Chilblains & Raynaud’s Syndrome – Herbs to Balance Body Temperature

As a sufferer of severe Raynaud’s where my finger joints would go purple and black every winter, I’ve given a lot of thought to this condition and tried all kinds of treatments for it till I finally found something that really worked.

Creams that have lanolin (sheep fat) work the best to create a layer of protection from the cold, and the topical application of Winter Cherry, Spikenard, Datura and other herbs that create warmth locally, are necessary as you will have to keep your fingers and toes as warm as possible.

However, despite all that, the basic condition persists in those whose body temperature and therefore metabolism  isn’t stable.

For those whose body temperature has fallen chronically beneath the norm, herbal teas that warm up the body – Rosehips and Nettle for example, can help. For those who are running a higher than normal temperature, Chamomile is a tea that can help.

But those are very temporary fixes and their effect is limited.

To truly get your fingers and toes back to normal, hormonal rehabilitation through balancing body temperature is the only thing to do. It took me all of three years to achieve, but it did finally happen.

These are the herbs I took regularly and which are part of my Herbal Treatment for Raynaud’s Syndrome:

Mistletoe

All the work of making hormones and then transporting them to where they’re needed, and then using them the way they’re supposed to be used – the whole process is dependent on the body maintaining a stable temperature.

A drastic change in temperature starts off new processes and you don’t want a new one starting off while the previous one is still half-way done.

Mistletoe has all the nutrition as well as intelligence and energy to support the body’s own temperature balance mechanisms in getting back up to efficient.

If you’re wondering how that mechanism gets out of order in the first place, it’s over-stimulation and over-adrenalizing with inadequate sleep and rest and recovery. Remember puberty? It probably started then, habits developed then, Mistletoe can help us break out of.

Although Mistletoe in a dose of a drop or two of the concentrated extract will help heart rate and blood pressure stabilize in the moment, its true healing effects can be experienced when taken in small doses over months, maybe even a year or more. A break of a week or two or a little more in-between would be good idea though.

Cactus Grandiflora

is an efficient balancer of the nervous system frequency and in doing that stabilizes the function of the heart. This tones up circulation everywhere without causing any sudden increase in circulation and the subsequent drop. It is exactly that sort of instability that is counter-productive to treating Raynaud’s Disease.

Herbs that boost circulation, like garlic for example, should always be taken in responsible doses and as part of food rather than in strong herbal extract form when you’re trying to get the body to keep its temperature stable – which is what we’re trying to do with this herbal treatment.

Gelsemium or Yellow Jasmine

is a relaxer and calmer of the nervous system too and helps stabilize the extremes of temperature that cause Raynaud’s symptoms. It has the added usefulness of being helpful in moments of stress as a cooler of the brain and overheated nerve endings.

 

 

 

Pulsatilla or Pasque Flower

relaxes the tight and taut nerves in and around the abdomen, including the digestive system and the reproductive system. When this area is all tied up, the body cannot really do much. The reproductive organs are connected in many ways to the hormonal glands in the brain and need to be relaxed so the glands can do their job of maintaining temperature balance.

 

 

Gotu Kola

Gotu Kola
Gotu Kola

has the nutrition and intelligence required to support healing and balance all over the body. In this herbal combination it offers vital nutrients that make it possible for nerves and muscles to interact with each other without the sudden cramping and release associated with undernourished nerves and muscles.

 

 

 

 

Wheatgrass 

 is rehabilitation for the liver and in fact all organs in one way or another. Its simple powerful nutrition makes it possible for the liver to get back into robust function managing hormonal balance in the blood, which in turn supports the maintenance of a stable temperature of the body.

 

 

 

The Fig

has natural sugars and nutrients that comfort and replenish a body depleted and tired by instability in temperature and hormones. This contributes to a feeling of well-being and satisfaction in the nervous system and prevents the sudden nerve-shock that comes just before Raynaud’s attacks.

 

 

 

 

The White Willow

is a famous pain-killer and the source of Aspirin. In this herbal treatment it is used for its effect on circulation and the consequent lessening of inflammation and pain anywhere in the body. Taken as first-aid it works as a pain-killer, taken in small doses regularly over weeks and months, it helps clean up the circulatory system in a gentle but thorough way and prevents the coagulation in blood vessels that promote Raynaud’s Disease.

