My daughter-in-law suffers from Raynaud’s syndrome, and while it is not at the severe end of the spectrum, it does cause her a lot of trouble. She is careful of her health and is into natural health. What remedies or treatment would you recommend?
>> Raynaud’s syndrome (also known as Raynaud’s Phenomenon or disease) is far more common in women than men, with more than 90% of sufferers being female. It doesn’t discriminate according to age, but can be triggered by the hormonal changes associated with puberty, pregnancy, and menopause.
There is sometimes a family history of Raynaud’s, but more often than not it is difficult to pin down just why some individuals suddenly find themselves having an extreme reaction to the slightest variation in temperature.
A number of cases occur as a secondary issue, meaning the Raynaud’s is a symptom of another underlying disorder, which is why it is important to work together with a doctor or specialist.
Something as simple as taking an item from the fridge or even sitting near a draught can trigger an attack. Raynaud’s affects the extremities — fingers, toes, nose, ears, lips, and nipples. This condition is so much more than just cold extremities though. When the blood supply is interrupted, the effects can be extremely painful and debilitating. Simple tasks can become impossible, and an attack might last anything from a few minutes to a number of hours.
The flesh turns bright white as the body restricts blood flow with the tiny blood vessels spasming in response to cold, and then when the blood returns extremities will become blue and then red. It is when the blood returns that pain, burning, and pins and needles become even more intense.
Detecting Raynaud’s early on can prevent a whole host of secondary issues, such as scleroderma, where healthy tissue and blood vessels can be permanently damaged.
The bad news is that there is no cure as such. The good news is that there are many treatments, both natural and conventional, which have been shown to manage symptoms very effectively.
Extracts from ginkgo biloba, ginger root, and garlic are the most popular herbal treatments. Supplements including vitamin E, fish oils, evening primrose, and magnesium are very popular, while acupuncture is the most commonly used natural therapy.
Padma 28 is a herbal formulation based on a traditional Tibetan recipe, and has been shown in clinical trials to be useful in circulatory disorders, including Raynaud’s. Padma 28 consists of a carefully balanced preparation of 19 dried and milled herbs, together with natural camphor and calcium sulphate. This formula has powerful anti-oxidant effects which have been found to be important in maintaining healthy circulation. For further information and support, your daughter-in-law might like to visit the Raynauds & Scleroderma Ireland website at irishraynauds.com, or phone the helpline on 01-2157663 / 081-8363999.
Is it safe to take withania while I am still nursing my 12-week-old son? I have found it to be very useful in the past, but can’t find any information about safety for breastfeeding babies.
>> Withania somnifera, known as ashwagandha in Ayurvedic medicine, is a very popular herbal remedy for mothers, since it helps to reduce the feeling of overwhelm and is indeed safe to use while breastfeeding . It can also be a useful remedy to help with any stress and anxiety for the non-breastfeeding parent.
In India, Ayurvedic practitioners use this herb as a nerve strengthening tonic for all ages, including children and even during pregnancy. Withania is widely used for its ability to address physical imbalances within the body as well as the emotional state. The only contraindication to be aware of is barbiturates, as it may intensify their effects. If this herb is taken as a long-term remedy it is best to take a break for a week following every six weeks of use.