Witch Hazel is a large deciduous shrub with colorful fragrant flowers. It grows in Zones 3-9. It can grow to 20 feet tall but can be kept small by pruning. It flowers from October to December depending on where it is grown. It can grow in partial shade and is virtually maintenance-free and resistant to most pests and diseases.
Properties of Witch Hazel
Energetics: drying, cooling Properties: anti-inflammatory, vulnerary, and astringent. It is most commonly used topically as an astringent.
Here are some but not inclusive uses of the wonderful witch hazel.
Acne – dab some on a cotton ball and apply to area.
Anti-perspirant – place witch hazel in small spray bottle and use. Bug
Bites – dab some on cotton ball and apply to area frequently. Poison oak and poison ivy – soothes skin by reducing itching and swelling.
Sun burns – heals skin inflammations is one of witch hazels specialties. It will help cool the skin from the inflammation and soothe the skin.
Bruises – another type of skin inflammation. Try using witch hazel to help soothe the skin and help heal the area. As with all herbal remedies, if you experience any adverse effects or pregnant or nursing, consult your healthcare provider. Majority of individuals do not experience any adverse side effects while using witch hazel.
Making Witch Hazel
Wait until the shrub is done flowering and take the small twigs or bark from the tree. Take the twigs and strip the twigs of leaves and flowers. Then take pruning clippers and chop the twigs.
The twigs are placed in a large stainless steel pot and covered with distilled water and brought to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 8 or more hours. Let it cool to room temperature. Pour the contents through first a mesh sieve and then through cheese cloth sometime 2 times to obtain a clear product. Place the tonic in glass jars. The tonic will be good for a week, longer if refrigerated. Adding vodka to the mixture for long term use; approximately 10 ounces of vodka to 24 ounces of witch hazel.