Two Letters Re: Dealing with a Genuine Pain in the Rear

Thank you for your wonderful service,  and Merry Christmas!

On the subject of Hemorrhoids, my favored,and very effective,  treatment for this problem is tincture of witch-hazel (Hamamelis  Virginiana)

It grows plentifully in damp woods in central Appalachians—maybe elsewhere,

I simply cut a bunch of the small twigs, stuff them in a jar, and add alcohol. I prefer drinking-grade ethanol, as it is the least toxic of the alcohols.

After a couple of days steeping, I begin using it by soaking a small pad of toilet paper or cotton , and pressing it to the affected area a couple of times a day.  IT BURNS (from the alcohol)!  But the burning sensation last only a minute or so. Relief (for me) in two days or so.

If alcohol were unavailable,  I would try a decoction in water (boil the twigs in water)  I think I would add a lot of salt to help preserve the decoction and discourage the growth of bacteria in it, and I would make a fresh batch every few days. The alcohol tincture lasts nearly indefinitely.   Alcohol has the added advantage of dissolving (extracting) both water-soluble and oleoresinous substances in the plant, and carrying them into the tissues.  The modern reductionist tendency is to decide that an herb has ONE “active principle” responsible for its beneficial effects, and that should be extracted and purified, but I prefer to assume that many of the herb’s constituents are there, together,  for a reason, and the closer I can get to using the whole herb, the better.  I would also consider using a ground- or smashed-up pulp of the whole twigs, moistened with clean water or brine.

I would like to emphasize that I believe this condition usually is caused by a long period of bad “bowel habits”, that is, straining, which usually means you are not eating enough fiber.

Start eating more fiber NOW.  Lose the white flour! Do not wait until you have damaged yourself.

Thanks again for SurvivalBlog. – From Darkest West Virginia

Dear Editor:
Hemorrhoids are, in some cases, related to caffeine intake.

Reducing one’s coffee consumption is a good step, but changing one’s brand of coffee is better.

Switching to something like jasmine tea helps, too. Regards, – Richard C.