Raynaud’s is a condition in which blood vessels in the hands and feet constrict, leading to pain and numbness. Sometimes fingers or toes even turn white or blue. The nose or earlobes also may be affected. The cause is mysterious, and there is no cure. Doctors prescribe a variety of medications to improve circulation, but no one treatment works for everyone. For some, home remedies may be a worthwhile option.
About a year ago I read in your column that a man with Raynaud’s phenomenon had good luck with astragalus root for this problem. I tried it, and within days it had worked like magic. Before using it I had almost decided I would move to Florida for the winter. I didn’t take it during the summer, because my fingers become painful only in cold weather. This winter I began taking it, and it is working beautifully again.
Astragalus root has been used in China for centuries to boost immunity and circulation. Research on animals suggests that astragalus may improve circulation, which is a problem with Raynaud’s.
My Raynaud’s syndrome has suddenly seemed to disappear. The only change I’ve made is to take a cinnamon capsule daily starting about six weeks ago. My fingers used to turn white even in the summer. Today it’s in the 20s and I haven’t had a problem, even getting stuff out of the freezer. Is it the cinnamon?
In Chinese medicine both cinnamon and the herb astragalus have been used to improve circulation and to relieve symptoms of Raynaud’s disease. Be careful not to overdose on the cinnamon, though, since this spice sometimes contains a compound called coumarin that can damage the liver. To be safe, try looking for a cinnamon supplement that is water extracted to eliminate the coumarin.
Contributed by Tieraona Low Dog, M.D.
1 ounce astragalus root, dried and sliced
1 ounce schizandra fruit, dried
1 ounce rose hips, dried
½ ounce eleuthero root, dried and sliced
2 cups water
Honey and lemon to taste
Mix herbs together and store in a jar. Keep in a dark place.
TO PREPARE: Add one tablespoon herb mixture to water, bring to a boil, and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Strain. Add honey and lemon to taste.
Drink half a cup two to three times every day during the cold and flu season.
Source Credits: Joe Graedon & Terry Graedon, The People’s Pharmacy: Quick & Handy Home Remedies, published by National Geographic