Hemorrhoids are normal groups of veins found in everyone’s anus. Along with the anal sphincter, hemorrhoids are there to control our bowel movement. They can also be enlarged, which can cause itchiness, discharge or mucus, or bleeding. This is what people mean when they say they have hemorrhoids. Bleeding is observed when the blood vessels in your hemorrhoids become injured by formed stool [R].
To remedy enlarged hemorrhoids, we have a few natural treatments that are backed by research.
1. Horse Chestnut
Aescin is an active component in horse chestnut that was proven to have a significant role in alleviating hemorrhoids, postsurgical edema, and chronic venous insufficiency. In a controlled trial, this component (aescin) was shown to be a great alternative treatment for chronic venous insufficiency aside from compression therapy. This shows that this treatment is beneficial for patients with hemorrhoids, CVI, or peripheral edema. In fact, many herbal hemorrhoids treatments in the US, like Varicare, contain processed horse chestnut [R].
Horse chestnut extract is generally safe and tolerable, however, there could be minor side effects like itchiness or an upset stomach. It is also not recommended for patients with liver, kidney, or gastrointestinal issues. If you are taking anticoagulant medication, it is important to talk to your physician before taking this treatment [R].
Processed horse chestnut extracts are recommended as oral or topical treatments. Any part of this deciduous tree (flowers, bark, leaves, and seeds) should not be taken unprocessed or raw because they can be toxic [R].
This is also known as rutoside or vitamin P. Rutin is a flavonoid that is found in many plants, vegetables, and fruits. Its name is derived from the plant Ruta graveolens, which is also a great source of rutin [R] [R].
A study was conducted with 40 hemorrhoids patients. One group was treated with placebo while the other was treated with 4 g of rutin per day. Bleeding and pain were reduced in the group that took the rutin treatment [R].
Rutin supplements are available in the market nowadays, but if you want to go the more natural route, you can simply add rutin to your diet. Apples, buckwheat, and passion flower all great sources of rutin [R] [R].
Rutin is generally safe and can be taken in large doses; however, usage of the plant (Ruta graveolens) is highly discouraged since it contains other substances that have yet to be researched for human consumption [R] [R].
This extract of the French maritime pine bark or Pinus pinaster was found in a 2010 study to be effective in hemorrhoid management, both as an oral and topical treatment. Topically applying pycnogenol helps alleviate bleeding and other symptoms. However, it is not recommended to be taken with any blood thinning medication as it also thins the blood [R].
4. Ginkgo Biloba
In Thailand, a 2004 study aimed to assess the efficacy and safety of Ginkgo biloba in patients with acute hemorrhoids attacks. Their results have shown that it was effective in managing and relieving symptoms [R].
Like pycnogenol, ginkgo biloba also thins the blood, so it is not recommended to be taken along with blood thinning medications [R].
If symptoms persist for 2 weeks despite these natural remedies, you should visit your physician since it could be indicative of something more serious.
We strongly advise you to have a regular check-up with your doctor and lab tests (blood, kidney, and liver) at least every three months if you decide to take any herbal medicine or supplement mentioned in the list for long-term.