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What are the risks of taking witch hazel?

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Witch hazel is relatively safe, but there can be some risks:

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.

Health dangers. If you use witch hazel in appropriate amounts, your risks are relatively minor. But if you take high doses by mouth, it may cause kidney or liver damage. Although witch hazel contains a known cancer-causing ingredient, there's likely no need for concern. The amounts are very small. Because studies are limited, avoid using witch hazel if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Interactions. There aren't any known interactions with drugs, foods, or other herbs and supplements.

From: Witch Hazel: Uses and Risks WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

Dweck, A. Ethnobotanical Use of Plants, Part 4: The American Continent.

MacKay, D. , April 2001. Alternative Medicine Review

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database: "Witch Hazel."

Thring, T. , 2009. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Reuter, J. , November 2010. Journal of the German Society of Dermatology

Wolff, H. , September 2007. European Journal of Pediatrics

FDA: "Rulemaking History of OTC Skin Protectant Drug Products."

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on July 22, 2017

SOURCES:

Dweck, A. Ethnobotanical Use of Plants, Part 4: The American Continent.

MacKay, D. , April 2001. Alternative Medicine Review

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database: "Witch Hazel."

Thring, T. , 2009. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Reuter, J. , November 2010. Journal of the German Society of Dermatology

Wolff, H. , September 2007. European Journal of Pediatrics

FDA: "Rulemaking History of OTC Skin Protectant Drug Products."

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on July 22, 2017

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