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Witch Hazel is Not Just A Normal Herb! See Why Everyone Should Have it At Home!

Witch Hazel is Not Just A Normal Herb! See Why Everyone Should Have it At Home!

Witch hazel – it sounds like a hocus pocus ingredient that’s used in spells and magic potions. But if you have ever suffered from acne, stretch marks, hemorrhoids, or varicose veins, or if your baby has ever been plagued by a dreaded diaper rash, then you’ll be glad to know that witch hazel isn’t a mythical ingredient, and that it has the power to cure these and other common ailments.

But what exactly is witch hazel?

    In its most common form, witch hazel is a clear, inexpensive liquid that doesn’t get nearly the attention it deserves. With its multitude of uses and cure-all solutions, you’d think that witch hazel would be a staple in every medicine cabinet in the world. Yet many people still don’t realize how powerful this magical elixir can be.

    Witch hazel comes from a compound made of the leaves and bark of the North American witch-hazel shrub. Native Americans used to boil the stems of the shrub and use the resulting decoction to treat swelling, inflammation, and tumors. In modern times, witch hazel is still commonly used to treat swelling and inflammation, among other health woes like acne, bug bites, hemorrhoids, and bruising.

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    6 Major Benefits of Using Witch Hazel

    Relives Post-Partum Pain

    Hospitals usually give chilled witch hazel pads to women recovering from childbirth. Witch hazel has long been know to reduce swelling and soothe wounds, both of which are experienced by post-partum mothers.

    Soothes Diaper Rash

    A baby’s sensitive skin can be prone to the rubbing of the diaper, along with prolonged exposure to moisture in the diaper. Witch hazel offers a safe, natural alternative to diaper creams and chlorine wipes. Its astringent properties are similar to zinc oxide, a common ingredient found in most diaper creams.

    Cools Sunburn

    The anti-inflammatory properties can help cool your sunburn and provide much needed relief. Although this is a temporary solution, as it doesn’t actually make your sunburn disappear, it can feel soothing against burnt skin and help divert your attention from your pain.

    Repel Bugs

    Witch hazel can help you keep bugs at bay the natural way. Rather than coat your body in potentially hazardous bug sprays and chemicals, you can use witch hazel as a base in a homemade bug spray to keep those bloodsuckers from sharing their germs with you.

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    Prevent Body Odor

    You can create your very own all-natural deodorant using just one ingre dient: witch hazel. Just dab some under your arms to prevent body odor. This is an exceptional alternative to traditional deodorants that might contain harmful, hormone-disrupting ingredients, as well as a good solution for people with sensitive skin.

    Treat Acne and Other Skin Conditions

    As an astringent, witch hazel helps to tighten pores which can help prevent acne. This makes sense, since witch hazel has long been used to help fight infections, cure poison ivy, and reduce inflammation.

    The Side Effects to Using Witch Hazel

    Just because something is all natural doesn’t mean that it there aren’t any consequences to using it. However, in witch hazel’s case, risks of using it are relatively low.

    Although witch hazel is often used to reduce inflammation, it can actually cause inflammation if you rub it into your skin too often. In addition, some people might naturally be allergic or become allergic to witch hazel. Most doctors recommend you do not take witch hazel by mouth; rather, use it as a topical remedy only.

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    There’s only the slimmest chance of any of these side effects happening to you, but be aware that they can occur.

    How to Use Witch Hazel

    Depending on what you are wanting to treat with witch hazel will depend on how you use it. For those who want to try witch hazel as an acne or sunburn solution, it’s best to spot treat your acne by dabbing it directly onto the affected area. Spot treating can help ensure you do not further irritate your skin by rubbing large areas.

    You can also add witch hazel to a spray bottle to use as a deodorant or bug spray. You can then spray the solution directly on your skin.

    For post-partum treatments, you can apply witch hazel to sanitary pads and apply directly to swollen areas. Many moms recommend freezing the pads before using them, as the coolness of the pads can add extra relief.

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    Where to Buy Witch Hazel

    You’re in luck! Witch hazel can be found at pretty much any major grocery store, wellness stores, mass merchandise store, or pharmacies. It’s usually, but not always, found in the first aid aisle, alongside rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide. It’s also relatively inexpensive, too, about $3 for a 16 oz. bottle.

    If you can’t find witch hazel in any of your local stores, you can order online from retailers like Amazon, or sites that specialize in all natural solutions.

    What Makes Witch Hazel Better Than the Alternatives

    Granted, there are lots of solutions out there that offer the same solutions for the above benefits of witch hazel. So why wouldn’t you buy Desitin for your baby’s diaper rash or Proactiv to treat your acne?

    Keep in mind that most of those solutions don’t offer the all-natural benefits that witch hazel does.

    Witch hazel helps you eliminate your exposure and intake to potentially harmful chemicals, ones you may not even realize you’re exposed to. In addition, given witch hazel’s all-around versatility and inexpensive price tag, you can save yourself some space and money by stocking one product to take care of a multitude of tasks.

    But the only way to know for sure it to try it for yourself.

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    Alli Hill

    Freelance Writer and Marketing Consultant

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    Last Updated on August 15, 2018

    7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

    7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

    Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

    Video Summary

    Why is it important to train up our core strength?

    There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

    This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

    Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

    In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

    One Exercise, multiple benefits

    There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

    By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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    When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

    Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

    In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

    What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

    What will happen when you start doing planks every day

      1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

      Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

      • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
      • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
      • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
      • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

      2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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        Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

        Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

        3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

          Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

          4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

            Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

            A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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            A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

            On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

            5. You’ll improve overall balance

              Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

              6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

                Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

                7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                  Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                  How to hold a plank position

                  1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                  2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                  3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                  4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                  5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                  6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                  7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                  Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                  Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                    How to improve your plank time gradually

                    1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                    2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                    3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                    Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                    Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                    You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                    • Prolapse
                    • After prolapse surgery
                    • Pelvic pain conditions
                    • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                    • Previous childbirth
                    • Overweight

                    Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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