Nearly three out of four adults experience hemorrhoids at some point in time. There are risk factors that can make you more likely to have hemorrhoids, like pregnancy and obesity, but sometimes their cause is unknown. Hemorrhoids can cause:
- bleeding during and after bowel movements
- lumps and swelling around your anus
- painful irritation
Since hemorrhoids are caused by the swelling of your blood vessels, essential oils with anti-inflammatory properties may help to treat them.
The ancient Eastern tradition of treating pain and inflammation with frankincense is currently seeing a surge in popularity. Frankincense not only calms inflammation, it kills certain kinds of bacteria that would otherwise cause an infection and may also be a pain reliever.
Frankincense essential oil can be diluted with a carrier oil, like coconut oil or jojoba oil, and applied to the hemorrhoid. Essential oils also still have anti-inflammatory effects when inhaled, so you may consider using them in aromatherapy.
Myrtle essential oil
Essential oil from the myrtle plant can treat the pain and bleeding caused by hemorrhoids, some research shows. It was even effective in people who didn’t respond to standard anti-hemorrhoid medications.
Myrtle oil can be mixed with an ounce of cold cream and applied to the hemorrhoid. You must dilute it before application — application of undiluted essential oils often cause allergic reactions and skin irritation.
Horse chestnut essential oil
In 2012, researchers suggested that horse chestnut seed extract may improve pain and reduce swelling when it’s used as a remedy for hemorrhoids and varicose veins. If you get frequent varicose veins or hemorrhoids, purchase an already mixed cream to apply directly to your external hemorrhoid.
Horse chestnut might slow blood clotting and shouldn’t be used before any surgery. For people who have allergies to latex, this may also trigger a similar response.
Cinnamon bark essential oil
Cinnamon bark essential oil stimulates healthy tissue growth and relieves inflammation, according to several studies. Applying cinnamon bark essential oil to an external hemorrhoid should be done carefully. Diluting 3 to 5 drops of cinnamon essential oil in 1 oz. of melted coconut oil or sweet almond oil produces ant-inflammatory effects. However, people with sensitive skin shouldn’t use cinnamon essential oil topically.
Clove essential oil
Clove essential oil can be purchased in its pure form, or used in a mixture with a cream. In people that have chronic anal fissures, which sometimes come along with hemorrhoids, clove oil cream was shown to improve anal pressure.
You can purchase clove oil cream online or at a natural health food store. You can make your own by mixing the essential oil with an unscented, hypoallergenic oil-based lotion — 3 to 5 drops per ounce of lotion. Clove oil can be irritating for people with sensitive skin.
Peppermint essential oil
Since peppermint essential oil has been shown to be effective in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), some suggest that it could also help with hemorrhoids. The soothing menthol component of peppermint oil combined with its anti-inflammatory properties may help to relieve the pressure around your anus and make your bowel movements less painful.
People with sensitive skin should avoid peppermint essential oils. Remember to dilute this essential oil well before use.
Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil kills bacteria, reduces inflammation, and promotes healing. Tea tree oil alone is too strong to apply directly on to your skin, especially the sensitive inflamed skin around a hemorrhoid. But you can make a tea tree oil ointment using one or two other essential oils from this list and diluting it well with jojoba oil or coconut oil. Apply in moderation to the affected area.
Dill essential oil
Dill essential oil works hard as an anti-inflammatory agent, and can be mixed with tea tree, witch hazel, and cypress oil to make a strong hemorrhoid-fighting ointment. Temper down this essential oil with a carrier oil like sweet almond or coconut to protect your skin.
Cypress oil has demonstrated antimicrobial, soothing, and astringent properties that could improve blood flow and pain around an external hemorrhoid. Apply cypress oil mixed with a carrier oil to avoid burning your skin. People with sensitive skin should refrain from using cypress oil on the skin. Consider infusing this oil into the air for its antimicrobial effects.
Side effects and risks
When using essential oils to treat hemorrhoids, it’s important to keep the surrounding area clean and dry after treatment. Don’t ever try to “burn off” or disintegrate the skin surrounding a hemorrhoid, as that will increase your pain and make you more likely to contract an infection. Essential oils are a topical remedy for external hemorrhoids, only. Don’t ever try to treat an internal hemorrhoid by placing an essential oil inside of you unless you’re using a suppository approved by a doctor.
Essential oils are meant to be diluted in a carrier oil before use. 3 to 5 drops for every 1 oz. of sweet almond, olive, or another topical oil. Essential oils can be toxic. Don’t take them orally unless under direct care of a certified practitioner. Further, essential oils aren’t monitored by the FDA, so choose your products and brands carefully.
Some essential oils can also carry with them a risk of toxicity, and while most are fairly mild and low-risk treatments, there’s no substitute for the care of a doctor. If you have any of the following, don’t try to treat it on your own:
- pain and swelling that lasts more than one week
- lumps inside your anus that appear to be growing
- chronic and recurring constipation
- severe bleeding from your anus
Call your doctor for an evaluation and to make a treatment plan.
Essential oils are a method of treating hemorrhoids that’s gaining more attention. We still need more research to understand how effective essential oils are compared to other traditional hemorrhoid treatments. But trying to treat your hemorrhoids at home with essential oils is a fairly low-risk home remedy, and there are plenty of options to try.