Witch hazel has been around for ever it seems. But what do we really know about? Its botanical name is Hamamelis. It is native to North America and parts of Asia. The genus is so small that it only includes four varieties of this tree/shrub. Nicknames for the tree include Winter Bloom and Epiphany Tree because it blooms in late fall and into winter many times in December. Another nickname is Snapping Hazel. When the seed pods ripen they literally snap open throwing the seed a great distance from the host tree. A rare occurance happens with this tree, not only will you find flowers on it but at the same time you will find seed pods and new leaves for the next season of growth. It is likened to baking soda in the health and beauty aide world because it is a general purpose product and has many uses.
When the bark or leaves are boiled in water you get a witch hazel extract that is used in many health and beauty products. The active ingredient is a tannin acid derivative called catechol tannin much like the tannins found in tea. Tannins are known for shrinking cappillaries and venules below the skin surface.
Its uses are many including archery bows, ornamental garden shrub/trees and beauty and health aides. You may be using witch hazel and not even know it. Its extract is added to many oinments such as Preperation H. and other hemorroid products. Below is a list of other uses for Witch Hazel.
Used to sooth:
cuts, bruises, hemorroids, sore mucles, insect bites and stings, sunburns, windburns, sprains, poison ivy irritation, diaper rash and bed sores.
Beauty uses include: make-up remover, acne treatment, facial cleansers, shaving creams, aftershave, skin freshener, reduce varicose veins, reduce pore size, reduce bags under the eyes and helps reduce shaving irritations.
It is approved for external use only and no know side effects occur from using Witch Hazel.
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