* Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a vaguely defined disorder that is diagnosed when there is persistent severe fatigue that lasts for at least six months and inhibits normal daily activity by half; and where other chronic clinical conditions can be ruled out.
* Because CFS has symptoms common to many other disorders, it often goes unrecognized and the patient may be diagnosed with depression, a psychiatric disorder or the patient may be seen as a hypochondriac.
* Women are three times more likely to suffer CFS than men are, and people in the age bracket of twenty to forty years are the most commonly affected.
* Though CFS is not life threatening, it is not curable and may lead to severe immune system damage if left untreated.
* While there is no known specific cause of CFS there are many recurring factors in sufferers of CFS, these may include chronic viral infection, food allergies, Epstein-Barr virus, adrenal gland dysfunction, immune system problems, other underlying conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Chronic pain or inflammation, drug use including oral contraceptives and anti hypertensives, depression, hypoglycemia, hypothyroidism, anemia and infections such as candida have also been linked with CFS.
* Symptoms are wide ranging in CFS sufferers and patients do not display the same symptoms. Symptoms may include mild fever, sleep difficulties, severe fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, headaches, jaundice, loss of appetite, sore throat, muscle aches and spasms, sensitivity to light and heat, anxiety, depression, mood swings, memory blocks, intestinal problems, difficulty concentrating and muscle weakness.
* Exercise – severe fatigue is the major symptom in CFS and it may be prevented from worsening with regular gentle exercise. Avoid vigorous exercise as it may exacerbate fatigue. If the fatigue progressively worsens despite exercise, seek help from a CFS expert.
* Have food allergies diagnosed and treated accordingly.
* Eat small and regular meals as this will help regulate energy levels.
* Stress and Depression Management – the mind has a powerful influence upon one’s health, and techniques such as aromatherapy, massage, meditation, yoga or breathing exercises should be a part of your daily CFS therapy.
* Get plenty of rest.
* Dietary Changes – it is important not to put the immune system under more stress if you suffer from CFS.
A healthy diet for CSF patients should include:
– A plant-based diet, with about half being raw fruits and vegetables.
– Drink plenty of filtered water as this will help with muscle pain. Also take in plenty of fresh juices, if possible they should be juiced at home and organic.
– Warming digestive herbs/spices such as cumin, ginger, turmeric etc.. should be used to enhace digestion – Take a vegetable based protein supplement daily for energy.
– Avoid junk foods, processed and fried foods, alcohol, shellfish, coffee, tea, soda, sugar products and white flour products.
– Adzuki Beans .A great rejuvenative food for the adrenal glands. Can be cooked with kombu (seaweed) for one hour and mixed with pumpkin for an excellent rejuvenative.
* There is no cure for CFS, therefore therapy is limited to treatment of the symptoms. It is important to seek help from a practitioner who is experienced in treatment of CFS, as it is a recently recognized and very complex disorder.
VITAMIN B12 – CYANOCOBALAMIN – Helps to prevent anemia, boosts energy levels, is required for digestion, absorption and metabolism of foods, and helps with memory and learning. Natural sources of vitamin B12 include brewer’s yeast, seaweed – dulse and kelp, soy products, alfalfa and hops. Injections twice weekly by your physician are recommended.
VITAMIN C – With bioflavonoids. Increases energy levels, helps the immune system and adrenal gland, reduces stress and has an antiviral effect. Natural sources of vitamin C include paprika, plantain, dandelion greens, black currants, citrus, fennel seed, tomatoes, silverbeet, berries, persimmons, peas, mangos, kale, pineapple, alfalfa, asparagus, rose hip, onions, radishes, and avocados. 5,000 – 10,000 mg daily in divided doses may help. Do not use more than 5,000 mg daily if pregnant. Use esterified vitamin C if you use aspirin. Large doses of vitamin C may cause diarrhea, may deplete the body of copper and may affect the reliability of oral contraceptives.
VITAMIN B5 – PANTOTHENIC ACID – Helps to reduce stress levels, supports the immune system improves depression, anxiety and energy levels. Natural sources of vitamin B5 include vegetables, legumes, brewer’s yeast, mushrooms, royal jelly, whole wheat and torula yeast. 250 mg daily may help.
FOLIC ACID – Used to boost energy and for red blood cell formation. Assists the immune system, metabolism and improves depression and anxiety. Natural sources of folic acid include brewer’s yeast, brown rice, mushrooms, oranges, whole wheat and grains, dates, barley, root vegetables, lentils, legumes and green leafy vegetables. Use according to label instructions. Do not take folic acid for prolonged periods if you have hormone related cancer or a convulsive disorder.
