Witch Hazel: Photo Credit, ISP
Witch Hazel: Photo Credit, ISP

Witch hazel has long been used as an antiseptic in first aid. However, witch hazel hydrosol also has other uses. In addition, it is important to remember that witch hazel hydrosol is not the same as store-bought witch hazel. Here’s more information.

In all cases, consult a certified aromatherapist and/or a qualified health care practitioner, for specific advice pertaining to your situation. This post doesn’t replace the advice of a health care professional and does not claim to cure with the use of aromatherapy; it is for educational purposes only.

Witch Hazel Botanical Profile

Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) is a plant that belongs to the Hamamelidaceae botanical family. It is a Fall or winter flowering shrub with spidery-looking, spicy blooms. It also produces a fruit that is literally launched from it’s pod on maturity. Witch hazel is steam distilled to produce a hydrosol.

Witch Hazel Hydrosol

Witch hazel hydrosol is made up of 70 – 80% ethanol content and 2 – 9% tannin content (Price and Price, 2004). The ethanol content of the hydrosol should be compared to store-bought, over-the-counter witch hazel solutions; these solutions typically have 15% ethanol content and may have alcohol added to them, as well.

Witch hazel hydrosol has several therapeutic properties for aromatherapy use including as an analgesic, anti-inflammatory agent, an antiseptic, and an astringent.

Witch Hazel Hydrosol for First Aid

Perhaps one of the most common uses for witch hazel hydrosol is for first aid. Use it for help with wounds, cuts, and scrapes.

You can either use it in a spray bottle or soak some on a cotton ball and apply to the area. In addition, you can use it in a compress – either on its own or combined with other appropriate hydrosols and/or essential oils.

Witch Hazel Hydrosol as a Facial Toner

As witch hazel hydrosol has astringent properties, it is an excellent addition to skin care – especially in use as a facial toner.

Combine it with another hydrosol – such as rose – and/or appropriate essential oils. Soak a cotton ball with the mixture and apply to the face.

Witch Hazel Hydrosol for Management of Spots

As witch hazel hydrosol has anti-inflammatory properties, it is a good tool to manage unwanted spots and blemishes that erupt on the skin. Simply soak a small amount of the hydrosol onto a cotton ball and apply to the affected area. Apply daily.

Learn More About Hydrosols

The Sedona Aromatherapie September newsletter contained a short profile of witch hazel. Each quarter the newsletter features a plant that is used in aromatherapy.

Sign up for the Sedona Aromatherapie Certification Course in Aromatherapyto learn more about hydrosols and how to use them in aromatherapy. To learn more, visit the courses home page.


  • Author is a certified aromatherapist, published author, and aromatherapy business owner

  • Price, Len, Price, Shirley, 2004, Understanding Hydrolats: The Specific Hydrosols for Aromatherapy UK: Churchill Livingstone

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