Herbal Health on Haemorrhoids

These are the butt of all jokes if you’ll excuse the pun, but they really are not a laughing matter if you suffer from them.

Varicose veins around the anus, cause discomfort and itching. They can be internal and quite mild, protrude, bleed and return to the rectum after defecation, or remain outside the anus at all times. Bleeding from a haemorrhoid is always bright red so if you suspect you have blood in the faeces but it is a darker colour, then there is something else going on. Providing there is no other underlying cause such as pregnancy the most common cause of haemorrhoids is constipation.

If you have haemorrhoids due to a current pregnancy then I’m sorry but you can’t use Herbal Medicine at the moment as the herbs that tone up the Veins may also have a tonic effect on the uterus which may stimulate it and are therefore best to avoid during pregnancy.

Unlike the Arteries, Veins do not have elastic walls, so if they go saggy they cannot pull themselves together again. It is the surrounding muscles that the Veins pass through that provide support for them and also supply a muscle pump to keep the blood moving through them. They have valves internally which normally prevent the back flow of blood, but the valves can get damaged, causing blood to collect in the vein, when they protrude, go shiny and itch.

Doing pelvic floor exercises is a good way of toning the muscles supporting the veins, indirectly toning the veins up by improving blood flow through them.


This is the same exercise we were told to do just after we had babies when everything below the belly button feels battered, bruised and sagging. So you look at the physiotherapist, who is usually a 20 something pretty girl with a figure to die for and think “do be serious.” But they are trained in doling out torture in the guise of exercise which, of course, magically transforms all the droopy bits and ensures you don’t suffer a prolapse in older age. If you are male or have not had babies this is going to be interesting for you.

  • Lie flat on the floor on your back. (If you can’t there is a variation coming up)
  • Feet slightly apart, Knees bent upwards
  • Gently lift your bottom slightly off the floor
  • Squeeze the muscles in your pelvic floor as if you are trying to stop yourself wee-ing
  • Count 5 slowly
  • Relax down slowly
  • Do this another 5 times and repeat the exercise at least three times in the day.

If you cannot lie on the floor then another effective way of toning up the pelvic floor muscles is to do the exercise when you are sitting on the toilet. Just pull the whole lot up as if you are desperately trying to stop yourself wee-ing, count 5 slowly and relax. You can do that every time you go to the toilet, or sitting in the car.


It is important that you eat a diet high in fibre, to avoid constipation. But make sure it is a good mixed diet containing plenty of fruit and vegetables as well as cereals. Cereal bran can be irritating to some peoples gut linings so it is advisable to get fibre from all sources not just high fibre cereals.


These concentrate on toning the Veins both internally and externally.

Internally, a tincture containing liver stimulating herbs, to ensure bowel movements are easy, as well as Vein toning herbs.

For the liver the bitter herbs such as dandelion, burdock and blue flag root are effective in treating piles.

Vein toning herbs are Yarrow, Hawthorn and Horsechestnut. Yarrow can be seen in the Beachy Head herb walk video.

A typical mix may contain:-

Hawthorn which is an excellent circulation supporting herb and can be seen in the West Rise herb walk video.

Horsechestnut (small amounts) is the herb of choice for varicose veins. It is anti inflammatory, astringent (toning) and protects blood vessels.

Blue flag root I would choose this for its laxative effect as well as having anti inflammatory and astringent properties

Marshmallow root is a protectant to coat the rectum with mucilage and stop it getting inflamed. Marshmallow can be seen in the Cuckmere herb walk video.

Externally a cream containing Horsechestnut and pilewort would tone the Veins up and soothe the inflamed skin.

Pilewort is a pretty little yellow spring flower, lesser celandine, which you will have seen growing in woodlands.

It is the root of the plant that is used and I love the fact that our predecessors must have used it for piles and named it accordingly!

I have had good success treating haemorrhoids so if you would like to see me in clinic please click here or on the clinic tab at the top of the page.

Linda Bostock

Medical Herbalist/Herbal Health Information.