Witch hazel is often promoted as an effective topical treatment for hemorrhoids by natural health advocates. In fact, it is only effective for relieving some of the discomfort caused by hemorrhoids and not effective in treating the hemorrhoid itself.
According to some, witch hazel is supposed to be applied several times a day until the hemorrhoid shrinks. Lemon juice, tea tree oil, and aloe vera are some other natural topical treatments commonly recommended. The reality is that some of these natural topical treatments may be effective in temporarily relieving the discomfort caused by hemorrhoids but they will not go far in solving the problem itself.
Witch hazel is a topical astringent made from the leaves and bark of the Hamamelis Virginiana or “witch hazel” shrub. It has been used for medicinal purposes for hundreds of years when people would boil the plant to treat burns and skin irritations. Today, witch hazel is touted as effective in toning skin, fading bruises, brightening eyes, stopping bleeding, as an after-shave, to treat damaged gums, to ease a sore throat and to alleviate the discomfort from bug bites, sunburn, diaper rash and swimmers ear, and of course – for the treatment of hemorrhoids.
Reviewing the list above, it’s easy to think that witch hazel must be an effective topical agent for alleviating pain and discomfort associated with the ‘surface’ symptoms of many conditions. While witch hazel may help temporarily ease pain and itching associated with hemorrhoids, it will not cause permanent relief. In some cases, it may even lead to further irritation, worsening symptoms.