GABA is a neurotransmitter that blocks impulses between nerve cells in the brain. Low levels of GABA may be linked to:
Anxiety or mood disorders
Researchers suspect that GABA may boost mood or have a calming, relaxing effect on the nervous system.
Applying witch hazel to the skin is the most common way it is used -- and the safest.
People sometimes take witch hazel by mouth. When taken that way it is used to try to treat conditions as varied as:
Vomiting or coughing up blood
Colds and fevers
Witch hazel may bring some relief from hemorrhoids or skin irritations and lessen minor bleeding. Witch hazel extracts contain antioxidant compounds that may protect against sunburn and aging from the sun.
But the evidence is thin on its use for other conditions. Researchers have more work to do to demonstrate its effectiveness.
These are typical dosages of witch hazel:
By mouth: 2 grams of dried leaves three times daily or as a tea.
On the skin: 5 to 10 grams of leaf and bark simmered in 250 milliliters of water or undiluted.
As an alcohol extract (commonly available in pharmacies): Saturate a piece of cloth and apply to the affected area.
Rectal area. By suppository, use 0.1 to 1 gram leaf and bark applied one to three times daily. When applied to anal area, witch hazel water may be applied up to six times a day or after bowel movements.
Can you get witch hazel naturally from foods?
Witch hazel is not found naturally in foods.
What are the risks of taking witch hazel?
Witch hazel is relatively safe.
Side effects. Stomach upset may result from taking witch hazel by mouth. When you apply it to skin, it may, rarely, cause inflammation (contact dermatitis). But even children tend to tolerate it well on the skin.