Hemorrhoids – more commonly known as piles – is a very painful condition wherein the internal and external veins of the anal region become varicose. The veins can be seen protruding from the anal area. If bleeding occurs, then they are called as bleeding piles. Both bleeding and non-bleeding piles are painful.
In Ayurveda, hemorrhoids are called as Arsha Shoola, which literally means ‘pain from pricking like needles’. This is indeed how the pain from the hemorrhoids is felt. It is caused due to vitiation of any of the three doshas. It is classified as a digestive disorder; accumulation of waste materials in the rectal area can give rise to piles. The chances of piles are increased by other factors such as sitting on hard seats, chronic constipation and pregnancy.
Since hemorrhoids can be caused due to any of the three doshas, the symptoms are different.
1. Vata type of Hemorrhoids – These piles are hard and darker in color; almost black. The pain is acute. Constipation is present.
2. Pitta type of Hemorrhoids – These piles are soft and reddish in color. Bleeding is present. Other symptoms are excessive thirst, fever and diarrhea.
3. Kapha type of Hemorrhoids – These piles are slimy to the touch. They are large and soft and whitish in color. The person has digestive problems.
(1) Useful Herbs in the Treatment of Hemorrhoids
1. Carrot (Daucus carota)
Carrots are effective in reducing the bleeding of the piles. They can be eaten in either raw or in cooked form.
2. Garlic (Allium sativum)
Garlic can stop the growth of bleeding piles. When it is kept in contact with the piles, i.e. in the rectum, then there is relief from the bleeding of the piles. Ideally it must be inserted high up in the rectum so that it stays there overnight.
Apart from these herbs, several herbs are prescribed in Ayurveda as drugs of choice during hemorrhoids. The following is a list of these herbs:-
2. Cassia fistula
3. Mimosa pudica
4. Ailanthus excelsa
5. Blumea balsamifera
6. Semicarpus anacardium
(2) Dietary Treatments for Hemorrhoids
Since hemorrhoids are generally caused due to low digestive fire, it is necessary to take a proper diet in order to prevent or treat the disease. The following dietary guidelines must be followed:-
a. Any food that is difficult to digest must not be consumed. This includes oily and spicy foods, red meats and rich desserts. Instead green leafy vegetables must be consumed in high amounts as these have the necessary fibers required for proper digestion.
b. Bitter and astringent tastes are better in case of hemorrhoids. Foods having these tastes must form the major bulk of the diet.
c. Vegetables such as yam, spinach, radish, carrots and okra are beneficial.
(3) Ayurvedic Treatment for Hemorrhoids
Ayurvedic treatment for hemorrhoids has a twofold intention:- (i) to reduce the constipation that is associated with the hemorrhoids and (ii) to relieve the pains of the piles and reduce them.
In order to reduce the constipation, asafetida, fennel and cumin are generally prescribed. There are other dietary elements like ghee, buttermilk and green leafy vegetables which the patient is supposed to take.
Once the constipation is brought under control, methods are employed to reduce the pains of the piles. Application of sandalwood or sesame oil on the piles can help in case of external piles.
Kankayana vati, Arshogni vati and Pranada gutika are medicines of choice if the piles are caused due to a vata constitution. If the hemorrhoids are due to a pitta constitution, then Avipattikara choorna is prescribed. For bleeding piles, Kutajavaleha taken in a quantity of 1 teaspoon twice a day is beneficial.
(4) Home Medications
a. Prepare a mixture of turmeric, the leaves of the Indian hemp and onion in hot sesame oil. Use this as an ointment for application over the piles. This is effective in the treatment of painful and protruding hemorrhoids.
b. A carefully prepared mixture of the pulp of the raw bael fruit, sugar, black peppers and cardamoms is useful in allaying hemorrhoids, especially if they are bleeding.
c. A concoction prepared of the outer seeds of the soap nut with honey is also an efficient hemorrhoids remedy.
d. Radish can be heated and applied as a poultice on the piles. This remedy works in case the hemorrhoids are not bleeding.
e. Before going to sleep every night, take a glassful of warm milk with ghee in it. This will soothe the large intestine and make the passing of stools easier.
f. Buttermilk with rock salt in it is a good remedy to reduce constipation in piles.
g. A laxative of flaxseed in warm milk or ghee can also be taken at night to reduce the constipation in the morning.
h. Put some warm water in a tub and sit in it such that the piles are in contact with the water. This provides immediate relief from the piles. Fomenting the piles with warm water also provides relief.