A hemorrhoid is a prolapsed blood vessel in the anus or rectum that can be painful, itchy, or bleed occasionally. Noticing a hemorrhoid can be alarming at first—and uncomfortable at the very least.
While they could indicate a serious digestive condition, hemorrhoids are typically not too serious and are fairly easy to treat. Once properly treated, relief from pain and itching doesn’t have to be far behind.
Read on to learn about the causes of hemorrhoids, common treatments, and how essential oils may be able to help this uncomfortable condition.
What causes hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids can happen to anyone. In fact, one study estimated that 13% of Americans are diagnosed with hemorrhoids each year.1
Some of the potential causes of hemorrhoids include:
- Poor diet (especially a diet low in fiber)
- Straining during bowel movements
- Excess weight gain
- Lifting heavy objects frequently
- Constipation or diarrhea2
Hemorrhoids are more common in older adults, as they can take a long time to develop. They are also more common in women.
Common treatments for hemorrhoids
Finding treatment and relief for hemorrhoids isn’t too difficult in mainstream medicine. There are both prescription and over-the-counter treatments, such as ointments and creams, that are affordable and effective. These treatments can help with pain, itching, and burning, and to also help stop the bleeding that can happen with hemorrhoids.
For more severe hemorrhoids, you will have to schedule a doctor’s visit and get more specialized treatments. You may need to get the hemorrhoids removed if pain is too severe. This may be necessary if hemorrhoids become too uncomfortable and interfere with quality of life.
Some mainstream over-the-counter and home treatments include:
- Oral pain relievers (like NSAIDs) for pain
- Hemorrhoid pillows
- Medicated sitz baths
- Major diet changes (increase in fiber)
For more major and painful cases of hemorrhoids, a doctor would help you with:
- Stronger prescription medicated ointments and creams
- Hemorrhoid removal surgery
- Hemorrhoid ligation
- Hemorrhoid thrombectomy
Can essential oils help with hemorrhoids?
Essential oils for hemorrhoids present an effective natural solution for this uncomfortable condition, especially mild cases. They could also support more severe hemorrhoid recovery and help some of the pain and discomfort.
While essential oils may not “cure” hemorrhoids, they can provide relief and help speed recovery.
Best essential oils for hemorrhoids
For the following essential oils for hemorrhoids, mix about 3-4 drops per 1 cup of clean water to use as a rinse, wash, or soak on hemorrhoids (warm or cold). Mix 5-10 drops in a hot bath or sitz bath for therapy and pain relief. If you are concerned about sensitivity in the area, dilute the oil in a carrier oil before adding it to water.
You can also dilute these oils in a carrier oil and apply directly to the area. Or, you can add 2-3 drops in a dollop of hemorrhoid cream, anti-itch lotion, hydrocortisone cream, or aloe gel for applying to relieve pain or help speed recovery.
Chamomile can always be called upon for issues of inflammation or itching, especially as an essential oil. It is also very mildly astringent (drying and tightening), yet gentle on broken or painful skin, a property that can help support faster healing of mild hemorrhoids. A review of chamomile points out this daisy-like flower as a natural treatment for hemorrhoids. Indeed, it was one of its traditional uses among herbalists.3
Cranberry juice is tasty—while cranberry as a healing herb (such as cranberry seed essential oil) can also have powerful astringent effects. After all, cranberry is one of the top herbal treatments for UTIs. This same property also makes it a helpful natural healer for hemorrhoids because of its skin-tightening astringent tannins, which help restore tone and structure of tissues back to normal health, including blood vessels. One study even showed that use of a treatment including cranberry greatly helped hemorrhoidal symptoms in almost all surveyed patients.4
For centuries, and even up until today, the cooling properties of mints of many kinds—especially spearmint and peppermint—have shown pain-relieving effects for all sorts of conditions. Mint essential oil can be one of the easiest and most affordable ways to experience these properties. It’s no coincidence that it has become a popular topical ingredient in balms, salves, and creams of many kinds. As for helping with hemorrhoids, mint essential oil treatments could definitely help with the pain, as it is cited as a traditional natural treatment in one study.5
There are many species of oak and essential oils that can come from them. All could be powerful healers for hemorrhoids. Oak oils from all parts of the plant are incredibly high in tannins, which can have that tightening, restoring effect on hemorrhoids. In cases where hemorrhoids are bleeding, it may also put a stop to this, too. Oak is cited as a natural traditional treatment in one study of the tree and its properties.6
Like cranberry and oak before it, raspberry also has powerful tannins with astringent action for healing hemorrhoids. In fact, raspberry’s classic use is for women and toning the uterus for better female health, conception, and prenatal wellness. In essential oil form (raspberry seed essential oil) you’ll have a quick and easy way to treat hemorrhoids through the same tightening, tonifying effect. This oil could possibly help speed recovery at home a little (for mild cases). Raspberry is acknowledged as an old herbal treatment for hemorrhoids in one study.7
