Haemorrhoids are a pain in the backside (literally). They occur when veins in the rectum and anus come under strain and swell, creating itchy lumps that can cause constant irritation. They can even bleed, which can be alarming for those who suffer from them. Haemorrhoids can appear internally (in the rectum) or externally.
A wide range of haemorrhoid treatments are available today at varying levels of expense and complication. Let’s look at just one possible avenue of treatment for this bothersome condition: essential oils.
What are essential oils?
According to TheThirty “Essential oils are highly concentrated, volatile plant extracts. We obtain essential oils through a few different extraction methods, and the part of the plant we get the essential oil from can be different depending on the oil but is typically the most aromatic part. Rose oil, for example, comes from the petals of the rose, while citrus oils come from the rind.”
“Because essential oils are obviously all-natural, it might be easy to assume that they’re gentle and largely unreactive. This isn’t the case at all—by definition, it’s extremely potent stuff. On average, they are up to 75 times more powerful than dried herbs. As such, essential oils must be handled with care.”
How can essential oils help treat haemorrhoids?
Essential oils have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce the negative effects of haemorrhoids, which are by nature swollen vessels that require some form of treatment to bring down inflammation, otherwise they can worsen over time. Essential oils, as described above, are extremely potent and must be diluted in a carrier oil before being applied to the skin – they should not be administered directly to the skin or ingested. They can, however, be inhaled from a tissue or diffuser, with only a few drops necessary to achieve the desired outcome.
Here are a few types of essential oils you can use to treat haemorrhoids:
Horse chestnut seed extract can be used to reduce pain and swelling around the haemorrhoid area. It’s also used frequently for the treatment of varicose veins – you can buy creams made with horse chestnut to apply to external haemorrhoids. Don’t opt for this essential oil, however, if you have an allergy to latex or have upcoming surgery as it can slow the clotting of blood.
It certainly smells good anyway! Peppermint has long been used as a treatment for irritable bowel syndrome, and has been shown to help to some degree with haemorrhoids due to the combination of anti-inflammatories and menthol it contains. Peppermint essential oil can relieve haemorrhoid discomfort, but be wary if you have sensitive skin as it can be potent.
You may have heard of this one! Often associated with the Nativity account, Frankincense has been used for thousands of years to help ease inflammation and pain. It’s also highly effective at killing bacteria that lead to infection, which is an added bonus. You can easily dilute frankincense with carrier oil for direct application to haemorrhoids, or can inhale it through aromatherapy to benefit from its anti-inflammatory qualities.
Dill essential oil
Dill is another highly effective anti-inflammatory that can be combined with other oils to create a potent haemorrhoid ointment. Mix dill essential oil with witch hazel, tea tree oil and cypress to make an effective solution for haemorrhoids. Again, it can be potent, so dilute it with a carrier oil to keep it safe for application.
Myrtle essential oil is excellent at treating haemorrhoid pain and bleeding, but it’s absolutely essential that it’s diluted before application as it can cause severe allergic reactions and irritation to the skin otherwise. It’s a highly-effective essential oil, though, and should be considered by any haemorrhoid sufferer.
Cypress essential oil is particularly effective at treating external haemorrhoids due to its soothing properties. It’s a natural antimicrobial and astringent that helps increase blood flow and reduce pain around haemorrhoids. It should always be applied with a carrier oil otherwise it can cause burning to the skin. It’s not ideal for those with sensitive skin.
The essential oil derived from cinnamon bark effectively relieves inflammation and improves healthy tissue regeneration. Much like cypress essential oil, however, it isn’t a great option for people with sensitive skin. You can dilute cinnamon bark oil with coconut oil or almond oil to great a potent anti-inflammatory agent. Be very careful when applying cinnamon bark oil directly to an external haemorrhoid, however.
Clove oil cream is particularly useful for those with chronic anal fissures, an issue that sometimes goes hand in hand with haemorrhoids. You can buy it in its pure form or as part of a cream remedy. It’s also possible to make your own clove oil mixture by combining it with an unscented oil-based lotion. Again, those with sensitive skin should steer clear of this one.
Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is another agent that is much too strong to apply directly to your skin. It can cause burning and increased pain, particularly if it’s applied to the haemorrhoid-affected region. However, it’s excellent at killing bacteria, increasing healing, and battling inflammation. Tea tree oil can be made using a combination of other essential oils and should be well-diluted prior to application. This is possibly the strongest option of those listed.
Are there any risks involved when using essential oils?
Essential oils can be a powerful and effective approach to treating haemorrhoids, but they must be handled with care. They should be thoroughly diluted with a carrier oil (like coconut oil) before application – 3 to 5 drops of essential oil for every ounce of carrier oil is generally the appropriate amount. You should never attempt to purge the skin area around the haemorrhoid with essential oil as this will cause extreme pain and potentially infection. They should not be used with internal haemorrhoids, and should never be taken orally as they can be highly toxic in some forms.