Witch hazel has a ton of uses — even for survival. It is inexpensive and it’s a must have item for around your home and would make a great addition to your first aid kit. Here are my top 10 survival uses for this awesome product.
Note: As with many herbal remedies, certain people, like women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, should talk to their physician before using witch hazel. When using witch hazel, let your doctor know if you experience leg swelling, breathing problems, chest tightness or pain, hives, new rashes or irritations, nausea, upset stomach, vomiting or constipation. Most people who use witch hazel will not experience these adverse side effects, but some will, so notify a health official if any problems are noticed. The information in this article is for informative purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. Consult a doctor for further information.
1. Clean Wounds
Witch hazel can be used to clean and disinfect minor cuts and scrapes. The antiseptic properties will reduce the chances that a bacterial infection will take root and will also speed up the healing process.
2. Stop Bleeding
Along with the disinfecting benefits of witch hazel, it will also help your wound to stop bleeding faster as it is known to tighten up the skin.
3. Relief for Bug Bites and Stings
With the summer season comes insect bites! Mosquitoes, ants, chiggers, and other biting insects are in full swing. Apply witch hazel to your insect bites to provide relief from itching and swelling. It also promotes less scarring – which is a major plus, as chigger bites (when scratched) can leave scars.
4. Fade Bruises
Witch hazel applied to bruises can help fade discoloration and speed up the healing process of any underlying damage. Apply witch hazel to the bruised area 3 times a day with a cotton ball and your bruise will disappear in no time!
5. Cool a Sunburn
The next time you need to treat a sunburn, mix some witch hazel in with your aloe vera gel. The anti-inflammatory power of witch hazel will aid your skin in healing while it and the aloe help to cool the burn. This treatment can also help to prevent skin from blistering and peeling in the days following a bad sunburn.
6. Relieve Your Chicken Pox
Having chickenpox is just a miserable experience for anyone! Witch hazel’s wonderful soothing properties are great to relieve that itch – and it helps promote less scarring. Try mixing water and witch hazel in a 1:1 blend and applying it directly to the itchy areas. Allow it to air dry if you can. That way it will have time to soak into the skin and really work its magic. Repeat this process as often as necessary.
7. Remove Ticks
Ticks can’t stand witch hazel. If you find a tick rooted into your skin, deposit a few drops of witch hazel on top of it. It should loosen up its grip. At that point, you can grab it and pull it off successfully. You can then disinfect the site using the same witch hazel. Also works on pets.
8. Heal Cold Sores
When you feel that little tingle that signifies you have a cold sore coming on, try applying a little witch hazel to the spot, using a cotton swab. This may actually prevent it from becoming a full-on blister. If the cold sore blister has already formed, put the witch hazel on it as soon as you can. It should speed up the healing process and make it go away faster.
9. Ease Sore Throats
Make some warm tea out of witch hazel, myrrh, and cloves. Use this mixture to gargle. Once again, the anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties of witch hazel will come to your rescue. It works wonders on sore throats!
10. Soothe Poison Ivy and Poison Oak
Poison Ivy and Poison Oak rashes are a miserable experience and can spread quickly with scratching! Witch hazel reduces itching, relieves swelling, and promotes less scarring. Next time you are hiking or camping, pack witch hazel with your first aid kit!
Want to know more about home remedies or multiple uses for certain products? Checkout these other great articles from us here at Survival Life and our friends at Pioneer Settler: