The leaves and bark of the North American witch-hazel, Hamamelis virginiana, may be used to produce an astringent decoction as a cooling agent for various uses in traditional medicine, herbalism, and skincare products. This decoction was widely used for medicinal purposes by Native Americans and is typically sold in modern pharmacies as witch hazel water or as semisolid ointments, creams, gels or salves. It is commonly used to treat diaper rash in infants. As an ingredient or topical agent, witch hazel water is regulated in the United States as an over-the-counter drug for external use only to soothe minor skin irritations.
Witch hazel water is used externally on sores, bruises, and for skin care, such as topical treatment of psoriasis, eczema, aftershave products, cracked or blistered skin, insect bites, poison ivy, and skin burns. It is found in numerous over-the-counter hemorrhoid preparations.