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Hamamelis virginiana

oczarnspHamamelis virginiana, a species of witch hazel also known as "Indian Gold", is a plant with valuable therapeutic properties. A plant, which, unfortunately, is little known in Poland, has found use in few preparations available at pharmacies (Floderm cream).

What does witch hazel look like and where does it come from?

Witch hazel can grow as a shrub or as a small tree. A distinctive feature of the plant is its yellow flowers, which curiously bloom in late autumn or winter. The plant comes from North America, where it was used by Native Americans. Currently the cultures of the plant are also found in Poland and mostly for decoration.

Active ingredient contents in witch hazel

The pharmaceutical material from the plant are its bark and leaves. The extract from bark and leaves of witch hazel include tannins, flavonoids, saponins, acids (gallic and elagic), as well as leucoanthocyanides. The action of the substances is multidirectional. First, witch hazel is a styptic plant material, i.e. it reduces bleeding, exudates and seeping of systemic fluids from wounds. Another direction of action of witch hazel extract is sealing of blood vessels. The extract is also anti-inflammatory, it accelerates healing of wounds and has an antibacterial action.

Indications for administration of the witch hazel extract

Due to its styptic action, witch hazel extract can be used in the reduction of bleeding and exudation of wounds. The styptic action is employed in palliative treatment of haemmorhoids (rectal varicose veins). Another obvious advantage is the ability to accelerate granulation of the wound. This allows using the witch hazel extract to help regenerate damaged skin. Witch hazel can also help care for skin with bruises, contusions and abrasions.

The ability of sealing the blood vessels is a property which makes witch hazel recommended for persons with redness of complexion (i.e. who find spider veins and varicose veins on the face and extremities) and for all who wish to boost the immune functions of the body. Sealing of blood vessels enables a more effective performance of numerous defence processes of the body triggered by the invasion of pathogens. Improved tightness of blood vessels also means better blood circulation and lower risk of venous haemostasis, and of varicose veins.

The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory action supported by the styptic effect allows using extract of witch hazel in the alleviation of juvenile acne symptoms. Witch hazel extract contributes to the restriction of skin pores, thereby reducing their prominence. At the same time it inhibits the inflammatory process in eczema and that further inhibits the infection from spreading, and accelerates the healing of the skin lesion.

What forms of witch hazel are available at pharmacies?

Extracts of witch hazel are available in creams (Floderm) and sometimes in tonics. Floderm is a cream for the care of nearly all skin types: dry, combination and normal. It is also suitable for skin that is prone to reddening, poorly resistant to temperature variations or exposed to extreme weather conditions. Not only does Floderm reduce the visibility of blood vessels under the skin, it also moisturises, regenerates and rejuvenates the skin. It is the right choice for poor healing of burned skin, and for bruises, blood extravasation or insect bites.

Products containing Hamamelis virginiana

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