Witch Hazel

Origin: Witch Hazel is a deciduous plant/tree or a shrub. It natively belongs to North America. The tree reaches the height of about 15-20 ft and the leaves are arranged in an alternate manner and are oval in shape. The flowers are in golden or light yellow or dark yellow, they also bloom in orange color, with long, thin petals. 

Scientifically: Scientifically, witch hazel is called Hamamelis Virginiana. It is a genus of flowering plant and belongs to family Hamamelidaceae. 

It is also known as Hazelnut, Snapping Hazel, Tobacco wood, Hamamelis water spotted alder and winter bloom. Witch hazel grows in well-drained soil or around the river banks or the fences. 

The word witch is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word ‘wych’ which means flexible. Native Americans used to use branches to make bow because of their flexibility. 

They used witch hazel bark to treat cuts, skin, itchiness, ulcers, snake bites or insect bites, etc. They also used witch hazel to make tea, to treat internal ailments.

Usage: Witch hazel is a versatile herb and has compounds with powerful medicinal properties. Witch hazel contains gallic acid and tannins which makes it suitable for treating inflammations like acne, eczema, psoriasis. Witch hazel is an excellent astringent and helps in shrinking of a pimple. It is a great natural topical remedy for body skin issues.  It helps in soothing burnt skin or broken skin. Witch hazel is often used as a natural remedy to provide relief from the discomfort and pain caused by hemorrhoids. Witch hazel also works as a natural remedy to relieve symptoms of dandruff and scalp dryness. It helps in reducing itchiness on the scalp.
In ancient times, native Americans used Witch hazel for medicinal purposes.

Witch hazel helps in neutralizing harmful free radicals and prevents the spreading of skin cancer cells. 

How to make witch hazel liquid or astringent at home:
-    Take 1 tablespoon witch hazel bark and 1 cup distilled water.
-    Now in a saucepan, soak witch hazel bark in water for a ½ hour, and then bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, covered, for 10-minutes. Remove from heat, let it steep for another 10 minutes and then let it chill. Once at room temperature, store it a jar. 

Below are some diys using Witch hazel:

-    Take some witch hazel liquid, and apply it over the face using a cotton ball. Let it sit for 15-20 minutes and then rinse. This liquid works as a toner and helps in minimizing pores. This is also effective in treating acne.
-    Take some witch hazel liquid herb and take a fresh aloe vera leaf. Extract the pulp from the leaf and grind it together with the herb. Apply this mixture on the face and let it sit for 15 minutes and then rinse. This mask prevents premature aging of the skin.
-    To heal sunburn, take witch hazel liquid and mix it with fresh aloe vera pulp. Apply this on the affected area for about 10 minutes and then rinse. This helps in soothing and repairing of the skin.
-    Take witch hazel herb and glycerin. Mix them together in equal amounts. Apply this on eczema affected or psoriasis affected area. Rinse after 15 minutes. This helps in reducing redness and itchiness. 
-    To reduce puffiness under the eyes, take some chilled witch hazel liquid and soak two cotton pads in the liquid. Put these cotton pads under the eye for about 15 minutes. Then lightly rinse.