Q. Dear Terry, “I’m scheduled to have surgery to treat hemorrhoids in a few months. I heard there are some herbs that might be able to help reduce the pain and discomfort. Any ideas on what I should try?” – R.S., Albuquerque, NM
A. Dear R.S., Hemorrhoids are painful, swollen veins that occur in the anal or rectal area. When they become irritated or inflamed, they can also bleed. There are some botanicals that can really make a difference in supporting digestion and circulation, two key factors in the development of hemorrhoids.
Keeping your bowel movements soft and hydrated can greatly reduce hemorrhoid irritation. You can do this by drinking plenty of water and making sure you have good sources of fiber in your diet – especially consuming fruits and vegetables every day.
Additionally, I recommend a combination of Ayurvedic herbs that has been used for thousands of years to support healthy digestion and prevent constipation – a major cause of hemorrhoids. These herbs help to fight inflammation, stop stomach and digestive disorders, soothe and relax intestinal tissues, bolster the ability of the liver to detoxify, and much more. I recommend 800 mg of a combination of turmeric, greater galangal, andrographis, boerhavia, Indian laburnum, gotu kola, cyperus, licorice, East Indian sarsaparilla, long pepper, chebulic myrobalan, Indian tinospora, ginger, and curry tree each night before bed. This combination of herbs can be found in a very old Ayurvedic remedy that dates back 2000 years and most likely available in Indian food stores or maybe even in health food stores.
For topical support, I think a comfrey cream made with a special cultivar called Symphytum x uplandicum NYMAN (also know as “Trauma Comfrey”) would be an excellent choice. Comfrey has pain relieving and wound healing properties. This specific form of comfrey has been clinically studied and is free of pyrrolizidine alkaloids, so it can be used on all types of wounds, including hemorrhoids. I would apply this topical comfrey two or three times per day.
I believe you would also benefit greatly by adding grape seed extract to your daily regimen. French grape seed extract is incredibly beneficial for supporting and strengthening blood vessels. Compounds within French grape seed extract, called oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs), are helpful for vascular conditions like chronic venous insufficiency and varicose veins (hemorrhoids are a type of varicose vein). In scientific studies, grape seed extract has been shown to shield blood vessels and arteries from oxidative stress and free radical damage, which can contribute to poor circulation and blood pooling in the vessels. I recommend taking a grape seed extract that is tannin-free and standardized to contain only OPCs small enough to be absorbed. I would take 400 mg of French grape seed extract two or three times per day.
Terry . . . Naturally
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