Health Guide

Witch hazel

What is it?

Witch Hazel is an herbal medicine used on the skin to treat hemorrhoids, bruises, skin problems, rashes, and swelling.

Other names for Witch Hazel include: Hamamelis, Snapping Hazel, Winter Bloom, Spotted Alder, and Tobacco Wood.

Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist if you need more information about this medicine or if any information in this leaflet concerns you.

Before Using:

Tell your doctor if you

  • are taking medicine or are allergic to any medicine (prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) or dietary supplement)
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medicine
  • are breastfeeding
  • have any other health problems, such as high blood pressure or heart or blood vessel disease


Talk with your caregiver about how much Witch Hazel you should take. The amount depends on the strength of the medicine and the reason you are taking Witch Hazel. If you are using this medicine without instructions from your caregiver, follow the directions on the medicine bottle. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than the directions tell you to.

To store this medicine:

Keep all medicine locked up and away from children. Store medicine away from heat and direct light. Do not store your medicine in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Heat or moisture may cause the medicine to break down and not work the way it should work. Throw away medicine that is out of date or that you do not need. Never share your medicine with others.


  • Before taking Witch Hazel, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Do not eat or drink Witch Hazel (3)
  • If the problem does not clear up within 6 weeks or if you experience leg swelling, call your health care giver (4)

Side Effects:

Stop taking your medicine right away and talk to your doctor if you have any of the following side effects. Your medicine may be causing these symptoms which may mean you are allergic to it.

  • Breathing problems or tightness in your throat or chest
  • Chest pain
  • Skin hives, rash, or itchy or swollen skin

Other Side Effects:

You may have the following side effects, but this medicine may also cause other side effects. Tell your doctor if you have side effects that you think are caused by this medicine.

  • Taking more than 1 gram of Witch Hazel by mouth may lead to nausea (upset stomach), vomiting (throwing up), or constipation (hard time having a bowel movement) (3)


1. Fetrow CW & Avila JR: Witch Hazel. In: Professional's Handbook of Complementary and Alternative Medicines. Springhouse Corporation, Springhouse, PA; 1999.

2. Bradley PR, editor: British Herbal Compendium, Vol 1. British Herbal Medicine Association, Bouremouth, UK; 1992.

3. Anon: Witch Hazel. In: DerMarderosian A (ed): The Review of Natural Products. Facts and Comparisons Inc, St Louis, MO; 1997.

4. Facinformation: Posterine(R) salbe. DrKade, Pharmazeutische Fabrik GmbH, Berlin, Germany; 1997.

Last Updated: 7/4/2018
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