Natural Solutions for Hemorrhoids

natural solutions for hemorrhoids

Dear Annie,

I woke up this morning with terrible, painful, hemorrhoids. Is there anything natural I can do? I am somewhat constipated and have recently quit smoking (about a week ago,) but otherwise am a very healthy woman in my late 30’s.

Thank you for reaching out, I am so sorry to hear about your pain. Hemorrhoids are a common symptom of drastic dietary and lifestyle changes. Even positive changes can shift our bodies internal chemistry, thereby shifting the floral balance of our gut, specifically, in the rectum and anus.

The good news is that natural and herbal remedies can help relieve the pain, sooth inflammation and vitalize the system, helping it return to a more balanced or harmonious state.

As always let us begin by looking at the physiology of hemorrhoids, then we’ll get into some treatment recommendations.

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    About Hemorrhoids

    Hemorrhoids are varicose veins in and around the anus and rectum. Varicose veins are tender, swollen, twisted veins, where blood pools, rather than flowing smoothly. Hemorrhoids are a common condition, especially in western countries like the United States, Australia, and Great Britain, counties where there is a low emphasis on dietary fiber, and where people tend to eat more processed foods and get less exercise.

    Two basic types of Hemorrhoids – Internal and External

    The two main types of Hemorrhoids are internal or external. Either type can manifest individually or both at the same time. 

    Internal Hemorrhoids

    Here the swollen, stagnant veins are inside the rectum. This type isn’t usually a big problem as they don’t normally cause discomfort. In fact, many people don’t even feel them or know they’re there. The main symptoms include intermittent bleeding along with bowel movements, seen as a show of bright red blood on a tissue or in the toilet. You may also notice puss passing along with the stool, especially during difficult movements. Sometimes, internal hemorrhoids can cause slight irritation, itching or burning during or after a bowel movement.

    Prolapsed Hemorrhoid - a progression on internal hemorrhoids

    Internal and external hemorrhoids

    Internal hemorrhoids can become more problematic if they prolapse. When hemorrhoids prolapse, the swollen vein protrudes below the anal opening appearing like small grapelike masses around the anal sphincter. A prolapsed hemorrhoid can be very painful.

    External Hemorrhoids

    Ordinarily more problematic, external hemorrhoids present as swollen, inflamed, painful, veins under the skin around the anus. Common symptoms include rectal pain, itching, generalized discomfort, bleeding, and swelling around the anus. 

    Thrombosed Hemorrhoid - progressed form external hemorrhoids

    Almost exclusively an issue associated with external hemorrhoids, a thrombosed hemorrhoid occurs when blood pools in an already stagnant hemorrhoidal vein and forms a blood clot. Presenting as a hard lump near the anal opening. This is a very painful and uncomfortable situation with severe swelling, pain, and tenderness. It may be difficult to have bowel movements, or even sit or stand for any length of time.

    When to go to the Doctor

    Anytime there is rectal bleeding go to your doctor. DO NOT assume it is hemorrhoids. Rectal bleeding is a symptom of several serious and life-threatening illnesses, including cancer. If you have rectal bleeding, go to your doctor!

    Common Causes of Hemorrhoids.

    • Pregnancy
    • Change in diet and lifestyle habits.
    • Constipation
    • Straining or irritation when passing a stool
    • A diet heavy in processed foods and low in dietary fiber
    • Dehydration
    • Chronic diarrhea
    • Liver disease
    • Excessive alcohol intake, especially beer

    Holistic and Herbal Treatments

    When using herbal and natural therapies it is important to see each person and their situation as unique. As herbalists we look beyond the symptoms (in this case hemorrhoids,) to the root cause. With this in mind let us return to the initial question where an otherwise healthy adult woman is experiencing external and possibly thrombosed hemorrhoids.

    Pregnancy and hemorrhoids

    My guess is that the hemorrhoids are caused by a drastic lifestyle change, in this case quitting smoking.  Nicotine is a stimulating laxative, meaning that it encourages bowel movements by increasing contractions of intestinal muscles. Plus, chronic use of laxatives can make us dependent on their use.   Further, constipation, and other intestinal difficulties like nausea and gas are common symptoms of withdrawal from tobacco products. Unfortunately, symptoms like these may persist for a few weeks, while the body’s chemistry finds a new healthier harmony.

