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Top 5 Health Benefits of Witch Hazel

Tuesday, 09 Nov 2010 04:59 PM

Health benefits from witch hazel come from its application, both internally and externally. Practitioners use different parts of the witch hazel shrub, including bark, branches, and leaves, to treat skin inflammation, bruises, and wounds. Though witch hazel usually is a topical application, health benefits come from its use as a tea or mouthwash.
The benefits of witch hazel include:

Skin Care
The predominant benefit of witch hazel is its astringent and anti-inflammatory properties. It is used in cosmetic lotions and creams to lighten the skin, remove excess oil and dirt, and tighten facial skin. It is helpful to treat acne, psoriasis, and eczema. In addition, it is used extensively in after-shave lotions to heal shaving cuts. It is a natural remedy for insect bites, sunburn, puffy eyes, and itchy skin.

Hemorrhoids and varicose veins
The tannins, flavonoids, and resin present in witch hazel benefit painful varicose veins and hemorrhoids. The herb improves the constriction of blood vessels and its ability to reduce them to normal size. Topical application of witch hazel based creams is also advised for postnatal perineum tearing.

Respiratory tract infections
A throat gargle of witch hazel and clove helps relieve sore throat pain and laryngitis.

Digestive complaints
Witch Hazel tea treats dysentery, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. The active ingredient catechol is responsible for this health benefit. Mucus discharge and colitis may also improve from the internal use of witch hazel.

Swelling, infections, and bruises
Available as medicated pads, tinctures, alcohol extracts, creams, and teas, witch hazel is great for reducing swelling and traumatic bruises.
Though there are no reported significant drug interactions of witch hazel, there may be certain side effects of using witch hazel. The tannins present in this herb may cause nausea, constipation, and liver problems. Be sure to consult your physician before using witch hazel.

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