What is witch hazel for – properties and contraindications


Witch's broom is a deciduous shrub that belongs to the Hamamelidaceae family and is characterized by its yellow flowers and black seeds. This plant, with the scientific name of Hamamelis virginiana, is cultivated in some regions of China, Japan and North America for the different medicinal and cosmetic uses that both its leaves and its bark have.

What is witch hazel for - properties and contraindications

Among the different utilities and health benefits that the witch hazel plant has, its powerful astringent properties stand out, which are ideal both for the care of our skin and to combat some disorders of the organism. In this article we explain what witch hazel is for, its different properties for our health and what its contraindications are.

Nutritional composition and properties of witch hazel

Witch hazel is a deciduous plant that contains the following nutrients within its composition:

  • Flavonoids: are plant pigments, including quercetin, isoquercitin and myricicitin among others, which have antioxidant properties and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Tannins: its content of gallic acid and hazelantanin stands out, which contain excellent astringent properties with venotonic action.
  • Essential oils such as safrole, esters and alcohol with great hemostatic and antiseptic properties.
  • It also contains other nutrients such as carbohydrates (hammellose) and saponins.

Used for different circulatory system problems

Witch hazel has powerful astringent properties that act on the circulatory system, especially blood vessels, which reduce inflammation and solve the following circulatory problems:

  • Varicose veins: it can be used both in external use by applying the witch hazel extract by means of a massage, or in internal use by preparing an infusion with the dried leaves of the plant.
  • Phlebitis: its venotonic action acts and reduces inflammation in the veins.
  • Bruises and bruises: by preparing witch hazel water, you can both reduce the appearance and inflammation of these problems, as well as relieve the pain that occurs in these wounds.
  • Poor circulation in the legs: it is ideal for those people who remain standing for a long time, since by compresses with witch hazel water you can relieve pain and swelling of the legs.
  • Hemorrhoids: piles can be relieved by preparations or creams based on witch hazel.

Effective remedy against acne

Its astringent and anti-inflammatory properties make it serve effectively as a natural remedy to reduce acne and other skin imperfections. Witch hazel can also be used by people who usually have oily skin, as it eliminates shine on the face without drying out the skin.

Facial tonic

Its astringent properties due to the richness in tannins, also make it an excellent tonic for the skin of the face. These properties and their anti-inflammatory power relieve inflammation and discomfort in the face.

In addition, it is also effective for other skin conditions such as couperose, that is, the appearance of capillaries on the face. Thanks to its venotonic action, it visibly reduces this species of cobwebs.

Anti-dark circles treatment

  • Its anti-inflammatory properties also serve to reduce the bags under the eyes and, in this way, the skin is regenerated.
  • They also treat other eye problems, such as dry eyes, due to their excellent soothing properties.
  • In addition, it also has antioxidant properties that prevent wrinkles and fine lines of the eyes.

Relieves menopausal symptoms

Another of the healing properties of witch hazel is that, thanks to its anti-inflammatory and astringent effect, it helps treat the following symptoms of menopause:

  • It can decrease, in the form of an infusion, the hot flashes typical of this disorder.
  • At this stage, there are also usually some changes in the skin such as dryness and more visible wrinkles on the face. As we have seen above, witch hazel is a natural remedy for these skin problems.
  • It can also relieve other menopausal pains, such as headache or joint pain thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Finally, it decreases fluid retention and other circulatory problems such as varicose veins and cellulite, which are very common problems at this stage.

Contraindications of witch hazel

Witch hazel may present some contraindications in those people who are in the following situations:

  • Pregnancy and lactation: Some plants such as witch hazel are not recommended, as they can alter the conditions of the fetus and breast milk.
  • Digestive disorders: its richness in tannins makes it contraindicated in people with heartburn, colitis, ulcers and other gastrointestinal problems.
  • People with iron deficiency anemia: its tannin content prevents the body from correctly absorbing iron.
  • Liver diseases: its content in safrole and tannins can worsen diseases such as hepatitis, cirrhosis and other alterations in the liver.
  • It is also contraindicated in people who are taking blood-thinning medications.


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