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Witch hazel is made from a flowering plant that grows in Asia and North America. Long ago, Native Americans used that plant for medicinal purposes and for general skin care. Once the Puritans moved to North America from Europe, they learned from the Native Americans and began using it themselves. By the 1800s, it was sold in pharmacies. Today, you can buy witch hazel water, ointments, salves, and gels in drugstores and online. It's thought to have antiseptic properties and can be used for skin problems among other issues. By the way, if you're curious about the name, it has nothing to do with actual witches — it's actually derived from the Old English word “wice,” which means “bendable” or “pliable.”

witch hazel plant
Witch hazel can be found in Asia and North America and when it blooms, it is considered an early sign of spring.

Use Witch Hazel for Bug Bites

If you enjoy spending time in the great outdoors, you know how mosquitoes and other bugs can turn your good time into misery really quickly. Luckily, rubbing a little witch hazel on those bug bites can help reduce the itchiness, redness, and general irritation. It may even help keep bugs away. You can buy bug sprays in stores and online that contain witch hazel as a main ingredient. As a bonus, if you happen to come in contact with some poison ivy, witch hazel can help with that too.

Use Witch Hazel for Skin Irritations

Since witch hazel reduces the irritation associated with bug bites, it probably comes as no surprise that it can work for skin irritations in general. If you have inflamed or red skin, applying witch hazel topically or using a lotion that contains at least 10 percent witch hazel extract can help. Some people claim that it helps with specific types of skin irritation too, like razor burn, eczema, and psoriasis.

Use Witch Hazel on Face and Acne

Many people use witch hazel on face and acne problems or even as a part of their general skincare. First, it's a natural cleanser that can help if you have skin that is too oily. Just apply it on face and neck skin daily and rinse it with water as part of your regular routine. If you have acne or are prone to developing it, it will help shrink your pores and kill some of the bacteria that causes breakouts. Best of all, you don't have to resort to using harsh chemicals.

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Use Witch Hazel on Hemorrhoids

Hemorrohids occur when the veins in your anus and rectum become swollen and inflamed, and they can be painful, itchy, and irritating. Many people swear by witch hazel as a way to soothe that irritation. Simply soak a cloth in witch hazel water, and apply it to the affected area for relief as needed. If your hemorroids are bleeding, witch hazel may also stop the blood because it has hemostatic properties. It's also thought that it can work on other painful veins too, such as varicose veins, which are usually found in the legs. Many women even use witch hazel to soothe the vaginal region after childbirth.

Use Witch Hazel to Heal Wounds

Got a minor wound? Take care of it with witch hazel. Many people don't realize that it's actually an antiseptic, which means is slows or even stops the growth of microorganisms like bacteria. If you have a small scratch or cut, you can apply witch hazel to it to keep it clean and soothe it without drying it out. Just keep in mind that for deeper wounds or wounds that are infected, you should see a doctor.

Use Witch Hazel on Scars and Stretch Marks

If you have unsightly scars or stretch marks and you'd like to reduce their appearance, many people swear by witch hazel. Pregnant women especially love to use it on their stretch marks because it doesn't contain any harmful or unnecessary chemicals like many products on the market do. It works by tightening the skin and supporting collagen and elasticity. Simply rub with hazel on your scars and stretch marks daily or as needed.

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Use Witch Hazel to Clean Your Home

While many witch hazel uses are for skin, you can also use it to clean various surfaces in your home. These include chrome, glass, linoleum, tile, and vinyl. You can even use it to clean some jewelry. When using it on chrome or glass, just use the witch hazel like you would any other type of household cleanser. When using it on linoleum, tile, or vinyl, dilute it by adding half a cup of witch hazel to a gallon of water. Witch hazel dries quickly and doesn't leave streaks.

Use Witch Hazel to Keep Mosquitoes at Bay

As mentioned, some commercial bug sprays contain witch hazel, and it can actually help deter pests like mosquitoes. The best part is that you can make your own bug spray out of witch hazel water and know exactly what you're using around your home. Fill a spray bottle with half a cup of water and half a cup of witch hazel. Add 35 drops of lemon oil, euclayptus oil, or a combintation of both. Spray it around your home or yard to keep those pesky bugs at bay.

Use Witch Hazel to Remove Blood Stains

When it comes to stains, blood can be one of the hardest types to remove, especially once it's dried up. Simply dip the part of the clothing that's stained into the witch hazel and let it sit for 30 minutes. Rinse it with cool water, and wash it as you would normally do laundry.

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