Monday, April 14, 2008

Witch Hazel

By Mary Welty Medicinal Parts: leaves and bark; as distilled Witch Hazel water. Description: Witch hazel is a deciduous shrub or small tree which grows in damp woods from Nova Scotia to Georgia and Nebraska; it is also cultivated elsewhere for its autumn-blooming flowers. Properties and Uses: Astringent, hemostatic, sedative, tonic. Witch hazel leaves and bark have served mostly to make astringent preparations which have been taken internally for diarrhea and used externally as a rinse or gargle for mouth and throat irritations and as a vaginal douche for vaginitis. For skin irritations, bruises, insect bites and stings, minor burns and poison ivy, an ointment made from the fluid extract or a poultice can be applied. A poultice made from the inner bark is said to be effective for hemorrhoids and for eye inflammation. The inner bark also has sedative and hemostatic properties.* Witch Hazel has so many day-to-day uses, that I find it surprising people know so little about it. Today, witch hazel can be purchased at virtually any pharmacy or drug store. Witch hazel is generally found next to the rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide. As always, check with your health care professional before administering any type of herbal remedy. That said, A witch hazel compress is excellent for treating bruises, minor scrapes and sprains, and as I learned first hand, for reducing swelling and alleviating the pain associated with inflammation. For years and years (more than I care to recall) I worked as a waitress. Somewhere along the way I managed to bang up my ankle and had a cartilage fragment floating about in there wreaking havoc. After a 7 or 8 hour shift on my feet, my ankle would swell to about twice its normal size. I was popping ibuprofen like candy, and hobbling along like a 90 year-old. After a couple of years of this, I finally started searching for an alternative. Lo and behold, there was the witch hazel. After work, I would soak a compress in witch hazel, lay it across my throbbing ankle and within minutes the pain and swelling would start to subside. Within 20 minutes I could walk normally again with little or no discomfort. In contrast, it would take a minimum of 4 to as many as 6 ibuprofen or buffered aspirin and a minimum of 2 hours before I experienced any relief from the discomfort. For many who suffer adverse reactions to ibuprofen, aspirin, or even Tylenol, this should be welcome news. *The Herb Book, John Lust, Bantam edition, 1974 M.K. Welty hosts an informational website on herbs, herbal remedies and herbal gardening. For more great tips on Using Herbs or to locate purveyors of organic herbs and herbal remedies, Please visit us at: http://www.UsingHerbs.Com Article Source: phentermine to order
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