You must have heard about witch hazel.
Essentially it is a plant with several medicinal properties.
The most common type used in folk medicine is Hamamelis virginiana.
While witch hazel’s popular use is in the skin and scalp, it can also be used for relieving certain dental problems.
Though, its most popular use is to ease sensitive skin as well as inflammation.
You can utilize it by ingesting in small amounts or adding it to herbal teas.
This article details the uses of witch hazel and how this plant can provide quick relief for medical conditions.
Keep reading below to know more!
What is Witch Hazel Used for in Oral Health?
Witch hazel is effective in reducing inflammation on the skin.
The same properties can be beneficial for the mouth.
It can treat damaged gums and inflammation in irritated gums.
Moreover, it can help to reduce pain and swelling in the infected gums.
Other than that, it can also reduce minor bleeding in the gums and mouth.
However, if gum bleeding is consistent then you should go to a dentist as it may signal gingivitis.
One way to use it is in a mouth rinse.
Though, remember that you should not use a rinse that contains witch hazel with isopropyl alcohol.
This can help to reduce the swelling and stop minor bleeding.
Another use for witch hazel in oral health is to counteract pain.
Use witch hazel in this case in the form of tea.
This can soothe pain and also reduce inflammation as well as discomfort.
You can also simply dab witch hazel on the painful teeth and gums in the case of a toothache.
This happens because of its chemical composition.
Witch hazel contains tannins.
These help to fight bacteria, reduce inflammation and also when applied to the skin repair broken skin.
Hence, the greatest benefits of witch hazel are for the skin.
Let’s find out about that more in detail below.
Witch Hazel for Skin
Inflammation of the Body and Skin
The body inflames as an immune response to an injury or infection.
It protects the body from further harm unless it is a chronic inflammation that points toward diseases.
Witch hazel has anti-inflammatory properties thanks to tannins and gallic acid.
Besides that, there are antioxidants that also help to combat inflammation while also neutralizing free radicals.
Regarding skin concerns, witch hazel can reduce inflammatory conditions such as psoriasis, acne and eczema.
Witch hazel cream or toner, anything topically applied can soothe the skin and reduce inflammation.
Fighting Acne Healing Blemishes and Bruises
Witch hazel is effective in fighting acne due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
You can apply it directly to your face right after steaming or cleaning, as that increases effectiveness.
Another way in which it treats inflammation is by shrinking pores.
It is a natural astringent, thus it shrinks pores and removes extra oil from the skin.
Applying it can also reduce the number of pollutants that enter your skin.
Hence, preventing more blemishes.
This also prevents acne-causing bacteria from inflammation.
This is why witch hazel is popular in acne products and helps people with oily skin.
It can also reduce existing blemishes and bruises present on the body.
Simply apply some of it with a cotton ball onto the bruises and acne to reduce their appearance.
In fact, it will also reduce the discoloration of bruises and speed up their healing process.
As astringents help to reduce the excess oil in the skin, they can prevent blemishes from appearing.
Hence, it may prevent blackheads that result from excess sebum production.
Brightens Around Eyes
It can tighten the skin and reduce puffiness.
Moreover, it reduces inflammation and treats discoloration.
So it is best to fight your dark circles and under-eye puffiness.
Benefits Against Infection and Scalp and Skin Sensitivity
Fighting Against Infection
Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, witch hazel can fight against acne.
However, it can also fight the viral infections causing inflammation.
The tannins present act as an anti-viral agent against Human Pappilovirus and influenza A.
Plus there is also research on how it can prevent herpes simplex virus 1 which causes cold sores.
Therefore, people use it topically to fight cold sores and ease their symptoms.
While human studies are still limited, witch hazel shows potential in combating viral infections.
Combating Scalp Sensitivity
Scalp sensitivity is a result of skin conditions such as psoriasis or cosmetic treatments.
However, using witch hazel can prove to be very beneficial in relieving symptoms such as tenderness and itching.
Simply apply witch hazel to the scalp before washing the hair.
This can be in the form of shampoo with a witch hazel extract.
Plus, it can also counteract other problems such as dandruff and dryness.
Other than sensitivity, it also reduces the inflammation that diseases such as eczema and psoriasis cause.
Treating Skin Sensitivity
There are several people with sensitive skin.
People with sensitive skin are more prone to inflammation and broken skin.
Thus, topical application of witch hazel can reduce irritation, and inflammation and treat broken skin.
It can also treat redness as it is known to suppress erythema.
Injury and irritation cause this redness and even applying a lotion with 10 percent extract of witch hazel can reduce inflammation and redness.
In fact, a topical preparation containing witch hazel also helped in soothing irritated facial skin as well as reduced inflammation.
Thus overall relieving sensitive and inflamed skin.
It has several other benefits not pertaining only to skin concerns.
More on that below!
- Soothing Sore Throat
Witch hazel is an astringent and can heal inflammation, both of these apply in soothing a sore throat.
Boil a teaspoon into a cup of water for a few minutes.
Then gargle with it.
That can relieve swelling, reduce pain and dry the extra mucus.
- Treating Hemorrhoids
Essentially hemorrhoids happen due to the inflammation of veins present in the rectum and anus.
This results in bleeding and itching.
Apply some witch hazel to a cotton ball.
Directly apply this to the target area in order to relieve the skin around.
Its anti-inflammatory and homeostatic properties come in use to stop the bleeding as well as reduce itchiness, pain and redness.
This brings us to…
- Shrinking Swollen Veins
If any skin is affected by varicose veins then applying a terry cloth soaked in witch hazel can help with the inflammation.
It decreases the pain and swelling temporarily.
Propping up the area of treatment decrease blood pressure and increases the effectiveness of the treatment.
- Soothing after Hair Removal
You may get a few nicks and cuts after shaving.
Witch hazel stops bleeding that may happen post hair removal.
But also, its anti-inflammatory properties prevent razor burn.
It is not only effective after shaving but also waxing.
It works to prevent inflammation and stops bleeding from damaged hair follicles.
- Dries Swimmer’s Ear
It is a microbial infection of the ear canal.
A few drops of witch hazel on the ear can dry any excess oil and pus the infection produces.
It also helps to clear the debris and wax that clog the ear.
Drain it gently with a cotton swab.
Also add a natural anti-microbial like tea tree oil.
Besides these, several other benefits include:
- Protecting from sun damage
- Easing pain from bug bites
- Neutralizing Contact Dermatitis
- Soothing Diaper Rash
Witch Hazel Side Effects and Uses
It is likely safe for most adults especially when used on the skin.
However, it may cause minor skin irritation for a few.
Moreover, we cannot rule out how some people may be allergic to it.
In order to avoid skin irritation and allergic reactions to topical application, begin with a patch test.
Apply it first onto your elbow and then see if there is any reaction, itching or irritation in the area 24 hours later.
Similarly, when it comes to oral doses, small amounts are usually safer.
Three to four teaspoons of the extract may not pose any big problems.
However, taking a larger amount than 15 to 20 ml can cause stomach upset, irritation and vomiting.
Taking larger doses may eventually lead to liver problems.
Thus, do not take any big amounts initially, rather discuss with your doctor beforehand about any side effects and complications.
Though for ointments and other topical applications, you can apply them several times a day to the skin.
In that case, there are minimal adverse effects.
Witch hazel has several medicinal properties, especially for the skin.
Though, it can also help in inflammation of the gums and sore throat.
Its benefits also include treating swimmers’ ear and other viral infections.
Therefore, you can use it as a natural remedy for many skin and health problems.
However, remember to not overdo it.
Keep its side effects in mind especially if you are taking it orally or in the form of a mouth rinse.