Hemorrhoids are swollen, itching veins in the rectum or anus. The effects can be mildly irritating or distractingly painful. Three quarters of Americans experience hemorrhoids at some point. Pregnant women often experience hemorrhoids, as do people who are obese or frequently constipated. Over-the-counter remedies may bring temporary relief, but traditional home remedies can dissolve hemorrhoids by shrinking them to normal size without chemicals or surgical intervention.
Witch hazel works wonders for external hemorrhoids--especially ones that bleed--says Dr. Marvin Schuster, chief of the Department of Digestive Diseases at Francis Scott Key Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, in Rodale Press's "Doctor's Book of Home Remedies." Witch hazel--a tincture of the leaves and bark of the native North American witch hazel (Hamamelis spp.) bush--causes blood vessels to contract, Schuster says. This makes it effective for shrinking hemorrhoids on contact. To increase witch hazel's impact, put it on ice, then apply the cold witch hazel with a soft cotton ball. The cold helps kill the burning, itching pain of hemorrhoids while witch hazel's astringent properties shrink the blood vessels.
Constipation contributes to the development of hemorrhoids, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Because hemorrhoids are created by irritation and straining during bowel movements, avoiding constipation by drinking more water and consuming more high-fiber fruits and vegetables can eliminate hemorrhoids, says the Columbia University Health Services. Beets are one such high-fiber vegetable that has long been touted as a home remedy for hemorrhoids. Writing in Natural Solutions magazine, physician and acupuncturist Karta Khalsa recommends a diet with a large daily portion of beets and beet greens for at least 40 days to eliminate hemorrhoids. Beets are high in fiber and rich in folate, manganese and potassium to help blood circulation and antioxidants to fight inflammation.
Butcher's broom (Ruscus aculeatus) is an evergreen shrub that grows in Europe and Asia. Extracts and teas made from the root of the plant have long been touted as a home remedy for hemorrhoids and other circulation-related ailments. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center reports that ruscogenin, a major component of Butcher's broom, is anti-inflammatory, and that clinical studies have demonstrated Butcher's broom effectiveness in treating lymphedema and chronic venous insufficiency. Butcher's broom stimulates the smooth muscle cells that line vascular walls and produces vasoconstriction, or toning of the blood vessels. This makes Butcher's broom effective on shrinking swollen hemorrhoids. For hemorrhoid treatment, use an external application of cooled Butcher's broom tea, or incorporate Butcher's broom extract into petroleum jelly or other soothing cream for direct application.