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5 summertime first-aid essentials

By: Matt Hickman on Oct. 16, 2009, 11:22 p.m.
Bulbs of witch hazel (Hamamelis mollis) on a branch

Photo: Dinkum/Wikimedia Commons [CC by SA-3.0]

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Witch hazel

Never mind the spooky, witchy-poo name — products containing essential oils from the witch hazel shrub should be in everyone's medicine cabinet, first-aid kit and camping backpack. Witch hazel is a powerful, tannin-filled natural astringent ideal for healing summertime blisters, bug bites and bruises. It also helps clear pimples and hemorrhoids. And no, you needn't search for witch hazel at your local wiccan supply store, herbalist or dealer of esoterica — preparations are available at your local pharmacy or drugstore.