Witch Hazel (Hamamelis Virginia)

Written by Rachel Dupree

Witch hazel is a traditional, herbal remedy passed down from Native Americans. Used for hundreds of years, it originates from the extracts of the witch hazel plant. Both the bark and the leaves are highly astringent, though the bark is most often used. Most traditional, natural remedies are distilled from fresh leaves and young twigs and combined with around 14% alcohol as a carrier base. Witch hazel is ideal for inflamed skin conditions, it helps refine pores, minimizes the appearance of blemishes and balances excess oils. It is known to be helpful externally for bruising, sores and swelling. It contains a high level of tannins, which have a drying astringent effect. These cause the skin to tighten, reducing inflammation and promoting the repair of broken skin. Despite popular belief, the herbal solution itself it not drying, it just depends on the percentage of alcohol used in the formulation. It is also cooling; so, it is ideal for the treatment of sunburn and insect bites, as well as refreshing tired or sore eyes.Witch hazel is a traditional, herbal remedy passed down from Native Americans. Used for hundreds of years, it originates from the extracts of the witch hazel plant. Both the bark and the leaves are highly astringent, though the bark is most often used. Most traditional, natural remedies are distilled from fresh leaves and young twigs and combined with around 14% alcohol as a carrier base. Witch hazel is ideal for inflamed skin conditions, it helps refine pores, minimizes the appearance of blemishes and balances excess oils. It is known to be helpful externally for bruising, sores and swelling. It contains a high level of tannins, which have a drying astringent effect. These cause the skin to tighten, reducing inflammation and promoting the repair of broken skin. Despite popular belief, the herbal solution itself it not drying, it just depends on the percentage of alcohol used in the formulation. It is also cooling; so, it is ideal for the treatment of sunburn and insect bites, as well as refreshing tired or sore eyes.
Witch hazel is usually found in bottled liquid form in any drugstore or herbal purveyor. Many manufactured sources may contain a high level of adulterants, so read the labels carefully. Homemade witch hazel is even better. This skin care classic can be used directly as a twice-weekly treatment for very oily and combination skin types.

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