For constipation, an herb that acts as a natural laxative is cascara sagrada, “the Sacred Bark, used by Native Americans for centuries. Also known as the “Californian Buckthorn, it has been known to help increase bile production in the liver, as well as stomach, pancreas, and lower bowel secretions. Peristaltic action (bowel contractions, or the urge to have a bowel movement) is stimulated by this herb. Senna, which is often taken in the form of an herbal tea, is a strong purgative, but this herb can cause you to feel quite sick and unable to stray very far from the bathroom for a couple of hours. Slippery elm, taken with plenty of water to help move it through your system, normalizes stools, working well for both constipation and diarrhea by coating and soothing the lining of the colon. If time is of the essence, you should take an herbal supplement high in chlorophyll, which acts like a “broom inside the intestinal tract. Parsley and alfalfa are both high in chlorophyll. Other herbs can soften the stool and stimulate contractions in the colon, including yellow dock, dong quai, licorice, burdock, and dandelion.
The University of Maryland Medical Center’s website (umm dot edu) describes some of the herbal treatments available for hemorrhoids as summarized below.
Flavonoids – a group of antioxidants found mostly in dark berries. These little fellas can help you maintain or regain the integrity of your veins, which will help you avoid hemorrhoids. Bioflavanoids that can be used in dried extract form include: Catechin, quercetin, hesperidin, and rutin. Rose hips (Rosa canina) and green tea (Camelia sinensis) are also high in bioflavanoids and can be taken as a tea. Rose hips are also easy on the liver. Stone root (Collinsonia canadensis) and horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) can be used to strengthen blood vessel walls.
Herbs – contain active substances that can trigger side effects and interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications, and should be taken with care, under the supervision of an herbal medicine practitioner. Some remedies include:
- Goldenrod (Solidago virgaurea) – used topically in traditional herbal medicine to reduce inflammation of hemorrhoids.
- Gotu kola (Centella asiatica) – used for venous insufficiency, pooling of blood in different locations such as the legs.
- Grape seed (Vitis vinifera) – used by European folk healers to stop bleeding, inflammation, and pain, such as the kind brought on by hemorrhoids.
- Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) – This herb may reduce inflammation associated with hemorrhoids.
- St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) – applied topically, may prove to be beneficial for reducing pain and inflammation from hemorrhoids.
- Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) – popular in European folk medicine, this herb has traditionally been used to treat wounds and bleeding hemorrhoids.
Homeopathy – Each individual’s constitutional type (i.e., physical, emotional, and psychological makeup) should be considered by the homeopath prior to prescribing any treatment. However, the following remedies are possible treatments for hemorrhoids:
- Aesculus – burning hemorrhoids; feels like a lump in the anus that feels worse when walking.
- Aloe – pulsation in the rectum; large, external hemorrhoids.
- Collinsonia – chronic, itchy hemorrhoids with constipation.
- Hamamelis – large, bleeding hemorrhoids.