Witch hazel is a small tree with yellow flowers. The leaves and bark have been used ease swelling in skin problems, such as eczema and acne. Witch hazel is most often applied to the skin as a toner, salve, or lotion. It can also be taken orally as a pill, powder, or extract. Witch hazel can also be made into a tea.
There are no advised doses for witch hazel.
What Research Shows
May Be Effective
- Skin disorders —may ease symptoms in children C1
May Not Be Effective
- Eczema —may not ease symptoms A1
- Postpartum management —may not ease pain B1
Not Enough Data to Assess
Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.
It is likely safe to use witch hazel on the skin and to take it orally in small doses for a short time. Not enough studies have been done to say whether it is safe to use for a long period. It is also not known whether it is safe to take by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse.
A. Atopic Eczema
A1. Korting HC, Schäfer-Korting M, et al. Comparative efficacy of hamamelis distillate and hydrocortisone cream in atopic eczema. Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 1995;48(6):461-465.
B. Postpartum Management
B1. East CE, Begg L, et al. Local cooling for relieving pain from perineal trauma sustained during childbirth. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 May 16;(5):CD006304.
C. Skin Disorders
C1. Wolff HH, Kieser M. Hamamelis in children with skin disorders and skin injuries: results of an observational study. Eur J Pediatr. 2007 Sep;166(9):943-948.
D. Vaginal Dryness
D1. Henneicke-von Zepelin HH, Williams R, et al. Clinical trial shows lasting function of a new moisturizing cream against vaginal dryness. Wien Med Wochenschr. 2017 May;167(7-8):189-195.
Last reviewed July 2019 by EBSCO NAT Review Board
Eric Hurwitz, DC
Last Updated: 3/26/2020