Witch hazel is a popular home remedy for cuts, bruises, hemorrhoids and sore
muscles. More than a million gallons of witch hazel water are sold each
year in the United States, making it one of the nation's most widely used
Witch hazel is a tree with branches that are
flexible. In fact, American Indians used them to make bows. Native
Americans also rubbed witch hazel tea on cuts, bruises, insect bites and aching
muscles and joints, and they drank it for a variety of ailments, including
colds and menstrual problems.
the 1840s, a Native American medicine man introduced the herb's astringent
properties to Theron T. Pond of Utica, New York, who began marketing it. Witch
hazel water has been with us ever since.
hazel water was simply tea on a large scale. This herb is high in astringent
tannins, which dissolved in water-based witch hazel preparations, thus making
them effective astringents. But about a century ago, manufacturers
switched to steam distillation, a simpler process but one that eliminated the
tannins -- and all herbal astringent benefits.
kept using witch hazel water and swearing by it as a treatment for cuts,
rashes and hemorrhoids. However, the commercial brands add alcohol
which is also an astringent.
If you want to get the astringent benefits of natural witch
hazel, you could make it. Boil one teaspoon of powdered leaves or twigs
per cup of water for ten minutes. Strain and cool. Apply the solution directly
or mix it into an ointment. It can be found in any pharmacy. It's the active
ingredient in Tucks hemorrhoid pads.
literature contains no reports of harm from external use of witch hazel. But if
witch hazel causes minor discomforts, such as skin irritation, dilute it or
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