Witch hazel extract comes from the leaves and bark of a deciduous shrub, Hamamelis virginiana, native to North America. American Indians recognized the medical value of this shrub, using it to cure inflammation, swelling, sexually transmitted diseases and tumors. Research indicates that this extract has effective astringent, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties due to the high tannin content and volatile oils. Witch hazel extract is available as a liquid or a gel. For bathing, use the liquid form of witch hazel. Baths containing witch hazel are especially suited for relieving itchiness and muscle aches.
Run a warm bath.
Add between 1/4 and 1/2 cup witch hazel to the bath water. Mix together with your arm.
Take your bath as normal. You can stay in the bath as long as the water remains a comfortable temperature.
The most commonly available liquid witch hazel has a high alcohol content. Look for witch hazel water with a lower alcohol content to get the most health benefits from your witch hazel bath.
If you prefer bubble baths, you can use the witch hazel along with your favorite bubble bath.
References and ResourcesDrugs.com; Witch Hazel; 2009
Home-Remedies-For-You.com; Treatment of Bruises with Witch Hazel; 2009
"Skin and Aging"; Natural Ingredients in Dermatology; Susan C. Taylor, et al.; July 2005
Mountain Rose Herbs: Witch Hazel Extract Profile;