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by Emmanuel Arroyo

What is a Hemorrhoid and What Causes it?

A hemorrhoid is simply a swollen vein in the anal canal due to a lack of fiber, exercise, sedentary life, dehydration, chronic diarrhea and/or pregnancy causing an increase pressure on the intestinal walls and weakening the intestines causing the swollen vein normally known as hemorrhoid.

Types of Hemorrhoids

There are two types of hemorrhoids: External and Internal. External hemorrhoids, as the name implies, are those that are out and visible on the anal rim. When an external hemorrhoid is painful to the touch it is called thrombosed hemorrhoid.
The second type of hemorrhoid is the internal which is divided into 4 stages. The first stage still inside and bulges when defecating, second stage hemorrhoid it bulges and comes out of the anal canal during a bowel movement while the third stage it bulges and comes out of the anal canal and has to be "manually" pushed back in. Fourth stage it bulges and stays out all the time. The fourth stage might be confused with an external hemorrhoid but the difference between external and internal hemorrhoids is its origin, if the origin is in the anal canal then it is called internal while a hemorrhoid that originates around or close to the anus it is obviously called external hemorrhoid.

Common Signs and Symptoms

Bleeding, itching, inflammation and pain are the most common complaints of patients that suffer from hemorrhoids.

Understanding Hemorrhoids, A Chinese Medicine Perspective

Depending on the signs and symptoms plus some other pertinent questions and auscultation (pulse and tongue) the Chinese Medicine practitioner would be able to diagnose and determine the proper herbal treatment.

In Chinese Medicine there are several patterns Intestinal wind, intestinal dryness, damp heat, blood stagnation, spleen qi deficiency and spleen qi sinking.
Intestinal wind refers to the period when there is bright red blood present without pain or any discomfort. Intestinal dryness is obviously caused by a lack of moisture (yin deficiency or liquid deficiency or even due to what we called heat) and the patient will describe this feeling as of passing "sand paper".
Damp heat is a term used to refer to swelling, pain, burning and inflammation experienced by the patient. Spleen Qi deficiency and Spleen Qi sinking corresponds to third and fourth stage. With spleen qi deficiency or spleen qi sinking the patient will report feeling constantly tired; this kind of patient have a tendency of eating raw food, eat at irregular intervals and/or late at night. The patient with spleen qi deficiency or spleen qi sinking will be the kind of person that is constantly worrying, excessively thinking or what is called brooding. It is important to mention that a patient with spleen qi deficiency might present with intestinal dryness too, this is so because in chinese medicine the spleen is in charge of transporting nutrients and fluids. Another aspect to consider with spleen deficient patients is the possibility of stress, anxiety, depression and resentment which are associated with the liver in this millenarian healing art. When the liver gets affected by several emotional factors it has the tendency of weakening the spleen and/or creating heat that might accumulate in the intestines causing dryness or damp heat. There is another factor to take under consideration: the large intestine in Chinese Medicine is related with the Lung (both are metal elements) therefore patients with hemorrhoids might be experiencing some kind of grief, loss or suffering and/or respiratory problems such as sinus, allergies, or skin conditions might be present as well.
Blood stagnation is simply a thrombosed hemorrhoid.

Damp Heat, What is that?

Damp heat refers to the end result caused by a chronic illness, an infection, or food rich in fats, sugars (refined sugar, corn syrup) or alcohol. As you can see our diet does have an impact in our intestinal health.

Treating Hemorrhoids Naturally

When we take a closer look to the herbs used in Chinese Medicine we will observe that some herbs have the following properties: hemostatic (astringent), anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antibiotic, diuretic, anti-coagulant or anti-platelet. These properties make herbal remedy an excellent alternative for hemorrhoids.

Some Chemical Compounds Found on Herbal Treatments

Some of the chemical compounds present are tannins, flavonoids, lipids, enzymes, and saponins among others that when properly combine elicit the therapeutic effect so much needed to relieve the signs and symptoms.

Some Herbs Used in The Treatment of Hemorrhoids

These is a list of some of the herbs used in the treatment of hemorrhoids. It is my advice to consult a professional instead of auto-medicate yourself. Auto medication might worsen your condition and therefore it is advisable to visit a licensed acupuncturist with herbal knowledge or any other health professional that specializes on herbal treatments.

Huai Jiao (Flos Sophorae), Dang Gui (Radix Angelicae Sinensis), Huang Qin (Radix Scutellariae), Huang Qi (Astragalus), Witch Hazel (Hammamelis Virgiana), Horse Chestnut, Butcher's Broom, Cranesbill Root,Oak bark, Bistor root, and Blackberry leaf.
Horse chestnut and Butcher's broom is excellent for stopping bleeding and relieve the inflamed hemorrhoid while witch hazel is excellent for relieving the "sandpaper" feeling. You could also use Varigone from Nature Sunshine which is really good in strengthening capillaries and veins and stopping bleeding, and some times relieving inflammation and raising the hemorrhoid.

Some Herbal Formulas Used in Chinese Medicine

There is a big list of herbs that are used in Chinese Medicine, if you are a practitioner then you could use the following herbal formulas: Huai Jiao Wan, Qin Jiao Bai Zhu Wan, Huai Hua San, Gui Pi Tang, Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang and Huo Xue San Yu Tang... you can modify at your wish the previous formulas or you can come up with your own as long as you bear in mind which herbs are for the given pattern that the patient is presenting. My favorite formula is Yi Guan Jian which it is for Liver Qi Stagnation due to Liver deficiency with some modifications.

About the Author

Emmanuel Arroyo is a New York State licensed acupuncturist and herbalist that works with chakras as well. You can contact him by email dr.agujas@gmail.com or calling at 917-324-1140


The Energetics of Western Herbs 4th edition Volume 2 by Peter Holmes. 2006
Clinical Handbook of Internal Medicine First EditionVolume 2 by Will Maclean and Jane Lyttleton. 2002
Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology by John K Chen and Tina T Chen. 2001, 2004
http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/hemorrhoids-topic-overview 6:45pm May 4th, 2010

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