Wild Crafted Witch Hazel
- 2 cups or more Witch Hazel twigs and attached leaves (Hamamelis virginiana)
- Distilled water
- 100-190 proof alcohol (food grade; not rubbing alcohol)
Chop witch hazel twigs and leaves finely; pruners work well. Place in appropriately-sized saucepan. Add enough distilled water to cover plant material. Decoct (simmer) for 1-2 hours. (Some sources recommend up to 8 hours). Allow to cool. Strain out plant material with cheesecloth, coffee filter, clean t-shirt, or whatever you have.
Do some math to make witch hazel liquid approximately 20% alcohol for shelf stability. (Remember, 100 proof = 50% alcohol; 190 proof = 95%). Add the alcohol, and store in jars in a cool, dark place for a year or more. Refrigeration will prolong shelf-life.
Use topically as an astringent on cuts, bug bites and stings, inflammation, and more.
If you wish to reduce the alcohol content for use (especially when used on your face), combine a splash of witch hazel with water in a cup, or simmer it to reduce alcohol content.