 

 

 

 

 

Chronic Nervous Inflammation – Reversing the Trend

Some years ago I was sitting in a bus-stop when I saw a woman shuffling along with a bag she was finding hard to carry even though it didn’t look very big or bulky. She should’ve been able to put it on her shoulder and keep walking. Instead she was lugging it with both her hands, in front of her, walking awkwardly.

I finally decided that whatever was inside that little bag was something really heavy. Something like a big rock.

That’s how life is for people with chronic inflammation of the brain and nervous system.

What seems easy and normal for others, is so difficult for them. They often either put on a lot of weight or lose a lot because they simply can’t seem to function normally.

See, in the body, “inflammation” doesn’t mean something’s on fire. It means an area is dehydrated to the point where the cushioning between the cells is gone and there’s no buffer between them – so they’re all clumped up and rubbing each other up causing friction and making the nerves in the area scream for help.

A lot of sudden gain in ‘water weight’ is just the body trying to soothe the area. That’s the body’s first response to any tragedy – send water in there to cushion and deliver special requirements for healing.

When however, this becomes a regular affair, the area becomes a normalized water body – just as repeat rains will form a pond that if continually fed with water will become an established water body.

Sometimes this shows prominently as weight gain – around the stomach for example, as happens in the case of chronic inflammation caused by attacks in the digestive system.

Other times the swelling isn’t so obvious but the feeling of, ‘I’m not well’ is prominent enough.

Some people struggle on year after year feeling unwell.

Now the solution to chronic nervous inflammation is rather simple. The key to it actually working though, is discipline.

“Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most.” – Abraham Lincoln

You have to consciously stop whatever’s causing the inflammation. Why discipline is the key is because when you have chronic nervous inflammation it means that the cause is somewhere in your lifestyle – not just a one-time thing.

And changing lifestyle requires discipline every time. It’s not an overnight thing.

Like a seed planted in the ground has to be watered even though it can’t be seen and its progress can’t be seen yet, so you have to keep doing the right thing for you, even when you cannot see the benefits, trusting that it will have its effect soon.

So how do you stop chronic nervous inflammation?

1) Find the cause of it in your lifestyle.

There might be many causes. But there’s a way to know if something causes inflammation. If you feel drained after eating something, or doing something, that’s a dead giveaway. If you feel bloated or confused or tired or irritable or lose your excitement for something; all those are giveaways.

Remember that something like doing something you don’t want to do, can have as much effect on the body as eating something that actually inflames the gut lining.

If you’re already careful to eat what doesn’t inflame your stomach, then you ought to look at other causes than what you’re ingesting.

The rule of thumb is this – physically ingested inflammants have the least overall effect, while emotional and psychological causes have more, followed by pharmaceutical substances which by nature of directly attacking the nervous system and/or hormonal balance in the body, have the worst inflammatory effect.

Do take some time off for yourself – to list the things that drain you. To think of how to get rid of those, or change them so they don’t drain you.

You might not realize what a huge change for the better can happen in your life and in your body by doing that.

2) Get your fat.

In the early nineties, there was a lot coming out in the media about how the lesser oil you had the better it was for your body. Newspaper articles and experts all advised fruit and vegetables over meat and fat.

It took a decade and a half before people realized that the information wasn’t exactly right. And that the lack of B vitamins and fat had caused an epidemic of nervous vulnerability, as we need fat to cushion our nerve endings and make us able to take the passage of electricity through our nervous system.

An epidemic of obesity that was actually just water retention due to chronic nervous inflammation started off then and hasn’t abated yet.

My rule of thumb is this – eat what makes your gut feel satisfied. If you feel like your stomach is happy, then you’ve eaten right.

In the beginning, you’ll feel unable to trust yourself – all you’ll want to eat is things that simply cannot be good for your body. Focus on your gut – does it feel good in your stomach?

Does it satisfy your hunger? Do you feel you can stop thinking about food for a while after you eat?

All fats are not equal. Races which thrived on animal fat usually cannot feel satisfied with vegetable fat. Go with your genetics. If it was good for your grandparents, it’s most likely good for you.

