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 Herbal Medicine: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome 

For acute infections, which often accompany chronic fatigue syndrome, Echinacea is most effective when taken every two hours until the fever and other symptoms diminish. The dose is then reduced to three times daily to insure recovery and optimal immune function. If you have chronic fatigue syndrome without the acute symptoms, using the herb three to five times daily is probably sufficient. A dose is considered to be 40 drops of the extract, two tablets or capsules (usually around 500-1000 mg of the ground herb), or 4 to 8 ounces of a strong tea made from the ground root. In acute infections, you will often you will feel relief within hours, although chronic cases take longer.

Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) is also effective for treating chronic viral symptoms. Although often taken by itself, it is most effective when combined with Echinacea. Goldenseal soothes the mucous membranes of the nasal, respiratory, and gastro-intestinal tracts. Its active components, berberine and other alkaloids, have a broad spectrum of antibiotic and immune-stimulating activity. Combined with Echinacea, it has potent immune-enhancing action. Other synergistic botanicals that combine well with Echinacea are the blood cleansing and liver detoxifying herbs. These include Red Clover, Sage, Burdock, and Dandelion. An Echinacea combination with these ingredients benefits natural resistance, and effectively supports immune function for those with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

In addition, it is essential to support and stimulate the "deep immune system". Tonic and adaptogenic herbs help restore vital energy and metabolism to normal levels. This may help reduce the occurrence of future acute viral infections as well as enhance overall energy and resistance. This category of herbs includes Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus), American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius), and Chinese Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceous). They may be taken individually, or in a combination. Available as a liquid extract, capsule, tablet, or tea, these toning herbs should be taken for at least two months by those suffering from chronic fatigue.

The "alkaline" diet usually offers considerable symptom relief for both the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and the EBV patient. Alcohol, coffee, and refined sugars tend to metabolize as "acid" in the body, which I believe comprises a more favorable environment for chronic viral infections. Foods such as vegetables and grains are more "alkaline" in nature, and are less conducive for infections. Clearly, in my experience, alkaline foods are the preferred dietary program both for the prevention and "treatment" of those with chronic fatigue. This means a diet which is rich in vegetables, fruit (except citrus), grains, beans (including tofu), lean poultry and fish. Avoidance of the aforementioned acid-producing foods (alcohol, coffee, refined sugars) as well as citrus fruits, refined flour products, and foods that are high in oil and fats, is an integral part of the program.

For those with "unbearable" fatigue, choosing to make the body alkaline might be an immediate priority. In these cases, you may use 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) in 8 ounces of water, one to three times daily. This will reduce acidity quickly and may decrease symptoms faster than the diet. However, you should not continue this protocol for more than five days. Instead, try umaboshi plums or kaolin clay, both of which effectively alkalize the body's tissues.

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 About The Author
Janet Zand LAc, OMDJANET ZAND, O.M.D., L.Ac. is a nationally respected author, lecturer, practitioner and herbal products formulator whose work has helped thousands of people achieve better health....more
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