What is Witch Hazel Oil?

Witch hazel oil is the extract of the witch hazel bush native to North America. It is a natural astringent and has been used for many years for various types of external and internal ailments. Native Americans originally used witch hazel to treat wounds, relieve sore muscles, and fight off infection. These practices were then taught to New England settlers and have since expanded to even more uses.
The oil has a slight ability to anesthetize the skin and some muscle tissue and also possesses anti-inflammatory properties. These properties may make it a good natural remedy for sprains, stiffness, and swelling. Commercial use began in the 1870s as an ingredient in healing salves for sores, cuts, and bruises.
In modern times, witch hazel oil is a common ingredient in many skin care items, natural healing products, and even teas. As a natural astringent, it may be used in some skin care products to fight skin conditions such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis. As an oil and natural moisturizer, this oil may be used to soothe cracked and dry skin. Some even choose to use it as part of a weekly hot oil regimen to fight dandruff. Witch hazel tea has been said to possibly treat everything from sore throat to diarrhea, and may even help with various respiratory ailments.
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If a person chooses to avoid commercial products or simply to use witch hazel oil at home, it is usually available in small amounts for purchase. As a natural oil, it should generally be stored in a cool, dry place when it is not being used. Experts also recommend that this product not be used without first diluting it in a tea, salve, or other mixture. The oil may also be distilled from scratch by boiling the leaves and bark of the plant until the oil separates, then collecting and storing that it in an airtight container.
Most of the commonly reported side effects of witch hazel oil stem from drinking witch hazel tea. Too much in one cup may lead to nausea, constipation, and vomiting. Drinking witch hazel tea on a regular basis may lead to liver damage, fatigue, and loss of appetite. These side effects may be very serious, so healthcare providers typically recommend that the tea be used rarely. Those who are on prescribed medication may wish to speak with a medical professional before ingesting any witch hazel products.

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