Witch hazel (known as winter bloom and spotted alder as well), is a flowering shrub from north America. Every part of the shrub is full of tannins, compounds found in natural astringents thanks to their ability to tighten, dry and harden tissues. The witch hazel has many health benefits and antiviral, antibacterial, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. It contains many health promoting compounds such as Gallic acid, flavonoids, resin, oils and tannins. The exclusive mix of healthy components and unique properties makes this shrub an amazing natural remedy.

Native Americans have been using witch hazel as an astringent for centuries. It is natural and cheap, and can be a great addition to your medicine cabinet.

Here are 14 reasons why witch hazel should be present in your home.

  1. Soothes diaper rash

Witch hazel has been known to soothe a baby’s diaper rash. Apply some witch hazel extract on the affected areas with a cotton ball. It will soothe and heal the diaper rash faster and better than any topical treatment.

  1. Brightens the areas around the eyes

If you suffer from the annoying and unpleasant bags under the eyes, you know they are very hard to remove. They aren’t a serious medical condition, but stands out from an aesthetical point-of-view. Witch hazel can brighten the affected areas and tighten the skin effectively eliminating the eye bags. The shrub is a known refreshment for the eyes. However, be careful when applying it on the affected areas as witch hazel must not fall on the eyes. A safe way for this is to soak a clean cloth in a water and witch hazel solution then place it over the eyes.

  1. Relieves hemorrhoids

Witch hazel easily stops an itch. External hemorrhoid can be treated with a combination of witch hazel, petroleum jelly and aloe vera. This will reduce the itching and redness, and witch hazel will help dry the bleeding from the hemorrhoids.

  1. Shrinks swollen veins

This amazing shrub works great for varicose veins discomfort. Soak a cloth in a solution of witch hazel extract and some water, and apply it on the affected areas. This should instantly relieve the pain and discomfort. Witch hazel relieves the pain by tightening the veins.

  1. Neutralizes contact dermatitis

Witch hazel can control spots and blemishes and also reduce the swelling and itching caused by poison ivy or poison oak, making it a must for camping trips.

  1. Fades bruises and blemishes

Witch hazel can be used to significantly speed up the time required to heal bruises. Rub some witch hazel on a bruise that won’t go away, and it will be reduced quickly. For removal of bruises and blemishes, apply witch hazel extract on the affected area with a cotton ball. Seek medical advice before doing this.

  1. Treats sunburn

Witch hazel easily heals damaged skin, especially if you’re sunburnt. It will soothe the sunburn even if the inflammation isn’t visible. Witch hazel reduces the time required to treat sunburn and prevents the flaking and peeling of the skin. Mix some of it with some aloe vera the next time you spend too much time sunbathing.

  1. Stops bleeding

Dermatologist often offer witch hazel as a natural substitute for Neosporin. Apply a little witch hazel on the cuts to clean and heal them and protect them against infections.

  1. Treats bug bites

Bug-bites can be treated by witch hazel thanks to its anti-inflammatory and anti-itch properties. Just a dab of its extract applied on the bites will heal them quickly.

  1. Cures sore throat

If you have a witch hazel shrub nearby, use it to make some tea which can treat sore throat. Just take some of the shrub’s leaves and twigs, soak them in hot water, add some cloves and soak for another 15 minutes. Strain the leaves and figs and gargle with the tea. It will soothe the throat and reduce swelling.

  1. Dries up swimmer’s ear

Otitus externa, or swimmer’s ear, is a condition caused by microbial infection in the ear canal. Put some drops in your ear using and eye dropper to dry the pus, clear the area and break up the wax and debris that clogs the ear canal. Allow it to drain, then clean away using a cotton swab.

  1. Treats damaged gums

Receding gums is a clear sign of gum disease and occurs when the gums create a space between them and the teeth. Wash your mouth with some witch hazel extract to stop the bleeding from the gums. Take a teaspoon of the extract along with some clover and myrrh oil to soothe the pain caused by teething in children.

  1. Soothes razor burn

Apply some witch hazel before or after shaving to prevent the itchy bumps around the irritated hair follicles. The anti-inflammatory effects of witch hazel will surely have a positive impact on the itchy red skin.

  1. Natural astringent

As we already mentioned, witch hazel is a known natural astringent. People exposed to high levels of environmental pollution can apply some witch hazel extract on their face to reduce the amount of contaminants that enter the pores and cause blemishes. Witch hazel will clean the pores, the excess oil and dead skin cells and provide protection from bacteria and fungi, making it a must for any beauty regimen.