The Wonders of Witch Hazel – A Must Have for Your First Aid Preparations
Witch Hazel has been used medicinally by the American Indians and is found in many commercial health products. The leaves and bark are used to produce a strong anti-oxidant and astringent that can be used on sores, bruises, and swelling.
Why do I recommend it for your First Aid Cabinet? It has astringent, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antibacterial, antifungal, and anesthetic properties, making it a helpful ingredient for many different medicinal preparations. It easily takes on the properties of any herbs that you may want to infuse it with.
CAUTION: Witch Hazel is only safe when taken externally.
As a beneficial astringent for all skin types, Witch Hazel is often used:
- as an aftershave,
- to cleanse oils from the skin,
- to remove make-up,
- to decrease bags under eyes and skin puffiness,
- reduce pore size – it works great on blemishes
- to minimize varicose veins
Medicinally, Witch Hazel extract is often applied as a compress to assist with minor injuries and bruises. Make simple witch hazel wipes.
- Mix 1/4 a cup of witch hazel
- 3-4 drops of lavender essential oil in a jar with a tight lid.
- Add a few cotton swabs at a time, to the mixture, until they are just moistened.
- Go for a wet but not dripping consistency
Use your wipes on, skin irritations, insect bites, hemorrhoids, rashes from poison ivy or oak, localized inflammations, and other conditions.
Add witch hazel (infused or not) to your bath water after a workout to help relieve muscle soreness.
Herb Infused Witch Hazel
You can make an herbal infused witch hazel blend as a facial toner. Be creative and choose one of these herbs to infuse, or create a blend; all these herbs will benefit your skin:
- Elder flowers,
- Lavender Flowers,
- Lemon Balm,
- Lemon Peel,
- Lemon Verbena,
- Orange Peel,
- Rose petals,
- Rosemary, or
Here’s How to do it:
1. Place a cup of dried herbs in a glass jar that has a tight lid, and cover the herbs completely with the Witch Hazel. Make sure that the liquid covers the herbs by at least an inch to account for swelling of the dried herbs. As the dried herbs expand you may need to add more Witch Hazel until they are fully covered.
2. Cap tightly and place in a cool, dark place. I have an “herbs brewing” area in my pantry.
3. Allow this to infuse for at least 2 weeks, shaking the jar daily or as often as you remember. The Witch Hazel will quickly take on the scent and color of the herbs you’ve chosen.
4. Once finished, strain the herbs out using cheesecloth or a fine cloth. Compost the herbs.
5. Pour the liquid into a clean bottle, label, and enjoy!
Witch Hazel is such a wonderful and necessary addition to your medicine cabinet. It is easy to find at any grocery store or pharmacy and is beneficial for all skin types. Use it to make an herbally infused skin toner. How do you use witch hazel?