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Fibromyalgia usually affects women and is characterized by chronic pain and fatigue. The cause is uncertain, but it may be linked to an excess of certain brain chemicals or a fault with the transmission of pain signals. Symptoms include muscle stiffness, sleep disturbances, gastrointestinal discomfort, anxiety, and depression.
Tonic herbs are the main natural remedy for fibromyalgia, with the focus on herbs to improve circulation to the head and central nervous system. Herbs also help relax muscles, calm the mind, and relieve pain. Star with low doses and build up gradually.
Gotu kola is a relaxing tonic for the brain and nerves. It enhances cognitive function and rebuilds connective tissues. See box, opposite. Avoid in pregnancy and with epilepsy. May cause skin sensitivity. Take 1-1/2 – 2-1/2 milliliters of 1:2 extract in a little water 3 times daily.
Wild oats are restorative and a tonic for the nerves, making them useful for treating a state of debility. Take 1 – 2-1/2 milliliters of the green milky seed extract in a little water 3 times daily.
Licorice interacts with the body’s adrenal function, balancing hormones and restoring vitality, to help treat fibromyalgia. Avoid with hypertension and during pregnancy, and large doses over long periods. Make a decoction with 1/2-1 teaspoon dried liquorice root per 9 fluid ounces (250 milliliters) boiling water, and drink 4-1/2 -9 fluid ounces (130-250 milliliters) 3 times daily.
A varied, nutrient-dense diet with whole foods is vital for supporting fibromyalgia, helping to manage discomfort and energize.
Goji berries and sour cherries contain natural melatonin, which promotes regular sleep cycles to help restore energy levels. Snack on a handful of goji berries or have a glass of sour cherry juice before bedtime to aid sleep and reduce pain.
Coconut oil, as well as being a source of quick fuel, is also anti-inflammatory and immune-supporting. Use 3-4 tablespoons each day in cooking, dressings, or just eaten on its own.
Fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kimchi contain beneficial organisms that help balance gut flora. Use as condiments for main meals several times a week.
Certain key nutrients can help to ease pain and fatigue, so try to make these part of your daily regimen.
CoQ10, a vitamin-like compound, is necessary for the production of energy at a metabolic level and can help to reduce the pain and fatigue of fibromyalgia. Take 300 milligrams daily.
Omega-3 fatty acids, from fish or algal sources, have an anti-inflammatory action that may help to reduce pain and stiffness. Take up to 2 grams daily.
Turmeric contains curcumin, well known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Take up to 1 gram daily.
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to chronic pain. Take a high-dose supplement of up to 1600 iu vitamin D3 daily.
Insomnia can raise the risk of fibromyalgia, especially in women. A regular sleep routine is essential to combat pain and exhaustion.
Gentle regular exercise, especially swimming, can relieve pain and improve quality of life.
Yoga can be an effective way of managing fibromyalgia pain.
Acupuncture can help to reduce pain and improve quality of life for those with chronic pain conditions.
Massage, with or without essentials oils, can aid relaxation, relieve pain, and reduce anxiety and depression. Weekly sessions are the most beneficial.
More from Complete Wellness:
- Types of Healing Herbs
- Natural Treatments for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Natural Treatments for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- 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.