    Holistic Suggestions

    Lifestyle adjustments, along with self-care and herbal remedies, go a long way to restore the system. Easing not only gut-and intestinal related symptoms but also aiding in overall nicotine withdrawal process. Let’s start with lifestyle suggestions.

    • Keep stools soft – Hard or difficult bowel movements can irritate sensitive, painful tissue. Natural methods of soften stools include drinking plenty of water, taking 1 teaspoon of psyllium husks in warm water or milk before bed, or taking triphala between meals or at night. (More about triphala below.)
    • Diet – Eat plenty of plant fiber to prevent constipation and encourage easier defecation. A good way to accomplish this is to add three servings of green leafy vegetables, one cup brown rice or other whole grain daily, along with at least 2 servings of low starch fruit (like berries or citrus.) I find cooked veggies easier to digest.
    • Avoid junk food and processed foods – When first quitting smoking, many people find themselves eating a lot of foods they would not customarily eat. Eating snack foods can seem to take some of the edge off cigarette cravings (it’s a hand to mouth thing.) However, healthy choices, like celery sticks, carrots and the like may help reduce the length of time dealing with withdrawal. Junk food, like candy and chips, may worsen symptoms, lengthening the time it takes the body to heal.
    • Drink plenty of water – Water is our best diuretic. Drinking plenty of fresh clean water every day helps soften bowel movements and flush toxins. Drink ½ your body weight in ounces water every day.
    • Probiotics – Probiotic supplements help re-establish healthy balance in the gut by adding beneficial microflora. Favorable bowel flora acts to both decrease inflammation and return the bowel and colon to natural environment and its natural rhythm. When purchasing a probiotic, look for a supplement with between 50 and 75 billion CFU’s (colony forming units). Choose a supplement that has 10 or more probiotic strains, such as Bacillus coagulans, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium, and Streptococcus thermophilus strains.
    • Gentle exercise or go for a walk – Walking, practicing yoga or Thai chi, swimming and water aerobics help encourage regular bowel movements, improve circulation, and strengthen muscles in the pelvic area and lower back. Exercise and walking is also a good way to work off any uncomfortable feeling associated with nicotine withdrawal.
    • Keep the anal area clean – Rather than using dry TP, wash the area around the anus with a soft cloth and clean water.

    Time honored (and effective) Hemorrhoid Remedies

    Black tea bags

    black tea bag poultice for hemorrhoids

    Black tea bag compresses are highly astringent and help decrease the swelling, itch and generally uncomfortable feelings of hemorrhoids. To prepare as a compress, steep 1 regular, commercial black tea bag in ¼ cup boiling water until everything is cool. Discard the liquid, slightly wring the liquid from the bag and apply it to the hemorrhoids. Leave in place for up to 30 minutes. 

    *Be warned – although this is a safe and effective remedy, the tea will permanently stain any fabric or bedding. Try using a soft cloth or menstrual pad in an old pair of underwear to hold the tea bag in place.     

    Herbal Suppository

    Herbal suppositories allow for herbal preparations to be inserted into body orifices, in this case the rectum. They are easy to make and to use. (See the recipe below.) 

    For the treatment of hemorrhoids, I like to use herbal astringents along with those that sooth and cool tissue to relieve pain and swelling. Herbs like White Oak Bark, Yarrow (especially with bleeding,) Calendula, Marshmallow root, Yerba Mansa and Witch Hazel are especially useful. Essential oils such as lavender, geranium, and tea tree oil are also useful.

    Insert the suppository into the anus nightly to shrink the hemorrhoid and to relieve itching and burning.

    Sitz bath

    Sitting in a shallow bath of warm or room temperature herbal-infused water is helps relieve inflammation, sooths irritation and keeps the area clean. I like to use astringent and vulnerary (soothing, and healing) herbs for this purpose. Witch hazel is a popular herb for this purpose, as is Yerba Mansa, Plantain, black tea infusion (kept instead of throwing it out from above) Yarrow and more. 