VITAMIN E – Antioxidant that helps the immune system. 400 mg daily may help. If you have high blood pressure, start with less and increase the dose slowly. Take according to label instructions if you suffer from diabetes, overactive thyroid, or are taking anticoagulant medication.
MAGNESIUM – Enables enzyme activity for energy production, helps to prevent depression and muscle weakness. CFS sufferers often have low magnesium levels. Natural sources of magnesium include apricots, brown rice, peppermint, tofu, wheat, avocados, apples, blackstrap molasses, black eyed peas, peaches, lima beans, licorice, parsley, chamomile, fenugreek, garlic, brewer’s yeast, leafy green vegetables and figs. 500 – 1,000 mg daily in divided doses may help. High doses of magnesium may cause diarrhea. Consult your physician before taking magnesium supplementation if you have kidney disease.
ASTRAGALUS, HUANG QI – Improves energy levels, helps the adrenal gland, helps digestion, increases metabolism and helps to protect the immune system. Use according to label instructions. Do not take if you have a fever.
BERGAMOT – Essential oil. Used in aromatherapy for depression and anxiety. Blended with clary sage and sweet orange for depression, and with lavender, ylang ylang and petitgrain for anxiety. Both blends may be added to a warm bath – add six drops after the water is drawn, agitate the water before getting in, may also be used in a burner. The anxiety blend may be applied to a tissue and inhaled if you would like to use it while you are out of the house. Do not apply bergamot to the skin if you are going into the sun as it may cause photosensitivity.
BURDOCK – Cleanses the blood, helps the liver and immune system. Use according to label instructions. Burdock root should be used with caution during pregnancy and may reduce iron absorption.
CLARY SAGE – Essential oil. Used for depression in a blend with bergamot and sweet orange. This blend may be used in a warm bath or in a burner. Do not use if pregnant or if drinking alcohol.
GARLIC – Helps to detoxify the body, improves the immune system and circulation. Take according to label instruction. People taking anticoagulant drugs should take garlic under medical supervision.
GINGER – Essential oil. Used to improve circulation, for joint pain and muscular aches and pains. Ginger may be used in a carrier oil with rosemary, marjoram, peppermint, black pepper or lavender (any blend of about 3 – 4 oils) and massaged on to the affected area. Essential oil should equal three percent of total oil content. Do not use for a prolonged period during pregnancy or if you have gallstones.
GINKGO, MAIDENHAIR TREE – Improves circulation and tissue oxygenation, used for depression, memory or kidney disorder and headaches. Use according to label instructions. Take for at least two weeks for maximum benefit.
LAVENDER – Essential oil. May be used undiluted, massaged onto the temples to relieve headaches and to help with insomnia. Lavender is used for depression with clary sage, bergamot and sweet orange in a burner or warm bath. Lavender may be used for anxiety with bergamot, petitgrain, and ylang ylang in a warm bath or burner. This mixture may also be applied to a tissue an inhaled. Lavender may be used with peppermint for aching legs or feet. Use in a carrier oil and massage in to the affected area. Essential oil should equal three percent of total oil content.
LICORICE ROOT, GAN CAO – Helps with CFS, allergies, depression, and deglycyrrhizinated licorice may help the immune system. Do not take licorice for a prolonged period. Do not take if pregnant, have diabetes, glaucoma, high blood pressure, heart disease or history of stroke.
PEPPERMINT – Essential oil. Used with rosemary, marjoram, and/or lavender in a carrier oil and massaged on to the affected area helps to relieve aches and tight muscles. This blend can also be used in a warm bath. Used as an inhalant peppermint can assist with nausea and mental fatigue. Massaged onto the stomach in a carrier oil can help with indigestion. Do not use if pregnant.
GINSENG – Siberian Ginseng – eleuthero. Helps to decrease stress, improves adrenal gland function, improves the immune system and is used to treat CFS. Use according to label instructions. Do not use if you have a heart disorder, high blood pressure, or hypoglycemia.
ROSEMARY – Essential oil. Is used with basil, lemon and bergamot in a burner for mental fatigue. With marjoram and peppermint in carrier oil, rosemary is used for sore or tight muscles and for lethargy. Do not use if pregnant, epileptic or have high blood pressure.
SANDALWOOD – Essential oil. Used in aromatherapy for depression, stress and tension. Add to a warm bath, massage on to the body (diluted at three percent in a carrier oil), or use in a burner.
SKULLCAP, SCULLCAP, MAD DOG WEED. – Helps with circulation, headaches, stress, pain, fatigue, anxiety and improves circulation. Take according to label instructions. Do not use if pregnant or lactating.
VALERIAN – Helps with insomnia, anxiety, pain and stress, and is used as a sedative. Use according to label instructions.