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Witch Hazel Herbal Remedies and Applications

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Witch Hazel

Healing Lesson of the Day

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Witch hazel is best known for its astringent qualities as a skin toner and facial cleanser. I was first introduced to it by my mother when I was in my teens. I discovered witch hazel had the magical power to reduce the size of the pores on a greasy acne-prone nose. Witch hazel, Hamamelis vriginiana. is a shrub/tree. Forked twigs from this tree have been used as divining rods, not because of its "witchy" powers, but because of its "bending" qualities." The word "witch" means "to bend" in the Anglo-Saxon language.

In addition to being used as an astringent, the distilled extract of witch hazel made from the bark, twigs, and leaves mixed with alcohol and water can be used in cold compresses for applied to a feverish forehead. Witch hazel extract can also be poured onto a warmed cloth and applied to bruises and muscle strains. Added to lotion and rubbed onto the skin witch hazel can help take the sting out of bee stings and insect bites.

image © Johannes Simon / Getty Images

References: Naturopathic Handbook of Herbal Formulas, 3rd Edition; Reader's Digest: Magic and Medicine of Plants, 1986; The Herb Bible written by Peter McHoy and Pamela Westland, 1994 Barnes and Noble Publishers

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