    To make a sitz bath, make an herbal infusion by pouring 16 ounces of boiling water over 1 ounce of herb. Stir, cover, and let steep at least 20 minutes or until cool enough to handle easily. Strain into the bathtub, or other tube for sitting, and fill with cool to lukewarm water. The water need only be deep enough to submerge the anus. Sit comfortably for about 20 minutes.

    Topical application of oil or salve

    Apply your favorite healing salve, coconut oil, castor oil or cooling medicated oil to clean hemorrhoids for relief. I like to use Complete Tissue Repair salve by Wonderment Gardens, which has many of the ingredients mentioned here as well as others that speed healing, relieve inflammation and reduce pain. 

    Herbal Suggestions

    Herbal remedies will focus on harmonizing gut flora and supporting intestinal function to eliminate problems like gas and constipation. We want to decrease any pain, discomfort, and inflammation. Additionally, we want to choose herbs that strengthen and stabilize venous integrity, relax the nervous system (to ease withdrawal,) with possible affinities to the cardiovascular and respiratory system.

    Aloe Vera Gel/Juice (Aloe spp.)

    All types of hemorrhoids seem to respond well to Aloe Vera Gel. As a fantastic tonic for the blood, liver, and spleen, Aloe Vera is cooling, soothing, anti-inflammatory, and astringent. As a bonus, Aloe harmonizes the digestive fire. For best results take ½ cup of pure organic aloe juice or gel up to 3 times per day.

    I like to add a pinch of Turmeric and/or Ginger to enhance its supportive action and help relieve pain in lower digestive tract.

    Turmeric (Curcuma Longa)

    Turmeric cleanses blood and lymph tissue. It dispels blood stagnation by thinning the blood and promoting circulation. Additionally, the root helps prevent and dissolve blood clots, is a powerful pain reliever, heals gut mucosa, and improves intestinal flora. 

    Try adding ¼ cup powdered organic Turmeric to 1 quart (32 ounces) of Aloe Juice. Shake the mixture well and refrigerate. Take ½ cup, 2 or 3 times per day, shaking well before each use. If you find it hard to take, try adding a little apple juice or better yet cranberry or pomegranate juice, both of which are also indicated for toxic blood conditions.

    Turmeric Root and hemorrhoids

    Turmeric also makes a useful paste to decrease the pain and swelling of sensitive hemorrhoidal tissue. Simply mix the powder with castor or sesame oil and place the pack over the anal opening. This works well at bedtime. However, be sure to put a cloth or menstrual pad over the paste as anything that Turmeric touches will be dyed a beautiful yellow-orange.

    Triphala (The three fruits)

    A traditional Ayurvedic formula, Triphala is mixture of three important fruits of India: amalaki (Emblica officinalis,) bibhitaki (Terminalia belerica,) and haritaki (Terminalia chebula.) Each fruit is considered a jewel in itself. When combined, they create a rejuvenating tonic that works to reduce blockages and restore natural function to every organ and system in the body. For our purpose, Triphala helps flush out toxic residue from the digestive tract, increases the colon’s ability to absorb nutrients and reduces the tendency to disease. It also acts as an excellent, gentle, non-habit-forming laxative, to support regular bowel movements.

    Take Triphala in the evening, at least an hour after your evening meal. Add ½ to 1 teaspoon Triphala powder to 1 cup boiling water. Let steep for at least 10 minutes or until it is cool enough to drink. Strain and drink. If you don’t like the taste, honey or milk (or both) may be added. 

    Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum)

    The fruit of this large deciduous tree is commonly used to treat hemorrhoids and varicose veins of all types. Studies show Horse Chestnut fruit extracts are an effective treatment for venous insufficiency and vascular fragility, helping to strengthen the vein walls, reduce swelling of the blood vessels and protect the integrity of capillaries. The extract may be used internally or externally, and also help improve circulatory elasticity and help prevent the breakdown of collagen that keeps the skin strong and smooth.

    The recommended dose is 2 to 5 ml twice per day internally. Externally the extract can be added to an herbal suppository or applied locally as needed.

    Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus)

    A relative of blueberries, both the leaves and berries of the bilberry plant may be used. (I like to mix them for the strongest effect.). Bilberry acts to tone and astringe capillaries and blood vessels. It enhances circulation and improves micro circulation, helping to prevent damage to vascular walls. Thus, making it useful anytime capillaries, veins and blood vessels are stressed, stagnant or breaking down. 

