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Health Benefits of Witch Hazel

Monday, 21 Mar 2011 03:21 PM

A tried and tested herbal remedy with multitudes of health benefits, witch hazel is a native of North America. Health benefits of witch hazel are derived by its application, both internally and externally. Practitioners use different parts of the Witch Hazel shrub –bark, branches, and leaves –to treat conditions ranging from skin inflammation to bruises and wounds.
Witch Hazel Health Benefits:

Skin Care- The benefits of witch hazel are witnessed predominantly in its astringent and anti-inflammatory properties. It  is used in many cosmetic lotions and creams to lighten the skin, remove excess oil and dirt, and tighten facial skin. Being a strong astringent, witch hazel health benefits include treating skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, and eczema. Witch hazel is used extensively in after-shave lotions to heal shaving cuts and to prevent sweating on the face. Witch Hazel benefits also include a natural remedy for insect bites, sunburn, puffy eyes, and itchy skin. A liquid extract of witch hazel is used in many toiletries for clearer and healthier skin.

Hemorrhoids and varicose veins- The tannins, flavonoids, and resin present in witch hazel benefit painful varicose veins and hemorrhoids. This health benefit of witch hazel is attributed to its role in improving the constriction of blood vessels and its ability to bring them down to a normal size. Topical application of witch hazel based creams is also advised for postnatal perineum tearing.

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

Digestive complaints- Witch Hazel tea is used to treat diarrhea and abdominal cramps. The active ingredient catechol is responsible for this health benefit of witch hazel. Mucus discharge and colitis are also benefited by the internal use of Witch hazel.

Swelling, infections, and bruises- Available as medicated pads, tinctures, alcohol extracts, creams, and teas, witch hazel health benefits are prominent in 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 without guidance. The tannins present in this herb may cause nausea, constipation, and liver problems. Thus, Witch hazel supplements are best taken internally only after consulting your physician.

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