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 Herbal Medicine: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Overview of Contributing Factors and Treatment Plan  

First and foremost, chronic fatigue is a disease of lifestyle. It is generally caused by mismanagement of our personal energy resources. It is very commonly seen in the West, in industrialized countries, where people commonly work 40 to 60 hours a week and have also raised or are raising children.

Here is a list of common predisposing factors and simple remedies:

*Overextending, focussing all ones' energy outwardly, working too hard

Rest, meditation, scheduling time for oneself

*Worry and stress, holding tension

"Not-doing," Meditation, stretching, yoga, tai chi, massage, acupuncture

*Addiction to stimulants (coffee, cola drinks, sugar)

Herbal energizers, complex sweeteners, fresh fruit in season

*Over 40 years old

Healthy habits, positive outlook, herbal supplements

*A diet high in processed foods

Whole, natural foods, grow your own!


Life-Style Factors

  • Conservation of energy
  • Relaxation, stress-release
  • Strong diet; eat according to the seasons, work, constitution

Herbal Program
Strengthen Digestion
Use bitter tonics (gentian root, artichoke leaf, orange peel, cardamon, ginger) to stimulate digestive "fire," improve digestive efficiency; use herbal digestive enzymes to remove stagnation, aid digestion (slightly unripe hawthorn fruits, plums, apples, pineapple, papaya, or sprouted barley).

Tonify Blood
Use blood tonifying foods such as leafy green vegetables and other chlorophyl-rich foods; superfoods such as nettles**, barley grass or spirulina; yellow dock tincture (2 droppersful 2-3 x daily) or lemon juice act as catalysts to help increase the absorption of minerals (especially iron and magnesium); blood tonic herbs include dong quai and ho shou wu (fo-ti).

Tonify Immune System
Use deep immune tonics to strengthen the "bone-marrow reserve" and replenish immune reserves.

Examples: reishi, shiitake, astragalus, ligustrum

Tonify Adrenals
Use adaptogens to strengthen adrenal glands and counteract stress.

Examples: eleuthero (Siberian ginseng), rehmannia, reishi, schisandra.

Inhibit Viral Infection
Chronic fatigue syndrome can involve a general viral syndrome, and several have been identified, i.e. Epstein-Barr, Cytomegalovirus. Active viral infections are not generally the cause of chronic fatigue--they are simply opportunistic agents that are activated by conditions of inherent deficiencies of the immune system. Viral infections can place a further stress on our body systems, using available vital energy in order to keep them in check. Anti-viral herbs can be used to inhibit the virus, but always in combination with immune and adrenal strengthening herbs.

Relaxing Herbs
Use herbs to relax the nervous system, calm restless spirit (hawthorn flowers and leaves), improve sleep (valerian, hops, linden), counteract anxiety (California poppy whole plant, and slow thoughts (passion flower).

**Try drying your own superfood juice powders. Use a vegetable juicer or wheat-grass juicer (better, because less heat) to juice fresh nettles, or other green, leafy vegetables and dry the juice in a food dehydrator. Take about 4-10 grams a day as a green drink or in capsules (2 capsules = 1 gram).
Herbal tonics should be taken for at least a month to 3 months, and often up to a year or more, depending on the health of the individual and state of deficiency.

For more information:
Books by Christopher Hobbs are available from your book store. Good books that relate to chronic fatigue are Handbook for Herbal Healing, Foundations of Health, Medicinal Mushrooms, and Echinacea, the Immune Herb. The books can be ordered from Botanica Press, 408 457-9096.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Christopher Hobbs 2
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 About The Author
Christopher Hobbs LAc, AHG Christopher Hobbs is a fourth generation herbalist and botanist with over 30 years experience with herbs. Founder of Native Herb Custom Extracts (now Rainbow Light Custom Extracts) and the Institute for Natural Products......more
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