The Native Americans were already familiar with the effects of the witch hazel plant: at that time it was used as a remedy for stings and burns. Nowadays, the active ingredients found in their leaves and bark are used in the manufacture of cosmetic products such as witch hazel tonic, creams and ointments. As part of the beauty routine, witch hazel can do a lot: it relieves itching, has anti-inflammatory effects, refreshes the skin, neutralizes redness and has an antibacterial effect. But organic cleaning agents, room fragrances, stain removers and odor neutralizers also contain witch hazel water. We have collected 12 ideas on the subject for you, learn how to use the witch hazel and how you can make your own natural cosmetics and all-purpose cleaners.
Witch hazel toner: an overview of the medicinal plant witch hazel
The witch hazel is a perennial shrub of the witch hazel family that is native to North America and Asia. Nowadays a total of six species and several hybrid varieties are common as ornamental plants across Europe. However, they should not be confused with Hamamelis virginiana, the Virginia witch hazel. It is the only medicinal plant from the witch hazel family and, unlike the other varieties, blooms in autumn. The perennial can reach a height of several meters and has oval yellowish leaves that are alternately arranged. In summer it forms numerous woody capsules that pop open shortly before flowering in autumn and throw up the black seeds. The active ingredients are found in the bark and leaves of the plant. Tannin tannins are obtained from the bark and catechin tannins and essential oils from the leaves.
Witch hazel can not only be used to make witch hazel toner. In the following we offer you a few examples of how you can make your own tea, tincture or compress. Of course, you should first consult your doctor and pharmacist about the effects of the medicinal plant before using it.
Witch hazel tea For compresses and wound rinses: The tea is made from the dried witch hazel leaves and chopped pieces of beef. Two teaspoons of the leaf and beef mix are put into a cup and 250 ml of hot water (ideally 90 degrees) are poured over it. Let the tea steep for 10 to 12 minutes, then strain and let cool aside. You can use it to wash inflamed skin, bathe in it for 10 to 20 minutes, or put on a compress. You can keep the tea in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
Compress with witch hazel tea: They are applied as an envelope to an affected part of the body or to a wound. Let the compress work for 2.5 – 3 hours. The first time you use the compress, be sure to check for allergic reactions such as swelling or redness after 20 minutes.
Bathing with witch hazel tea: Since witch hazel tea can reduce inflammation, it is often used diluted for hip baths. Such a hip bath can be used to effectively relieve hemorrhoid symptoms, for example. The tea is simply poured into the warm water and then you can bathe inside for 15 minutes. It also helps with inflamed or heavy legs, this time you should add the tea to the water in the foot bath.
Make witch hazel tincture yourself: Put approx. 120 g of crushed witch hazel bark in a saucepan and pour 300 ml of distilled water over it, let it warm up over a low heat for approx. 1 hour. You can stir every now and then. Do not bring the mixture to a boil! Strain the warm mixture. Depending on how much liquid you have, you will now need to add the same amount of distilled water. For example, if you have 200 ml of liquid, add another 200 ml of distilled water. Add some spirit. You can calculate the exact amount of alcohol you need as follows: 200 ml liquid + 200 ml distilled water = 400 ml witch hazel mixture. 400ml X 18% = 72 ml alcohol. Store the tincture closed, dry and dark. Use: Dilute between 15 and 25 drops in 250 ml of water and apply to the skin with a cotton pad.
Make witch hazel toner yourself: basic recipe and application examples
You can buy witch hazel toner, but you can also make it yourself. We’ll explain in detail how to do this.
For the witch hazel water you need the following ingredients: 200g dry and finely chopped bark of Hamamelis virginiana and tap water. Since you need to distill the liquid, you will also need a still. The so-called Leonardo distillery is particularly suitable for this purpose.
Preparation: The Leonardo still consists of four parts: a kettle for the water, an aroma basket, which is filled with herbs, flowers and in this case – with the finely chopped bark, a cooler and a top. First you need to mount the aroma basket in the kettle, then fill the aroma basket with the bark. Press the plant material lightly with your fingertips. Then comes the cooler, now all you have to do is connect the hoses and you can start distilling. The whole process takes between 30 and 40 minutes.
