Herb Infused Witch Hazel

Hamamelis_virginiana

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, skin irritations, insect bites, hemorrhoids, rashes from 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.

 

Easy Peasy Herb Infused Witch Hazel

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, LemongrassNettle leaf, Orange Peel, Peppermint, Rose petals, Rosemary, Sage, Red Clover flowers, Vanilla beans.

Directions:

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!

lavendersprig2

Precautions:
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.

20 Responses to “Herb Infused Witch Hazel”

  1. avatar badhbhrua says:

    I’m really interested in making this infused Witch Hazel but am unsure about what proportion of dried herb to liquid to use. Can you advise?

    • avatar Irene says:

      Hi badhbhrua,

      Thank you so much for your question! You can add just a few teaspoons, tablespoons, or can almost fill the jar with dried herbs. It’s completely up to you, and if you prefer to make a strong or a mild preparation. The most important aspect is making sure that the herbs are fully submerged in the liquid.

      I usually use a few tablespoons of dried herb per cup of witch hazel extract, but it really depends on which herbs I’m using. For example, I might increase the amount if using roses or lavender, and decrease the amount for peppermint or other potent botanicals.

      If unsure of how much to add, you can always start with a lower amount and then add additional herbs later. If the infusion seems too strong, then simply add more witch hazel to dilute the blend.

      I hope that this helps, and thanks again!

      ~ Irene

  2. avatar Eva says:

    i am lover of herbs and its very useful and osm information

  3. avatar badhbhrua says:

    Thanks Irene! I thought that mght be the case but didn’t want to waste previous plant material if there were really tightly controlled portions. Can’t wait to try it out.

    • avatar Irene says:

      Hi badhbhrua,
      I completely understand not wanting to waste any precious botanical material. :-)
      Thank you again for the question, and I hope that you enjoy the recipe!
      ~ Irene

  4. [...] latest incarnation of my botanical toner is suggestive of The Mountain Rose Blog‘s recent recipe.  I extracted a select combination of plant parts I have grown, dried, [...]

  5. [...] an antiseptic spritzer. 7 tablespoons water, 1 tablespoon lavender infused witch hazel, 5-10 drops of lavender essential oil – all placed in a 4 oz spray [...]

  6. [...] are two DiY recipe for witch hazel extract: The Mountain Rose Blog and New Life on a Homestead if you’re [...]

  7. avatar eluveitie says:

    Hi, I’m just curious what the shelf life of herb-infused witch hazel would be. I can’t seem to find a reliable source for this information. I have seen approximately 3 months, but I would think the alcohol would help it last longer than that when no water is being added. Could it be good for at least a year? Thoughts? Thanks.

  8. avatar Irene says:

    Dear Eluveitie,

    Thank you for your question!

    I personally make small batches (a pint or so at a time), and use them within a few months. Because the witch hazel extract contains 14% alcohol, it should stay preserved for longer. I would use the infusions within 6 months, but agree that they may be good for a year.

    I hope that this helps, and thanks again!

    ~ Irene

  9. avatar hollywoodmd says:

    What about an infusion with alcohol free witch hazel? Would it work or would it spoil since there is no alcohol present?

    Andrew

    • avatar Irene says:

      Hi Andrew,

      Thank you for the great question!

      An infusion of Witch Hazel will spoil fairly quickly. I would use it within a few days, or within a week if refrigerated.

      Please let us know if you have any other questions or concerns, and thanks again!

      ~ Irene

  10. avatar Missynay says:

    Thank you for this wonderful article!

    Would this work with the root or bark portion of an herb? I would like to make this with herbs such as Oat bark or Bayberry root bark to apply to my legs for varicose veins. Will the alcohol in the witch hazel help to break these down so that they are effective?

    Thanks!
    Rene’

    • avatar Missynay says:

      I meant Oak bark. :)

    • avatar Irene says:

      Hi Rene’,

      Thank you for the great question!

      Since Witch Hazel extract only contains 14% grain alcohol, I’m not sure if the alcohol content would be high enough to draw out all of the medicinal properties from bark or roots. It would draw out some of the properties, but an alcohol percentage of 67-70% is usually preferred for roots and barks.

      Another way to craft this preparation would be to make a tincture with the bark and/or root, then add the tincture to the Witch Hazel extract. I believe that this method would make a stronger medicinal preparation. For information on making tinctures, we have a wonderful blog post titled “”Guide to Making Tinctures”: http://mountainroseblog.com/guide-tinctures-extracts/

      I hope that this helps! Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns, and thanks again!

      ~ Irene

  11. avatar hollywoodmd says:

    Tried a citrus infused witch hazel with orange and lime zest. Smelled great but the oils seemed to sit on top. Not what I was looking for. Any ideas to prevent this?

    Andrew

    • avatar Irene says:

      Hi Andrew,

      I’m so glad to hear how well your infused Witch Hazel Extract turned out! Wow, lime and orange sounds delightful. :-)

      Citrus zest contains essential oil and Witch Hazel Extract contains water. So, this infusion will naturally separate since it has both oil and water components. You can shake the infusion before use, but unfortunately, I don’t know of any permanent methods to prevent the oil from separating and settling to the top.

      Please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns, and thanks again!

      ~ Irene

  12. avatar KB says:

    Hi, I’m trying to make a potent extract to fight toenail fungus, I’m in Morocco so my options are limited, I do have some witch hazel (sent from the states) and there is ACV, can I combine part vinegar with the witch hazel and infuse the combined liquid? (I’m not sure how “organic” the ACV is, would that effect extraction? It’s shipped from France and has some preservative in it) Will extraction of my herbs be more effective if I combine the two? Or should I infuse one or the other and then simply add the other liquid before use?
    Thanks
    Kim

    • avatar Irene says:

      Dear Kim,

      Thank you for reading our blog, and for your question.

      Your idea of combining infused witch Hazel Extract with Apple Cider Vinegar sounds like a solid plan! I have never tried this before, so please let us know if it proves to be an effective treatment.

      In addition, here is a great article titled ” How to Treat Foot Fungus (a.k.a. Athlete’s Foot) Naturally” from Frugally Sustainable: http://frugallysustainable.com/2012/04/how-to-treat-foot-fungus-a-k-a-athletes-foot-naturally/

      I hope that this helps! Thank you again for your message, and for your support of Mountain Rose Herbs.

      ~ Irene

      • avatar KB says:

        OK, I’ll give it a shot. Can’t hurt, can it?
        Thanks for the link, I’m actually finally getting healthy nail growth thanks to henna foot treatments *love it* Did you know that henna does for your skin and nails what those chewable tablets the dentist gives you does for your teeth? Henna will dye healthy nail some shade of orange/red and areas that had fungus will be discolored or black. Helps keep track of your progress. Just fyi and in case anyone else wants a recommendation for natural nail (or skin) fungus cure. Recommend henna!!!! : ) You should write a blog on henna.

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