Parts Used & Where Grown
Although native to North America, witch hazel now also grows in Europe. The leaves and bark of the tree are used in herbal medicine.
How It Works
Tannins and volatile oils are the main active constituents in witch hazel. These constituents contribute to the strong astringent effect of witch hazel. Pharmacological studies have suggested that witch hazel strengthens veins and is anti-inflammatory.1,2 Topical creams are currently used in Europe to treat inflammatory skin conditions, such as eczema. One double-blind trial found that a topical witch hazel ointment (applied four times per day) was as effective as the topical anti-inflammatory drug bufexamac for people with eczema.3 However, another trial found that witch hazel was no better than a placebo when compared to hydrocortisone for people with eczema.4 Witch hazel is approved in Germany for relief of local mouth inflammations such as canker sores.