Witch Hazel


Witch hazel is a plant. The leaf, bark, and twigs are used to make medicine. You may see a product called witch hazel water (Hamamelis water, distilled witch hazel extract). This is a liquid that is distilled from dried leaves, bark, and partially dormant twigs of witch hazel.

Witch hazel is taken by mouth for diarrhea, mucus colitis, vomiting blood, coughing up blood, tuberculosis, colds, fevers, tumors, and cancer.

Some people apply witch hazel directly to the skin for itching, pain and swelling (inflammation), eye inflammation, skin injury, mucous membrane inflammation, vaginal dryness after menopause, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, bruises, insect bites, minor burns, acne, sensitive scalp, and other skin irritations.

In manufacturing, witch hazel leaf extract, bark extract, and witch hazel water are used as astringents to tighten the skin. They are also included in some medications to give those products the ability to slow down or stop bleeding. Those medications are used for treating insect bites, stings, teething, hemorrhoids, itching, irritations, and minor pain.


Is a Form of:


Primary Functions:

Diarrhea, mucus colitis, vomiting blood

Also Known As:

Avellano de Bruja, Café du Diable, Hamamelis, Hamamélis, Hamamélis de Virginie

How Does It Work?

Witch hazel contains chemicals called tannins. When applied directly to the skin, witch hazel might help reduce swelling, help repair broken skin, and fight bacteria.


  • Hemorrhoids. Applying witch hazel water to the skin may help to temporarily relieve itching, discomfort, irritation, and burning from hemorrhoids and other anal disorders.
  • Minor bleeding. Applying witch hazel bark, leaf, or water to the skin reduces minor bleeding.
  • Skin irritation. Applying witch hazel cream seems to relieve mild skin irritation, but not as well as hydrocortisone. Other research shows that applying a specific witch hazel ointment (Hametum) to the skin appears to improve symptoms of skin injury or irritated skin as effectively as a dexpanthenol ointment in children.

Recommended Dosing

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:


  • For skin irritation: An after sun lotion containing 10% witch hazel water has been used.


  • For itching and discomfort associated with hemorrhoids and other anal disorders: Witch hazel water has been applied up to 6 times per day or after every bowel movement. Suppositories have been placed in the anus 1-3 times per day.


  • For skin irritation: An ointment containing witch hazel has been applied several times per day in children aged 2-11 years.

Witch Hazel Supplements Frequently Asked Questions

What is witch hazel good for?

Some people apply witch hazel directly to the skin for itching, pain and swelling (inflammation), eye inflammation, skin injury, mucous membrane inflammation, vaginal dryness after menopause, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, bruises, insect bites, minor burns, acne, sensitive scalp, and other skin irritations.

Does witch hazel draw out infection?

More studies are needed to look at the effects of witch hazel and its potential impact on viral infections in healthy adults. Summary Test-tube studies show that witch hazel may have antiviral properties and could be useful against certain types of viral infections.

Is witch hazel good for healing?

Witch hazel can be used topically to decrease inflammation and to stop bleeding. ... Native Americans used poultices of witch hazel leaves and bark to treat wounds, insect bites, and ulcers. Horsetail can be used both internally and topically to decrease inflammation and promote wound healing.

Why you shouldn't use witch hazel?

It's commonly thought that because witch hazel has “astringent” properties, it can “dry up” acne. However, acne isn't about skin being wet, so drying it with astringent ingredients won't help. In truth, the irritation caused by the witch hazel can make blemishes worse.

Can you use witch hazel as hand sanitizer?

To be effective, the alcohol needs to be at least 60% in the product you use. That means that many ingredients you see to make hand sanitizers, such as witch hazel or low alcohol content products, will not be effective.

Is Witch Hazel the same as rubbing alcohol?

Nowadays, you can find witch hazel in its pure form at your local drugstore. It resembles a bottle of rubbing alcohol. Even some over-the-counter (OTC) creams and ointments contain witch hazel, such as those used for bug bites or hemorrhoids.

Is it OK to put witch hazel on an open wound?

Treat Minor Wounds

Another great use for witch hazel is as a natural disinfectant for cuts and scrapes. Apply a liberal amount to your wound and then gently cover it to expedite the healing process.

Is witch hazel an antibacterial?

Witch hazel is often sourced for skincare solutions and topical treatments for pain. While it may be used in sanitizing products or hand sanitizers, witch hazel is not meant to be used as a disinfectant.

What does Witch Hazel do for hemorrhoids?

Witch hazel can reduce both itching and pain, two main symptoms of hemorrhoids. It's a natural anti-inflammatory, so it could also reduce swelling. Witch hazel can be purchased in liquid form and applied directly to the hemorrhoids.

Does witch hazel clean your face?

Used cosmetically, Witch Hazel Distillate can cleanse, regulate the skin's oil production, eliminate excess sebum, nourish, tighten, tone, soothe, and reduce the chances of future blemish outbreaks. It reduces swelling, calms irritation, minimizes the look of enlarged pores, and promote the skin's radiance.

What does Witch Hazel do for your face?

It acts as an astringent, causing your tissues to contract to help shrink pores, while also soothing your skin and relieving inflammation ( 5 ). This may prevent acne-causing bacteria from infecting your skin. ... Summary Witch hazel acts as an astringent to help shrink your pores, soothe your skin and reduce inflammation.

Should you use witch hazel everyday?

In general, Dr. Shamban says you can use your witch hazel toner anywhere from twice a week to every day, depending on how your skin responds. But when it comes to an alcohol-based astringent, don't overdo it.

Is Witch Hazel bad for your skin?

Overall, witch hazel is proven as safe for the skin. The caveat is that witch hazel, like anything else applied to your skin, may not work for everyone. If you're trying out witch hazel for the first time, it's a good idea to test it out in a small area of skin away from your face, such as the inside of your arm.

Does witch hazel stop bleeding?

  1. Witch hazel. The astringent nature of witch hazelmay help stop bleeding in small nicks and cuts. Astringents help tighten the skin and draw it together, decrease blood supply, and promote clotting.

Can you put witch hazel directly on hemorrhoids?

Witch hazel can reduce both itching and pain, two main symptoms of hemorrhoids. It's a natural anti-inflammatory, so it could also reduce swelling. Witch hazel can be purchased in liquid form and applied directly to the hemorrhoids.

Should I use witch hazel as a toner?

Witch hazel is a natural astringent

A toner that offers astringent affects is a good thing, but it's best to use an alcohol free witch hazel toner to remove excess oil (which may help prevent future breakouts) without stripping the skin of its natural moisture.

Is witch hazel good for blackheads?

Tannins have astringent properties, so they can reduce oil in clogged pores. To use witch hazel, soak a cotton ball and apply it to your blackheads. You can also purchase OTC witch hazel ointments. Witch hazel is generally safe for the skin.

Clinical Studies