Witch hazel has many uses, including clearing up spots and blemishes, soothing diaper rash, shrinking bags that form under the eyes, treating external hemorrhoids, relieving varicose veins and treating poison ivy, poison oak and chicken pox. It can also help bruises heal at a faster rate, soothe and possibly prevent razor burn, heal dry skin and cuts, relieve itchy bug bites, reduce eye redness, and serve as a natural deodorant.
Witch hazel is a small tree that can be found in most areas of North America. Its bark, leaves and twigs are generally converted to a liquid form known as witch-hazel water, which has healing properties and has primarily been used for skin treatment. The Native Americans were the first to discover the benefits of witch hazel and used it to treat many different ailments, including tuberculosis, colds, fevers and even certain cancers.
Witch hazel is generally used topically, but in some cases it can be converted to a suppository. It is not recommended for oral ingestion because it contains tannins, and there have been reported cases of allergic reactions after topical use. Very few studies have been conducted regarding the benefits of witch hazel. Witch hazel in its diluted form can be purchased in many department stores and pharmacies.