    Red Root (Ceanothus spp)

    Red Root is a lymphatic decongestant and anti-inflammatory with astringent properties. It helps remove liver, spleen and lymph congestion while helping to open respiratory channels. It is often indicated when lymph congestion interferes with the vitalization of blood or when there is fluid stagnation anywhere in the system. Red Root is useful for liver and blood congestion with fatigue, low-fat tolerance, distention, and hemorrhoids. 

    May be used internally and externally. Internally a tincture is suggested 15-40 drops up to 4 times per day. A cold infusion may be made by steeping 1 teaspoon of the root per cup of cold water for 6 to 8 hours. Drink 1 or 2 cups throughout the day.


    Herbal Suppository (taken from Aviva Romm’s book, Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health)
    • Melt ¼ cup each Cocoa Butter and Coconut oil
    • Add 2 Tablespoons each of White Oak Bark, Turmeric and Marshmallow Root
    • Add 15 drops total of Lavender, Geranium and or Tea Tree oil (optional)

    You may use all or any combination of essential oils, powdered herbs, and preferred tinctures.

    • Add 1 tablespoon infused Calendula oil, or plain, unrefined sesame oil.


    Mix well. If you have a suppository mold, pour warm mixture into mold. If you do not have a mold, let the mixture cool until almost hardens. Stir well to be sure all ingredients are fully mixed. Pour the semi-hardened goop onto a piece of waxed paper.  This is easiest done on a cookie sheet or other long pan. Folding the wax paper, suppository mixture into a long tube about the roundness of your thumb or forefinger. Cool and harden in the refrigerator. When hardened, cut the suppositories in lengths about the length of your pinky finger, shorter or longer depending upon the person using them. Wrap in the wax paper and store in either the refrigerator or freezer. Will keep for several weeks.

    Hemorrhoid Relief Tincture Extract

    • 2 parts Horse Chestnut Extract
    • 1 part Bilberry Tincture (combined fruit and leaf)
    • 1 part Red Root tincture
    • 1 part Wild Oats extract (Avena sativa) in milky stage

    Combine individually prepared herbal tinctures. Suggested dose, 2 – 5 ml 3 to 4 times per day. You may also put a little of the mixture on a cotton ball and apply to clean hemorrhoids. 

    Wonderment Gardens Product Suggestions

    Further Reading

    Thank you for reading my blog. I really appreciate you being here and love that your part of the journey. My biggest hope is that you found the information useful and inspiring. Let me know if you did. Thanks also for all the great questions. Keep them coming and let me know how I might be of service.

    Many Blessings



    Room, Aviva MD:  Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health, second edition. Elsevier inc., 2018

    Frawley, David Dr; Ayurvedic Healing, A Comprehensive Guild; Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wi, 2000

    Frawley, David Dr and Lad, Vasant Dr: The Yoga of Herbs, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wi.  2001

    Holmes, Peter; The Energetics of Western Herbs Volume 2.; Snow Lotus Press, Boulder, Co.  2006

    Lad, Vasant Dr; The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies; Three Rivers Press, NY, NY.  1998


    The statements and ideas presented here are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition. They have not been evaluated by the FDA. All ideas presented are for the sole purpose of education. To help you take control of your own health. If you have a health concern or condition, consult a physician. We suggest that you always consult a medical doctor before modifying your diet, using any new product, drug, supplement, or doing any new exercises.

    These statements and products have not been evaluated by the FDA. They are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition. If you have a health concern or condition, consult a physician. Always consult a medical doctor before modifying your diet, using any new product, drug, supplement, or doing any new exercises.

    Herbs taken for health purposes should be treated with the same care as medicine. Herbal remedies are no substitute for a healthy diet and lifestyle. If you are serious about good health, you’ll want to combine diet, exercise, herbals, a good relationship with your doctor and a generally healthy lifestyle. No one of these will do it alone.

    This information is designed to be used as part of a complete health plan. No products are intended to replace your doctor’s care, or to supersede any of his/her advice or prescriptions.

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