Hemorrhoids, also known as piles, are painful and swollen veins in anus or lower part of rectum. They occur because of increased pressure in the anal veins. The commonest cause is straining while passing stools. Other causes are constipation, prolonged sitting, anal infections, and certain disorders, such as cirrhosis.
The symptoms of hemorrhoids are anal itching, anal pain, anal bleeding, painful bowel movements and tender lumps around anus. You may find sitting to be painful. Complications can be formation of clots in the veins leading to death of surrounding tissue and severe bleeding leading to anemia.
Conventional treatment includes corticosteroid creams, stool softeners, sitz baths and sometimes surgery. However, there are several herbal remedies to choose from, which can help you deal with the symptoms of hemorrhoids.
Herbal Remedies For Hemorrhoids
Witch Hazel Cream Or Compress
Witch hazel is made from the bark and leaves of the shrub Hammelis virginiana. The active ingredients are tannins, gallic acid, flavonols, catechins, carvacol, hexenol, eugenol, saponins and choline.
Witch hazel stops bleeding as it is an astringent. It also relieves the swelling, itching and pain because it contains anti-inflammatory chemicals. It should be applied locally around the anal area. It comes in the form of distilled liquid, medicated pads and ointment.
Horse chestnut is made from the seeds and bark of young branches of the herb Aesculus hippocastanum. The active ingredient is a saponin called aescin. It relieves the inflammation and swelling. Aescin also improves the circulation of blood through veins and strengthens the walls of veins, thus reducing the leakage and fragility of veins.
You can consume horse chestnut either in the form of tea or capsules (90-150 mg aescin/day). Horse chestnut compresses are also available for external use. Its side effects include allergic reactions, bruising, bleeding, irritation of digestive system, kidney damage and liver damage.
Gotu kola herb (Centella asiatica) belongs to the parsley family and has a long history of use in Ayurvedic medicine. Extracts of the leaves of this herb are used medicinally. The active ingredients are saponins called triterpenic acids. These enhance the strength of the walls of the veins, improve the blood flow in the veins and decrease the inflammation.
The daily dose of the extract of gotu kola is 60-180 mg. Two to three cups of its decoction can be taken daily. Some of its side effects are liver damage, drowsiness, nausea, stomach upset and itching. Pregnant and nursing women should avoid it, though it may be safe if used externally.
Goldenrod is an aromatic herb (Solidago virgaurea) that has anti-inflammatory as well as diuretic properties. The parts of this herb used medicinally are the leaves and flowers. The active ingredients are bioflavonoids, which are anti-inflammatory.
You can take half cup of its decoction twice or thrice daily, or two droppersful of its tincture twice or thrice daily. Its side effects are allergic reactions, fluid retention, and increased blood pressure. It is contraindicated if you have chronic liver disease. Pregnant and nursing women should be cautious about its use since there are no known safety studies.
Psyllium herb (Plantago ovata) has high fiber content. This relieves the constipation by adding bulk to stool. The part used medicinally is the seed or husk.
Its dose is 7 g 2-3 times/day, or 1-2 teaspoons of its husk in water twice or thrice daily. Its side effects are bloating, gas, allergic reaction, lowered blood sugar, and kidney damage.
Butcher’s broom extract is derived from the plant Ruscus aculeatus. Its active ingredient is the saponin called ruscogenin, which is anti-inflammatory and a constrictor of veins. Its dose is 150 mg twice daily, in combination with 100 mg ascorbic acid and 150 mg hesperidin. Its side effects are nausea and stomach upset. Its safety during pregnancy and nursing has not been established.
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