Witch hazel is obtained from the dried or fresh leaves, bark and roots of the Hamamelis virginiana plant, which is a perennial shrub native to North America. Rose water is derived from the flowers and rose hips of some species in the Rosa genus. Both witch hazel and rose water have a long history of use in folk medicine, primarily as topical agents for skin care purposes.
Witch Hazel Properties
Witch hazel contains volatile oils, resins and numerous phytochemicals including tannins, quercetin, kaempferol and eugenol. Phytochemicals are potent antioxidant compounds that help to neutralize free radicals and prevent them from causing damage to the body. The primary active ingredients in witch hazel are the tannins, which have astringent properties that help to tighten and constrict blood vessels and restore vessel and skin tone.
Witch Hazel Uses and Benefits
Extracts of witch hazel are taken orally for the herbal treatment of diarrhea and mucous colitis, as well as to stop the vomiting of blood, according to "Nursing Herbal Remedies Handbook." Witch hazel is primarily used topically, however, to reduce skin inflammations, promote wound healing and enhance overall skin health. It helps to relieve itching and soothe minor burns, as well as to treat insect bites, vaginitis, hemorrhoids, sunburn, poison ivy, diaper rash, eczema, bedsores, bruises and varicose veins. In addition, when combined with other skin protective agents, it may help to enhance protection from the sun. Witch hazel tea may be used as a gargle to soothe a sore throat. Witch hazel is available in liquid tincture form and it is available in most drugstores.
Rose Water Properties
Rose water is a byproduct of the manufacturing of rose oil, which is found in perfumes and fragrant powders, facial cleansers and toners. Rose water contains trace amounts of vitamins C and E, and similar to witch hazel, it is a rich source of phytochemicals, including tannins. Due to the tannins, it too has astringent properties. Rose Magazine reports that it also has antiseptic properties, meaning it helps to disinfect wounds and prevent the growth and proliferation of harmful microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses.
Rose Water Uses and Benefits
Rose water can be used as a toner, as it helps to tighten and tone the capillaries just below the skin, reduce redness and soothe irritated skin. Rose water may be especially valuable for dry, sensitive and aging skin. Due to the antiseptic properties, rosewater may also be used as a rinse for the herbal treatment of eye infections. Rose water is widely available in drugstores, but for the best results, ensure the rose water is derived from genuine rose oil and not from synthetic rose essence.