This familiar member of the family medicine cabinet goes back to pre-Columbian times when Natives used witch hazel for the support of a wide variety of health concerns. A small tree or shrub native to the eastern United States and Canada, witch hazel... *
This familiar member of the family medicine cabinet goes back to pre-Columbian times when Natives used witch hazel for the support of a wide variety of health concerns. A small tree or shrub native to the eastern United States and Canada, witch hazel is now widely grown, and is very popular in Europe. It's also known as winterbloom, for its yellow flowers, which blossom after the leaves drop off in the fall.
Potential Health Benefits
Commission E recommends both witch hazel leaf and bark for use against minor skin irritation and inflamed mucous membranes and means to shrink hemorrhoids and help reduce varicose veins. Some 1 million gallons of witch hazel water are sold every year in the United States, where it's made as a steam distifiate. Witch hazel is also an ingredient in several popular and German hemorrhoid preparations.
Chemists have identified high tannin content - at least 4 percent, according to Commission E - in witch hazel. Commission E also credits witch hazel with anti-inflammatory powers and says it's locally hemostatic: that is; it slows down the flow of blood, which makes it useful for the potential to help support symptoms of symptoms of wounds.
The commercial distilled witch hazel water sold in the United States - unlike the German brands reviewed by Commission E - contains virtually no tannins, prompting author Varro E. Tyler, Ph.D., to ascribe its astringent qualities to the 14 percent alcohol in the products.
Health writer Michael Castleman counters that witch hazel water "does contain other chemicals with reported antiseptic anesthetic, astringent and anti-inflammatory action," although he doesn't name them. Tyler cites a 1997 study published in Planta Medica that found that some chemicals in witch hazel bark and leaves inhibit platelet-activities involved in inflammation. He also cites a 1996 study that suggests "strong antioxidant activity...may also play a role in witch hazel's anti-inflammatory effects."
How to Use the Herb
Commission E specifies these doses for external use: witch hazel water in virtually any amount as a rubbing liniment; for compresses and rinses, steep 5-10 grams of crushed witch hazel in 1 cup of water; for poultices, 20-30 percent in semi-solid preparations. For internal use, the commission recommends suppositories 1 to 3 times per day.
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Witch Hazel Tea is not considered safe to be consumed internally.
Use moistened tea bags as a compress to relieve the pain of bruises and sores, insect bites and stings, itchy rashes, or other minor irritations.
Powders, loose herb, or tea bags can all be used to make a decoction that can be used as a natural mouthwash or rinse to soothe inflamed gums or painful canker sores.
Witch Hazel is not intended for internal use! Use only as an oral rinse or gargle or in topical preparations applied externally to the skin.
Witch hazel - so long as it isn't swallowed, and it's not supposed to be - is very safe. There are no known contraindications, side effects, or drug interactions.
ZooScape is proud to be the exclusive distributor of TerraVita teas, herbs and supplements in the United States, Canada and around the world. Please direct all wholesale and bulk inquiries to Simona Heather at 1-844-449-0444.
More Photographs - Witch Hazel Tea - Oral Rinse or Topical Use Only
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* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Products are intended to support general well being and are not intended to treat, diagnose, mitigate, prevent, or cure any condition or disease. If conditions persist, please seek advice from your medical doctor. Information provided at ZooScape.com relies partly on Traditional Uses. The essence of the current American rule on Traditional Uses is, as stated by FTC, "Claims based on historical or traditional use should be substantiated by confirming scientific evidence, or should be presented in such a way that consumers understand that the sole basis for the claim is a history of use of the product for a particular purpose."