Gentle, fragrant, and balancing, rose may have similar properties to chamomile for hemorrhoids: it could help allay itching while gently tonifying tissues, all so that healing and restoration of normal tissue structure can take place. Rose is also not too strong or caustic on painful, broken skin, such as can happen with hemorrhoids, and even in essential oil form. One study nods to rose as an ancient herbal treatment for hemorrhoids.8
One good whiff of rosemary is enlivening and invigorating. In another form, such as topical use, rosemary can be cleansing, tonifying, nutrifying, and healing to skin issues with its antioxidant content, and for hemorrhoids included—and it does have a fair bit of astringent action. While not considered a “classic” herbal treatment for the issue, there is more than reason to think it could be useful, and enough that one animal study tested it out for helping hemorrhoids. The results showed it had a cellular and circulation-boosting effect on hemorrhoids that helped speed healing.9
8. White willow
We have compounds from white willow to thank for modern-day painkillers like aspirin, which contain the willow-derived phytochemical salicylic acid. Not only could this help with the pain and discomfort of hemorrhoids, but willow is also chock-full of astringent tannins that may help speed the healing and re-tonifying of hemorrhoid-affected tissues when topically used. Unfortunately, there haven’t been any direct studies on white willow for hemorrhoids, but it can be presupposed that the tree medicine will be helpful: it can always help with the same symptoms (pain and tissue issues) regardless of whether they are related to hemorrhoids or not.
This plant has a cooling-like effect not unlike mint, and it does contain menthol, after all. This could be used for the very same purposes for hemorrhoids: soothing pain relief. There haven’t been any studies done directly on wintergreen for hemorrhoids, but because there is such a strong relation between menthol-containing mint and its perks for hemorrhoid pain, the potential benefits of wintergreen for hemorrhoids is abundantly clear. When used topically and diluted, whether in a carrier oil or water or a cream, it could be very relieving.
10. Witch hazel
Whether as an essential oil or a classic over the counter toner, witch hazel may be one of the most accessible and effective herbal treatments for hemorrhoids you can find. It is very astringent (great for tightening tissues back up, which can shrink and get rid of mild hemorrhoids), but it also contains small amounts of salicylic acid that could help with some of the pain from the pesky condition. One study tested suppositories of witch hazel for hemorrhoids and found that it completely eliminated symptoms after a few days.10
Essential oil blends for hemorrhoids
Essential oils for hemorrhoids can work from many different angles. They can help with pain or itching, act as an astringent for shrinking/restoring tissue tone, or even cleanse and reduce bleeding. Better yet, different oils working together in a blend can make the effects of only a single oil or herb all that more effective.
To get the best of both (or all) worlds for herbal and essential oil hemorrhoid remedying, try some of these blends. Each blend has a theme tailored to helping some aspect of hemorrhoids. You can even use more than one blend together if desired.
Pain Relief Blend
For chapped and sore hemorrhoids, combine mint, wintergreen, white willow, and witch hazel essential oils together. This will have a cooling and inflammation-reducing effect, with some benefits to help speed recovery by tightening tissues. It’s best used in soothing cream, ointment, or aloe gel.
Itching Relief Blend
Combine rose and chamomile together in your diluted water wash, topical ointment, or sitz bath. This blend is best used as a topical treatment directly on the hemorrhoid (or hemorrhoids) for relief, especially in soothing cream, ointment, or aloe gel.
Speedy Recovery Blend
Combine oak, raspberry seed, and cranberry seed essential oils for tons of tannins and astringent action to speed up the tightening, shrinking, and disappearance of mild hemorrhoids at home. It’s best to use this in a water medium, such as a wash or bath.
Combine rosemary, mint, and chamomile essential oils to stop bleeding and pain associated with hemorrhoids. It’s best to use this blend in a water medium, such as a wash or bath.
Give essential oils for hemorrhoids a try
You don’t have to be stuck at home with the pain and discomfort of hemorrhoids. Essential oils can be easily used at home for itching, pain, and speeding recovery of mild issues during your self-care routine.
However, if hemorrhoids don’t disappear and/or continue to be painful for many weeks at a time, be sure to call your doctor and explore medical options, prescriptions, and operations for more severe hemorrhoid cases. Ask your doctor also about getting screened for digestive disorders or conditions as well, which can cause hemorrhoids.
About Adrian White
Adrian White is a certified herbalist, organic farmer, and health, food, and agriculture freelance writer—and upcoming author. She is a past contributor to Healthline with bylines in The Guardian, Civil Eats, and Good Housekeeping. Adrian is also the co-owner and operator of Jupiter Ridge LLC, an organic farm growing diverse vegetables, mushrooms and herbs.
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