Herb Infused Witch Hazel
This recipe is such a convenient preparation which either can be used alone or incorporated into cosmetic and medicinal recipes. And, it couldn’t be simpler to make!
Witch Hazel extract is produced from the leaves and bark of the North American shrub Witch-hazel, Hamamelis virginiana. It has astringent, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antibacterial, antifungal, and anesthetic properties, making it an invaluable ingredient for many different medicinal and cosmetic preparations.
I especially love using herbal infused witch hazel as a facial toner, often incorporate it into facial wash recipes, and a small dab works great on blemishes. Beneficial for all skin types from oily to dry and mature skin, Witch Hazel is often used as an aftershave, to cleanse oils from the skin, remove make-up, decrease bags under eyes and skin puffiness, reduce pore size, and to minimize varicose veins. Medicinally, Witch Hazel extract is often applied as a compress or added to bath water to assist with minor injuries, insect bites, hemorrhoids, skin irritation caused by poison ivy or oak, localized inflammations, and other conditions. Athletes sometimes rub Witch Hazel extract onto their arms or legs prior to workouts to help prevent muscle strain, or after a workout to help relieve soreness.
What you’ll need:
• Witch Hazel extract
It’s best to use a high quality organic Witch Hazel extract. Commercial Witch Hazel extracts usually contain more alcohol than actual Witch Hazel, and have only been distilled once. However, true Witch Hazel extracts (like the one offered by Mountain Rose Herbs) has been double distilled, and contains 86% Witch Hazel extract and only 14% alcohol. This makes it more soothing than the versions found in stores, and it lacks the alcohol sting and scent.
• Herb(s) of choice
Here some favorites, but feel free to be creative! You can make infuse just one or can make a blend: Basil, Calendula, Chamomile, Elder flowers, Green Sencha Leaf tea, Lavender flowers, Lemon Balm, Lemon peel, Lemon Verbena, Lemongrass, Nettle leaf, Orange Peel, Peppermint, Rose petals, Rosemary, Sage, Red Clover flowers, Vanilla beans.
1. Place the dried herbs in a glass mason jar, and cover completely with the Witch Hazel extract. Make sure that the Witch Hazel extract covers the herbs by at least 1-2” to account for swelling once that the herbs become hydrated. If the herbs swell and rise above the Witch Hazel extract, simply add more Witch Hazel extract until they are fully submerged.
2. Cap tightly and place in a cool, dark place like a cabinet or closet.
3. Allow to infuse for at least 2 weeks, shaking the jar daily or as often as you remember. You will notice that the Witch Hazel will quickly take on the scent and color of the herbs.
4. Once finished, strain the herbs out using cheesecloth or a fine cloth. Pour into a clean bottle, label, and enjoy!
The FDA has approved Witch Hazel distillate as safe for external use in skin care products. Avoid using Witch Hazel extract close to the mucus membranes or in the eyes, as it contains a small amount of alcohol. It is best to use on this product on unbroken skin. External use of Witch Hazel extract could result in minor skin irritation for some people. Do not use on serious burns, cuts, or other wounds.