witch hazel have beneficial properties. The shrub actually can grow to a height of 12 feet.
Witch Hazel has many healing properties, it is analgesic and antiseptic. Witch hazel can be used as a facial wash and diluted to wash cuts and grazes. Witch Hazel also helps to control diarrhea when taken internally, and it can encourage the health of the digestive tract. Witch hazel soothes swellings, and reduces inflammation and bleeding, internally and externally. Because of its antiseptic qualities it will encourage healing of bruises, sprains, and bleeding hemorrhoids, lets all pray that we never have to use Witch Hazel for that last one.
In order to get the most out of Witch Hazel it must be used correctly. There are a few ways to use Witch Hazel in order to benefit from its healing properties. Drink an infusion of Witch Hazel two or three times daily when trying to deal with inflammation. For example, when treating cases of arthritis, rheumatism, sprains, or bruising. It can also be used for internal bleeding. Apply Witch Hazel externally (as a decoction, tincture, or cream) for the treatment of bruising, hemorrhoids, and even varicose veins. Use it as a compress for sprains and strains. To make an eye wash, dilute one part witch hazel to 20 parts cooled water, make sure that the water has been boiled for about ten minutes to avoid infections. You can also benefit from Witch Hazel by adding it to the bath to reduce the aches and pains of rheumatic conditions. An ointment made from Witch hazel is excellent for use on painful joints, bruising (applied very gently), and local pain.