Witch hazel has many uses and its long shelf life makes is a perfect item to add to preparedness storage. In addition to the many wonderful healing attributes that witch hazel possesses, the inexpensive per bottle price tag also make the clear liquid a favorite among preppers.
The Witch Hazel shrub is native to North America and grows freely from Canada to Florida. If you live in reasonable warm climates, you can plant the shrub in your backyard and steam twigs to make your own supply of the multipurpose liquid. Native Americans have enjoyed the benefits of witch hazel for more than a century.
Liquid steamed from twigs snapped from the bush can be used to combat insect bites, clear acne and heal sores. By using the natural and inexpensive oil you can skip the purchase of synthetic bugs spray and and opt for an age-old favorite comprised solely or organic material. The witch hazel shrub does not create enough essential oil to be sold in the little amber bottles like Tea Tree oil, but does contain significant amounts of hydrolats and hyrdosols.
If purchasing the readily available and most inexpensive version of witch hazel at the drug store, read the label carefully, because it may be infused with alcohol. Tannin is one of the ingredients in witch hazel that helps reduce swelling and is often not present in typical retail store brands.
Witch Hazel Uses
Bug Bites and Poison Ivy
Witch hazel can be used as a preventative and after contact treatment. Wipe exposed areas with the liquid to keep bugs and insects at bay during the summer and fall months. Witch hazel reduces swelling while offering relief from itching resulting from exposure to poison ivy and mosquito bites.
Cuts and Bruises
Stick a bottle of witch hazel in your backpack or purse before leaving the house for some outdoor fun. Simply dab a little of the liquid onto the surface of a cut or sore bruise to facilitate the healing process and reduce inflammation. If you twist your ankle while hiking, rub some witch hazel around the bone and muscles to reduce swelling.
Commercial acne treatments can range in price from $25 to $100 for one month’s supply. Many of the synthetic products also issue warnings to avoid direct sunlight after application. It is stressful enough for teens to have pimples on their face, chest and back during the summer, being forced indoors when there is a pool party to attend is even worse. Save money while naturally treating breakouts by using witch hazel to fight acne. Witch Hazel is a common ingredient in many blemish products. Pour a few drops of the liquid onto a cotton ball and gently rub it one sore spots to reduce redness and swelling, or wash the entire infected area with the organic liquid.
Witch hazel is known to “tighten” skin and reduce itchiness. Multiple home remedies suggest that those suffering with external hemorrhoids mix together equal amounts of witch hazel, petroleum jelly, and glycerine and rub it on the affected area to dry up bleeding and reduce irritated skin.
Witch hazel is gentle enough to be used on infants. Squirt some of the liquid onto a cotton cloth and rub easily over the diaper rash. Even with natural products an allergic reaction can occur, use on a small area to test for irritation and discuss with your pediatrician before usage.
To reduce the appearance and pain associated with varicose veins, use witch hazel to soak several wash cloths and lay the material gently on the legs. Sit with your legs propped up and straight to help reduce any pain and to keep the liquid from spilling off the limbs. Witch hazel has reportedly been known to offer temporarily relief of discomfort and tighten the varicose veins in the process.
Witch hazel is an incredible all natural treatment for a multitude of skin irritations, sunburn is no exception. Apply the liquid to the skin with a damp cloth or by pouring slowly to help alleviate skin flaking and peeling.
Develop the habit of gently rubbing witch hazel onto your skin immediately after drying off from a shower to prevent or treat dry skin. The liquid can be applied again throughout the day to treat problem dry skin patches.
Apply a few dabs of witch hazel to rid your face of bags under the eye bags. Wipe the liquid gently under the eyes, be careful to avoid dripping into the eyes and mouth.
Chicken Pox Blisters
Witch hazel is an important ingredient in a home remedy mixture that has been known to help in the treatment of chicken pox blisters. In a clean spray bottle mix together 15 drops bergamot essential oil, 1 tablespoon honey, 5 drops peppermint essential oil, 40 drops lavender essential oil, 15 drops lemon essential oil, 15 drops bergamot essential oil, , 1 teaspoon carrot seed oil and a half a cup aloe vera gel. After shaking the chicken pox blisters remedy so all the ingredients have thoroughly combined, add in a half a cup of distilled witch hazel and shake vigorously again.
Use witch hazel to make a natural deodorant that is also known to help heal dry and care for dry skin. Mix together 2 tablespoons of cornflower water,2 tablespoons of orange flower water, one teaspoon of high proof vodka, 8 drops of bergamot essential oil, 10 drops of geranium essential oil, 10 drops of cypress essential oil, four drops of lavender essential oil, five drops of neroli, three drops of black pepper, and four tablespoons of witch hazel. Use a funnel to slowly and carefully pour all of the ingredients into a bottle with a spray nozzle and then shake vigorously. Shake the bottle before each use to make sure none of the skin soothing ingredients have sunk to the bottom.
Witch Hazel Warnings
Herbal remedies work wonderfully for many people, but the possibility of an allergic reaction is always possible. Pregnant and nursing women may not be able to use all of the ingredients noted in the natural remedies. If new to the use of witch hazel or any of the ingredients noted in the home remedies, make sure to check with your doctor before use. Adverse side effects of witch hazel, although uncommon, could include nausea, vomiting or constipation, chest tightness, pain, or trouble breathing, hives, rashes, skin irritations, and leg swelling.