Witch hazel is a herbal remedy made from the bark and leaves of a plant called Hamamelis Virginiana. Despite its name, there is nothing to fear from this great natural remedy that has been long used in traditional medicine.
Witch hazel has strong astringent and healing properties, and is very useful in skin care. It has been shown to be useful in the treatment of various skin problems. Its anti-inflammatory properties make it a great remedy for chronic skin diseases.
When applied directly to the skin, it helps reduce swelling, repair broken skin, and even fight bacteria. This is why people have good results when they use witch hazel for psoriasis or eczema.
Learn how it can be used to relieve symptoms of psoriasis, eczema and other skin conditions!
What’s witch hazel?
This shrub blooms in late fall or late winter, depending on the species, with unique yellow, gold, orange or red flowers.
Why use witch hazel for psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a chronic disorder characterized by abnormally rapid skin growth. Cellular turnover can accelerate up to 10 times the normal rate! New skin cells develop and push to the surface in four days rather than the typical 30.
However, the body can’t shed the old cells fast enough to keep up with production. Dead skin cells accumulate, forming patches that are thick, itchy, scaly, and red. Scientists aren’t exactly sure why T-cells malfunction. Since psoriasis tends to run in families, there appears to be a genetic component.
There are many natural remedies that can help soothe the symptoms of psoriasis. Witch hazel is one of them! Clinical studies supporting its effectiveness for psoriasis are lacking. But there are lots of testimonials of people who found great relief using witch hazel for psoriasis.
Witch Hazel is a natural astringent and tonic. It’s anti-irritant and anti-inflammatory, which makes it a great herb for psoriasis. Witch hazel can also soothe itching caused by psoriasis!
Witch hazel for eczema: is it effective?
Eczema is another chronic inflammatory skin condition, characterized by dry skin, with patches that are red and intensely itchy.
Patches may ooze, become scaly, crusted, or hardened. Symptoms can range from mild to severe, and the condition can negatively impact quality of life.
The exact cause of eczema is also unknown. However, like psoriasis, there are genetic, environmental and immunological factors that play a role.
Witch hazel may also be effective for the treatment of eczema. It can help dry up weeping eczema and reduce itching and inflammation when applied topically with gauze pads.
A cream prepared with witch hazel and phosphatidylcholine has been reported to be as effective as 1% hydrocortisone in the topical management of eczema, according to one double-blind trial. (source)
How to use witch hazel for psoriasis & eczema?
You can buy witch hazel water, also called hamamelis water. It’s comprised of the extract from a Hamamelis plant combined with water to create a cooling astringent that can be topically applied.
This solution is gentle, non-drying and is very effective especially when applied immediately after showering.
How to use witch hazel for psoriasis?
You can put it in a spray bottle and apply it on your lesions every day. Some claim it has stopped the itching and in some cases it has cleared up their skin!
For psoriasis on scalp, massage witch hazel water into scalp after shampooing your hair until it’s fully absorbed.
My experience with Witch Hazel for psoriasis:
Witch hazel is part of my daily skincare routine. I apply it on my face every morning; it feels great, it’s refreshing and it helps with wrinkles too! For psoriasis, I put witch hazel on a cotton pad, and apply it on my lesions before going to bed. Then I use a thicker cream to lock in skin moisture – either shea butter or this homemade anti-inflammatory cream. After years of experimentation, I find that this combination works the best for me. Make sure you use witch hazel astringent without alcohol or make it fresh yourself to avoid the drying qualities of alcohol and unwanted ingredients! See recipe at the end of the page.
How to use witch hazel for eczema?
Topical creams made with witch hazel can effectively manage eczema.
According to the medical center of the University of Maryland, witch hazel cream can relieve itching, and liquid witch hazel can help with “weeping” or oozing eczema. (source)
Is witch hazel recommended for other skin conditions?
Hemorrhoids and varicose veins
Witch Hazel is helpful in case of hemorrhoids because of its astringent properties.
Witch hazel can also help reduce pain and swelling from varicose veins. However more evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of witch hazel for this use.
Pads, ointments, and suppositories containing witch hazel are commonly used for the treatment of hemorrhoids. Another way to use it is to apply the solution three times daily with a sterile cotton pad to shrink the swollen vein.
Studies show that witch hazel may reduce the size of cold sores and the spread of inflammation. Witch hazel has antiviral activity against HSV-1 and can reduce inflammation and spreading of the virus.
How to use witch hazel for cold sores? Dab the cold sore with a witch hazel on a cotton ball.
The tannin content in witch hazel has strong astringent as well as antioxidant properties. Witch hazel has long been used for skin trouble such as acne as an astringent and antiseptic. (source)
It is ideal to cleanse the skin, while minimizing the size of skin pores.
Plain witch hazel may be applied twice a day (max) to the acne-infected skin straight from the bottle using cotton balls.
Witch hazel may help treat sunburn when applied topically, according to a 2010 report published in the Journal of the German Society of Dermatology. It contains antioxidant compounds that may protect against sunburn and aging from the sun.
Moisten a cloth or cotton ball with witch hazel and gently apply it to inflamed spots.
Bags under the eyes and tired eyes
Witch Hazel works great in reducing puffiness.
Soak a clean rag in witch hazel and cold water and place the cold compress over your closed eyes for 5 minutes!
cuts and bruises
A dab of witch hazel a few times a day can also help speed up the healing time of the bruise.
Can you make witch hazel at home?
Yes, you can! I found an easy recipe shared by Bellaonline.com:
- Organic witch hazel bark (1 tablespoon)
- Distilled water (1 cup)
- Soak witch hazel bark in water for ½ hour in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cover for 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat, let steep for another 10 minutes.
- Strain when cool and bottle in a glass storage jar.
- Store in the refrigerator. It will keep for three weeks.
You could also add some dried rose petals, a few drops of tea tree oil or even aloe vera! It depends how you want to use it.
Witch hazel is natural, safe & has lots of healing properties. It’s also a cheap remedy. Why not give it a try?
Clinical studies supporting its effectiveness for these skin conditions are generally lacking. But many people reported great results when using witch hazel for psoriasis, eczema and the other skin conditions cited above.
Witch hazel appears to be a relatively safe substance for most adults when applied directly to the skin. However in some people, it might cause minor skin irritation.
If you’re considering the use of witch hazel, make sure to consult your physician first!
Have you ever used with hazel for psoriasis or other skin problems? Feel free to leave a comment in the section below and share the recipe if you find it useful!
If you want to know more about witch hazel and its properties, watch this video from Herbalist Robin Rose Bennett who introduces us to the identification and healing properties of witch hazel: