Go Ad-Free
logoThe People's Perspective on Medicine

Witch Hazel Fights Off Mosquitoes

Q. I was too lazy to put on jeans yesterday afternoon and went out to weed the garden in shorts. I had no insect repellent, so of course the mosquitoes ate me alive.

I was in a hurry to finish the job, but the bites itched. I got some witch hazel for the itching and poured it all over my legs, then returned to the garden for half an hour. I was amazed: I could see the critters flitting around my legs, but not one lit and took a bite.

I surely learned my lesson about preparation being worth the time. But I was also fascinated that witch hazel served as an emergency repellent. It also minimized the itching from the earlier bites.

A. Witch hazel is an alcohol extract of the shrub Hamamelis. This astringent has been used on the skin for centuries to relieve bruises, sprains, minor injuries and irritations, including insect bites.

This is the first we’ve heard that witch hazel might discourage mosquitoes. The effect is probably short-lived and we wouldn’t suggest relying on it where serious mosquito-borne diseases like West Nile virus are a threat.

Rate this article
4.2- 44 ratings
About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.”.
Tired of the ads on our website?

Now you can browse our website completely ad-free for just $5 / month. Stay up to date on breaking health news and support our work without the distraction of advertisements.

Browse our website ad-free
Join over 150,000 Subscribers at The People's Pharmacy

We're empowering you to make wise decisions about your own health, by providing you with essential health information about both medical and alternative treatment options.