Witch hazel is a bush that can be found mostly in damp forests throughout North America. People use the leaf, bark and twigs to make medicine. The Native Americans used to often use witch hazel as a herbal remedy for painful swelling and tumors.
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There is also witch hazel water, which is when the dried leaves, bark and partially dormant twigs of the witch hazel are distilled in water and then an alcohol solution. Witch hazel contains a chemical called tannins, which gives it astringent properties, and when applied to your skin has been known to help reduce swelling, repair broken skin and fight bacteria.
Witch hazel can help with a variety of irritations. You can apply it directly to your skin if you experience itching, pain, swelling, eye inflammation, skin injuries, hemorrhoids, bruises, insect bites or burns. Doctors have also been known to use witch hazel for diarrhea, mucus colitis, tuberculosis, colds, fevers, tumors and cancer. You can apply it to your skin via a lotion for irritation or make it into a tea for bowel problems.