What is Anal Itching?

From Modern Western Medicine

The production of mucus from the anus tends to irritate the surrounding skin and may cause pruritus ani (itching of the anus). Hemorrhoids, anal fissures, and proctitis (inflammation of the rectum) may also cause anal discharge and irritation.

From Traditional Medicine

Anal itching is caused by the inability of the liver to adequately cleanse the blood. Also, the liver and spleen cannot supply the large intestine and rectum with adequate energy  to maintain circulation of lymph and blood. Hence, stagnation of waste occurs, which causes mucus discharge. Anal itching is frequently associated with, or exacerbated by, the consumption of sugar and oily and spicy foods.


General Recommendations

  • See Part IV for methods of strengthening the liver and spleen.
  • Exercise tends to improve the condition because it enhances circulation of the blood and lymph.


Foods to Eat

  • Sour-tasting foods, such as lemon and sauerkraut, to strengthen liver function
  • Two servings per day of leafy, green vegetables
  • Carrot juice to strengthen liver
  • Dandelion greens (for liver)
  • Daikon radish (to break up fat deposits)


Foods to Avoid

  • Refine white sugar, oily foods, and spices
  • White wine, especially very sweet white wines and those containing sugar (injurious to the spleen)



  • Aerobic exercise four to five times per week, for at least 30 minutes per session


Herbs to Treat Anal Itching

  • Apply goldenseal ointment when itching flares
  • Barberry (one of the mildest and best liver tonics known): tincture, 10 – 30 drops, two times per day (Note: contraindicated during pregnancy.)
  • Dandelion (cleanses blood and strengthens the liver): tincture, 10 – 30 drops, three times per day
  • Oregon grape (the Pacific Northwest counterpart of barberry, improves function of liver and purifies blood toxins): tincture, 10 – 30 drops, three times per day
  • Chickweed (one of the best herbs to stop itching): infusion, 1 ounce (oz.) per pint of water; drink 3 or more cups throughout day. If you combine chickweed with any of the other herbs, use 6 – 15 g.


Chinese Medicine

  • Gardenia (the “happiness herb”): decoction, 6 – 12 g
  • Acupuncture to strengthen liver and spleen
  • Acupressure to strengthen liver and spleen and to reduce tension in the pelvic muscles that may be inhibiting circulation