Hemorrhoids, or the piles, is a painful swelling of veins in and around the rectum and anal sphincter. They can be internal, meaning inside the anus, or external, or prolapsing, which means when an internal swelling extends outside the rectum. Extreme cases are probably always best treated by surgery, but a variety of creams have traditionally been used, usually with some side effects like itching or dry skin. Home remedies can take longer to be effective but have fewer side effects and tend to be more lasting.
Treat the "burning" issues. Hemorrhoids are notorious for the painful burning and itching they cause around the anus. "Getting rid" of hemorrhoids usually means, to the patient, treating these symptoms. A compress of witch hazel, a soothing astringent, will help with pain and itching. Aloe vera is another good topical remedy for skin irritation. A blend of essential oils--such as cypress, juniper, lavender, lemon or rosemary--in a base of almond can also spell relief.
Shrink the hemorrhoids. With the most uncomfortable symptoms treated, you can progress to shrinking the hemorrhoids themselves, which will allow the relief to last. Hemorrhoids are a varicose vein of the anus, so vasoconstrictors, which help the blood vessels contract, and anti-inflammatories are essential. Natural treatments in these categories include butcher's broom (Ruscus aculeatus), collinsonia root powder and horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) herbs.
Make haste with paste. Some naturopaths combine the above two steps by making a topical paste from herbs that treat both the symptoms and the condition itself. Daniel Mowrey, Ph.D., suggests alumroot, goldenseal, mullein, slippery elm bark and witch hazel, in any amount, combined and softened with water. David Hoffmann, noted British herbalist, recommends concocting a salve from 1 tsp. each of calendula, camomile, yarrow, plantain and St. John's wort in almond oil and applying after bowel movements.
Prevent recurrence by staying regular. Probably the most common cause of hemorrhoids is constipation, so keeping the bowels loose is an excellent way to prevent future development of the condition. There are many natural ways to stay regular, from eating more fiber to drinking black coffee. An herb used to treat constipation is psyllium (Plantago ovata), which is actually a major ingredient of Metamucil. Used alone, take 4 to 10 tsp. daily. Aloe vera juice is also a known laxative.