Witch Hazel

Botanicals

18/Description

About

Witch hazel is a plant. The leaf, bark, and twigs are used to make medicine. You may see a product called witch hazel water (Hamamelis water, distilled witch hazel extract). This is a liquid that is distilled from dried leaves, bark, and partially dormant twigs of Hamamelis virginiana.

Witch hazel is taken by mouth for diarrhea, mucus colitis, vomiting blood, coughing up blood, tuberculosis, colds, fevers, tumors, and cancer.

Some people apply witch hazel directly to the skin for itching, pain and swelling (inflammation), eye inflammation, skin injury, mucous membrane inflammation, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, bruises, insect bites, minor burns, and other skin irritations.

In manufacturing, witch hazel leaf extract, bark extract, and witch hazel water are used as astringents to tighten the skin. They are also included in some medications to give those products the ability to slow down or stop bleeding. Those medications are used for treating insect bites, stings, teething, hemorrhoids, itching, irritations, and minor pain.

How it works

Witch hazel contains chemicals called tannins. When applied directly to the skin, witch hazel might help reduce swelling, help repair broken skin, and fight bacteria.

Effectiveness

Possibly Effective
Hemorrhoids

Applying witch hazel water to the skin may help to temporarily relieve itching, discomfort, irritation, and burning from hemorrhoids and other anal disorders.

Minor bleeding

Applying witch hazel bark, leaf, or water to the skin reduces minor bleeding.

Skin irritation

Applying witch hazel cream seems to relieve mild skin irritation, but not as well as hydrocortisone. Other research shows that applying a specific witch hazel ointment (Hametum) to the skin appears to improve symptoms of skin injury or irritated skin as effectively as a dexpanthenol ointment in children.

Concerns

Likely safe

Witch hazel is LIKELY SAFE for most adults when applied directly to the skin. In some people, it might cause minor skin irritation

Possibly safe

Witch hazel is POSSIBLY SAFE for most adults when small doses are taken by mouth. In some people, witch hazel might cause stomach upset when taken by mouth. Large doses might cause liver problems.Witch hazel contains a cancer-causing chemical (safrole), but in amounts that are too small to be of concern.

18/Warnings

Warnings

Children: Witch hazel isPOSSIBLY SAFEfor children when applied directly to the skin.Dosing considerations for Witch Hazel.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking witch hazel if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Interactions

No information available.

The information provided on this page is for reference purposes and is not meant to be used as a medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with a medical professional. The content on this page has been provided with thanks by RxList.com