You can add this homemade witch hazel water to other skin care products or use it as a facial toner.
Witch hazel water and its anti-inflammatory properties
1. Use witch hazel toner against puffy bags under the eyes
The thin skin under the eyes loses its elasticity with age and therefore needs regular care. If bags under the eyes or dark circles develop over time, these can be soothed with witch hazel toner. Simply dip cotton pads briefly in witch hazel water, fold them up, place on the eyes for 10 to 15 minutes and let the witch hazel ingredients soak in.
2. Witch hazel toner for varicose veins
Varicose veins, also known as varicose veins, is a condition that causes leg pain and swelling. The symptoms of those affected can be alleviated with both medication and herbs. Studies have shown that witch hazel water also has a positive effect. In any case, it must be applied to the affected parts of the body at least three times a day for three weeks before the first results are visible.
3. Witch hazel water for diaper rash
A new study published in the European Journal of Pediatrics by M. Kieser and H.H. Wolf released in 2007 points to the anti-inflammatory properties of witch hazel. The researchers concluded that certain skin inflammations in children can be effectively treated with witch hazel.
4. Witch hazel toner helps with sunburn
Witch hazel can also help with sunburn and soothe sun-stressed skin. As soon as you notice or feel the sunburn, the first thing you should do is take a cool shower. It provides relief and cools the skin. Then you can carefully apply the toner with cotton pads.
5. Witch hazel water for sensitive scalps
Dry, sensitive scalp that is prone to redness can also be successfully treated with witch hazel water. In this case, the natural product can relieve itching and help the skin to heal quickly, but the right gentle hair care can make all the difference in the long run. A mild shampoo and regular hair masks with 5-6 drops of witch hazel tincture will balance the scalp.
6. Witch hazel toner helps against mosquito bites
Mix baking soda with witch hazel toner and apply the paste to the affected areas. We also give you a simple recipe for organic insect repellent spray. Mix distilled water and witch hazel toner in a ratio of 1: 1, add 30 drops of one of the following essential oils: eucalyptus, lavender, mint, rosemary. Shake the bottle vigorously and spray the skin with it.
7. Witch hazel toner for stretch marks
The witch hazel water can not only be applied to the skin as a preventive measure, it can also lighten stretch marks that have already formed.
Witch hazel toner in the household
8. Cleaning agents for marble and granite
Marble and granite are sensitive natural stones, the surface of which can discolour. Gentle cleaning agents are therefore an absolute must. Witch hazel toner can be particularly effective in cleaning highly polished surfaces. Spray the surface, then wipe it with a microfiber cloth. To be on the safe side, you can first test the effect of the facial toner on an inconspicuous area.
9. As a stain remover in households with animals
Everyone who has a pet knows the problem: the challenge is not only to remove the stains, but also to neutralize odors. This is where the witch hazel toner comes in handy. First, wipe the liquid off with a paper towel, then spray the stains with witch hazel water and then clean the stains with enzyme cleaner.
10. As a carpet cleaner
Witch hazel toner is also used to treat dirt in carpets, doormats and the like. Mix nitron with witch hazel facial toner, first check the finished paste in an inconspicuous place and then you can use it to clean the carpet.
11. As a cleaning agent for jewelry
The longer you wear your favorite jewelry, the dirtier it will get. Witch hazel water is a gentle detergent that will effectively remove dirt from your earrings, necklaces and bracelets.
12. Make room fragrances yourself with witch hazel water.
The basic recipe for a room fragrance consists of three ingredients: distilled water, witch hazel water and essential oil of your choice. For inspiration, we offer you four combinations that you can make yourself:
Ingredients for the basic recipe: 100 ml of distilled water, 1 tablespoon of witch hazel facial toner, 50 drops of scented oil of your choice.
Freshness kick with the following essential oils: 20 drops of lemon oil, 15 drops of basil oil, 10 drops of rosemary oil, 5 drops of mint oil.
Summer mood with the following fragrance oils: 20 drops of lavender oil, 20 drops of lemon oil, 10 drops of rosemary oil.
For better concentration: 30 drops of mint oil, 20 drops of rosemary oil.