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Chronic fatigue syndrome, also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), is a condition characterized by exhaustion that doesn’t improve with rest. Its cause is unclear but it is thought that it may be a combination of genetics, viral infection, and inflammation from oxidative stress. For this reason, it often requires more than one healing approach.
Gentle tonic herbs that do not overstimulate the body can be taken long term to help restore strength, while strengthening digestive tonics and immune-boosting herbs are supportive and also help to improve vitality.
Siberian ginseng helps to fight fatigue. It is also a strengthening tonic for the adrenal glands, which secrete hormones to help regulate the body’s response to stress and are essential for vitality, as well as for the immune system. Avoid with acute infections. Take 1-2 milliliters extract in a little water 3 times daily.
Astragalus, traditionally used for physical weakness, is an immune system tonic, which rebuilds strength and vitality. Avoid with acute infections and with immune-suppressant and blood-thinning drugs. Take 1-2 milliliters extract in a little water 3 times daily.
Vervain acts as a digestive tonic, an antispasmodic herb, and also a strengthening tonic for the nervous system, helping to relax both mind and body. Avoid in pregnancy; excessive doses may cause vomiting. Take 20 drops extract in a little water 3 times daily.
Aromatic essential oils can help to reduce the symptoms of ME.
Basil is refreshing, bringing strength and clarity to the mind. Avoid in pregnancy. Add 3 drops to a diffuser to inhale.
Orange is gently sedative, helping to promote relaxation to restore strength, and is also emotionally uplifting.
Geranium can harmonize energy in both the mind and body. Add 5 drops of either orange or geranium to a bath dispersant to mix into a warm bath.
These can be helpful additions to a nutrient-dense diet to support immunity, fight fatigue, and lift low spirits.
Magnesium deficiency is known to play a role in ME. Look for a magnesium oil that contains magnesium citrate to use topically.
Spirulina, a naturally occurring algae, is a rich source of protein, amino acids, and other essential nutrients and antioxidants. The supplement can be helpful in combating mental and physical fatigue. Take up to 3 grams a day in capsule form.
Rhodiola is a traditional Eastern European folk medicine, used to enhance physical and mental performance and to fight depression. Take 400 milligrams a day to help fight feelings of exhaustion.
Check your thyroid function and iron levels with your doctor to verify low levels are not misdiagnosed as ME.
Relaxation techniques combined with gentle exercise can support body and mind. Try yoga, qigong, and tai chi.
More from Complete Wellness:
- Types of Healing Herbs
- Natural Treatments for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Natural Treatments for Fibromyalgia
- Natural Treatments for PCOS
- Natural Treatments for Menopause
Cover courtesy DK
Excerpted from Complete Wellness, reprinted by permission of DK, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2018 by Neal’s Yard Remedies.