The witch hazel ( Hamamelis virginiana ) is a medicinal plant widely used in the production of herbal ointments for the treatment of problems such as hemorrhoids , varicose veins , bruises and burns.
It can also be used in alcoholic extracts or consumed in capsules and infusions to treat respiratory infections such as colds and flu and a variety of other illnesses.
Read on to discover 6 uses of this herb in ointment, tea, extract and capsule versions.
What is witch hazel for?
One of the most common uses of witch hazel is in the treatment of hemorrhoids , a disease that occurs when there is an increase in blood flow in the rectum.
Veins inside or on the edge of the anus become swollen and inflamed and cause severe pain when defecating or sitting .
The use of the plant can relieve symptoms such as discharge, bleeding, pain and the burning sensation caused by the disease.
All this because it is rich in vasoconstrictor substances , that is, they are able to “squeeze” the veins and reduce the excess blood being sent to the site. ( 1 )
The ointment prepared with the bark and leaves of the witch hazel reduces, around 60%, the symptoms of hemorrhoids in just a few weeks of treatment, with no side effects. ( 2 )
To this end, the herb can be used in sitz baths or in the preparation of ointments that must be applied directly to the affected region. ( 3 )
Decrease the appearance of varicose veins
Did you know that using the ointment or consuming witch hazel, in the form of an extract, tea or capsules, helps to reduce the appearance of varicose veins ? This is mainly because the herb has hemostatic properties.
This means retaining blood flow only to where they should be, which is inside the veins, which helps to reduce the dilation of those affected by the problem. ( 3 )
Ointments containing this plant extract reduce fluid retention, which causes swelling and pain in varicose veins. ( 4 )
The vasoconstrictor action that has already been mentioned also brings benefits in the treatment of varicose veins, as it stimulates the veins that are swollen to return to their normal size .
By being able to make the blood circulate better, especially in the lower part of the body, witch hazel not only treats the problem, but also prevents the appearance of new varicose veins. ( 2 )
Stimulate healing of burns and bruises
Both burns and bruises, which are those dark spots caused by the accumulation of blood that ran from a broken vase and stayed under the skin, can have their healing stimulated by the witch hazel.
The first benefit is linked to the herb’s vasoconstrictor and bactericidal capacities, which, as the name implies, prevent the proliferation of bacteria and also the inflammation of the injured area. In this way, it eliminates the main factors that delay the healing process . ( 1 )
Its hemostatic capacity is essential in reducing bruises, as it stimulates normal blood circulation, reducing the time needed for the affected site to return to normal. ( 3 )
The internal use of witch hazel is indicated to treat diarrhea naturally , as it has the astringent property.
“But what does it mean?” This means that they cause the mucous membranes to constrict, which helps to reduce the movements of the intestinal tract, in addition to inhibiting the production of mucus that serves to protect the intestine and make the poop more liquid.
These movements, together with the action of mucus, help the body to expel stool and increase during episodes of diarrhea. Therefore, inhibiting this process is treating the source of the problem, promoting rapid improvement. ( 2 )
Treating colds and flu
Consuming witch hazel at least three times a day is a great home remedy for respiratory infections, especially colds and flu .
It is a potent anti-viral agent and acts by preventing proliferation against the type A flu virus, stopping the proliferation cycle of these microorganisms. ( 5 )
The result is that the infection is weaker , allowing the body to fight against it, which promotes a faster recovery from illnesses.
Helping in acne healing
Using witch hazel ointment or compress is highly effective not only for accelerating acne healing , but also for preventing the onset of the problem.
The bactericidal potential is effective in eliminating several bacteria that live on the skin and are known to cause pimples when they proliferate excessively.
It is able to prevent the area affected by these bacteria from starting to become inflamed, which is essential in preventing acne.
The astringent properties deeply cleanse the skin and prevent sebum, a type of oil produced for protection purposes, from building up and clogging the pores.
This treatment does not change the acidity of the skin and therefore does not cause irritation and dryness. ( 6 )
How to use witch hazel?
Witch hazel is a very versatile plant and can be suitable for many types of medicinal uses. Check out how to use each of them correctly!
Tea, extract and capsules
To prepare the tea you just need to heat two teaspoons of dried witch hazel leaves with a cup of filtered water.
When it starts bubbling, turn it off and leave it sweltered for five minutes, then strain and drink slowly and without adding any sugar.
This infusion, alcoholic extract and capsules should be consumed a maximum of three times a day and only for the duration of the treatment. ( 1 )
ointment and compress
The compress can be made by applying warm tea to the affected area. The ointment is found in compounding pharmacies or herbal medicines and its use is very simple: just apply directly to the skin. Avoid using for more than 30 days in a row. ( 3 )
Care and contraindications
We did not find any contraindication for the use of witch hazel, whether internal or external.
However, it should only be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding under medical supervision, as there is no evidence of its consumption during this period.
Attention ! Never exceed the daily dose for consumption or use.