While witch hazel is originally from North America, today this potent herb can also be found in many parts of central and southern Europe. Both the leaves and the bark of the witch hazel plant have been used in herbal medicine. It is believed that witch hazel may be useful when used in connection with colds sores, eczema, and hemorrhoids.
Witch hazel has been used historically to relieve hemorrhoids, injuries, tumors, and ulcers. It has also been used in landscaping due to its attractive leaves and flowers, which bloom in the late summer. Witch hazel seeds, more commonly known as hazel nuts, are popular food items.
The main constituents in witch hazel that provide this herb with its strong astringent effects are tanins and volatile oils. Preliminary studies suggest that witch hazel strengthens veins and offers anti-inflammatory effects and is useful in relieving such skin conditions as eczema. However, some studies indicate that witch hazel cream is no more effective at treating eczema than hyrdocortisone.Dosage and Application
Tea is a very popular way for administering witch hazel. To create a witch hazel tea, add 2 to 3 grams of witch hazel leave to boiling water for about 15 minutes. Witch hazel tea can be taken two to three times a day. As a tincture, take 2-4 mL three times a day.
In combination with warm, moist compresses, witch hazel extracts can be applied directly to hemorrhoids. For other skin problems, witch hazel ointment or cream can be applied three or four times a day.