Previously used for pelting other children on the playground, for adults the seed of Aesculus hippocastanum, or horse chestnut, is a fabulous cure for hemorrhoids and varicose veins.
Hemorrhoids are actually just varicose veins as well, so if you tend to have a weak veinous system, you might benefit from this herb.
Tightens up loose and leaky veins
The active constituent aescin has an astringent property that serves to tighten up loose leaky veins. It is also anti-edematous, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, anti-exudative, and decreases capillary permeability.
Check with your naturopathic physician before taking this herb as there are potential drug-herb interactions and this herb should not be used by those on anti-coagulants as the coumarin properties may theoretically interact with blood thinning medications.
Any time there is bleeding or pain down there you should go to your doctor immediately as it could be a sign of colon or rectal cancer, and when caught early enough is highly treatable. Also do not make any herbal medicine preparations from wild plants unless you are 100 percent certain of the species for safety purposes.
This herb should absolutely not be used by children or pregnant women, anyone with a chronic health condition should check with their doctor before using horse chestnut.
How to use horse chestnut for treating hemorrhoids
A tincture (1:5 in 40%) can be used, the standard dose is 1-4ml in a little bit of water three times daily.
2. Herbal infusion:
To make an herbal infusion pour 1 cup of boiling water over 2 teaspoons of dried seed and allow to steep 15 minutes, strain and drink three times daily or apply with cotton balls to the affected area (best when applied cold so keep your witch hazel or horse chestnut solutions in the fridge).
You can also try a 16% standardized aescin extract in capsules. Daily dose should equate to 50mg of aescin taken two to three times daily (so the entire capsule weight will most likely be 300 to 900 mg to receive the 50mg of aescin from the 16% standardized extract).
A poor diet leads to hemorrhoids
Although horse chestnut is wonderful for strengthening veins, just utilizing it alone is not going to fully address the problem. Straining with bowel movements because of a dry hardened stool lacking fiber, water, and probiotics are the ultimate causes of hemorrhoids.
Basically everyone in America has hemorrhoids at some point because of the crappy white refined foods diet that we eat.
7 more tips to help relieve hemorrhoids
Here are seven more tips that can help with your hemorrhoids…
1. Preparation H:
You can always apply the standard preparation H or an herbal hemorrhoid cream with astringents such as witch hazel in it.
Keep the area clean and take some stool softeners until it is healed so you don’t continue to rupture it back open, or feel like you are pooping razor blades.
Check out your local health food store as well to see if there are any herbal options that contain horse chestnut or witch hazel. Wise Woman Herbals makes fabulous healing suppositories and herbal topical ointments if you can get your hands on them.
2. Eat dark berries:
Eat dark pigmented berries to help ensure a strong healthy vascular system. Add a cup of frozen blueberries daily to the diet as well as citrus foods to heal blood vessels. When symptomatic do alternating sitz baths to tonify the vessels of the pelvic region.
3. Stop straining:
Avoid straining by preventing constipation before it happens.
Here are some tips how…
Mix soluble & insoluble fibers:
In general, eat a high-fiber whole foods diet that includes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.
The most efficient colon movers contain a combination of soluble and insoluble fiber.
Soluble fiber dissolves in water, forming a gel that coats the intestinal wall. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water, but rather soaks water up like a sponge as it passes through the intestine, helping to prevent constipation.
Foods high in soluble fiber:
Eat more of the foods that are highest in soluble fiber including…
- adzuki beans
- dried beans and peas
Psyllium, slippery elm (Ulmus Fulva) and marshmallow (Althaea Officinalis) are also high in soluble fiber.
Foods high in insoluble fiber:
Foods highest in insoluble fiber include cereals and whole grains, brans, seeds (like ground flax or psyllium seed), and the skins or peels of many fruits and vegetables.
Foods to avoid:
Avoid dairy products, soft drinks, meat, refined carbohydrates, sugar and processed foods, salt, alcohol and coffee.
Drink more water. This is particularly more important when adding more fiber to your diet.
Drink at least 64 ounces daily. Rule-of-thumb for water consumption: one third of your body weight in ounces plus 8 ounces for each cup of coffee or tea (diuretics), plus 8 ounces for each one half hour of exercise daily.
4. Drink warm water:
Try drinking a glass of warm water every morning when you wake up to give the intestines a bath. The heat from the water tends to relax the smooth muscle of the bowel and train your body to have a bowel movement each morning.
For short term relief you can try magnesium 400-800mg but keep in mind that it is simply a short-term osmotic cure for diarrhea, it is not treating the cause.
5. Concentrate on fiber:
Be sure to eat plenty of fiber, drink a gallon of water daily, and MOVE your body.
Your digestive tract responds to movement. Sitting around all day will result in a sluggish bowel. Humans were not designed for sitting all day and it creates stagnation in our pelvis.
Include foods in the diet that encourage bowel movements such as celery, pears, flaxseeds, apples, prunes, oatmeal and other whole grains.
6. “Dr. Nicole’s Move It Along Breakfast”:
Try my “Dr. Nicole’s Move It Along Breakfast” which consists of…
- a bowl of steelcut organic oatmeal
- 3 tablespoons of FRESHLY ground flaxseeds
- a handful of raw walnuts,
- half a chopped pear
- and a bit of applesauce or yogurt
- and cinnamon for flavor and garnish
It really does get things moving along well.
You may also benefit from taking some acidophilus to help bulk up the stool, as a third of the weight of our stool comes from the bacteria in our digestive tract.
If you have taken antibiotics in the past, your bowel flora may be compromised.
You want to make sure the cultures are live and refrigerated when purchasing acidophilus. Never buy acidophilus that is not refrigerated. That is a major red flag right there!
Hope that helps!
Pittler MH, Ernst E. Horse chestnut seed extract for chronic venous insufficiency. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2006 Jan 25;(1):CD003230.
Dr. Nicole Sundene
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