3) Get your familiar food and herbs.

Some people think herbs and supplements for nervous support are things like sedatives or maybe things that excite the brain and cause the release of hormones.

What I’ve found is, the no. 1 support for the nervous system is good fat in the diet.

After that, foods and herbs that are FAMILIAR.

The first thing a person reaches for in times of stress is a food familiar to them. Dairy is so popular because our first food was our mother’s milk. Cereals our genes are familiar with, and herbs that have been life partners with our families are all our friends in this world.

Things you ate when you were little rank very high in your body’s esteem.

So make place for them, go looking for them, find them, make them part of your life.

Giving your body a sense of security is critical to stopping the nervous inflammation.

Your familiar foods are your first medicine every time you feel threatened. It’s a good thing, a natural thing. Embrace it and keep your favorite things at hand always.

5) Herbs to stop chronic inflammation

You’ll find my my trusted anti-inflammatory herbs on this page. However those are more of first-aid.

To reverse the tendency to chronic inflammation of the brain and nervous system, I usually use a different set of herbs.

Rauvolfia Serpentina – or Snakeroot.


While supposed to be a sedative, in fact this highly specialized herb for the nervous system actually helps nerve endings recover electrical balance after shocks. Not everyone needs it, but if your chronic inflammation episodes coincide with severe mental stress, and you have experienced shock in your dreams or shock due to life circumstances, this herb can help.

Yellow Oleander or Thevetia Peruviana


Poisonous when had as a food, the highly diluted form of this beautiful tree, is powerful medicine for a depleted nervous system.
Very often inflammation is the result of the system just being too tired to deal with a problem any other way than sending out the alarm signal; too tired to learn a new way of dealing with pain.
This herb helps relieve that overwhelming feeling of having too much to deal with and restores perspective.

Tribulus Terrestris

This herb’s famous as a male libido enhancer. However that’s just one of it’s side-effects. It has this rather unique ability to heal those places where the nerves embed into the muscle and tendon tissue.
One of the triggers of chronic inflammation is improper or strained communication between the nerves and muscle tissue.
There’s a role water plays here, and Tribulus just happens to also help there by conditioning the kidneys to support stable functioning.
That tired, drained feeling in the muscles is greatly relieved by Tribulus. It lessens the chance of inflammation by lessening the stress in the nervous system.

Liquorice

Yes, good old liquorice works like a conditioner of the lungs, and the stomach lining – all places where nerve endings are just so ready to get hyper in.

Sweet to the taste, calming to the nerves and a rescuer from all the micro-dramas happening right under nose, liquorice has no side-effects and can only do good.

Slippery Elm Bark and Salix Nigra or Black Willow Bark, also have similar effects.

Centella Asiatica or Gotu Kola

Gotu Kola
Gotu Kola

I don’t think enough has been written about this herb even though it’s all over the internet. I find what’s written about it, grossly misleading. It’s been portrayed as a miracle cure for problems with the liver and sometimes with the brain.

In fact its effect is such a holistic – full-body full-system one that to limit it to the liver or brain is misleading.

In one sentence – Centella Asiatica stabilizes the system. Like an earthing wire grounds an imbalanced electrical appliance, this ground hugging herb grounds immediately.

Raw cacao – real chocolate has a little bit of this effect – perhaps why chocolate is so popular and why people in stress reach for chocolate.

But as it’s not very easy to get cacao powder that hasn’t any additives or hasn’t been irradiated while processing and packing, I use Centella Asiatica for the beautiful ground effect.

The only thing to remember about Centella is, if you have it in the evenings, you could find yourself a little too clear headed around bed time and that could lead to you losing sleep while you engage something like reading or brain-storming.

Ginkgo Biloba

Famous for helping stupid people become intelligent, Ginkgo does something few other easily available botanicals do. It ‘holds’ you in, focuses you.

Not just mentally but physically as well.

No matter what you’ve gone through, you could use something holding your body focused in doing what has to be done to be healed.

This drastically lessens the chance of inflammation as very often inflammation is the result of energy going where it’s not needed.

 

White Willow Bark – Salix Alba

Famous for being the original source of aspirin, this tree’s a pain killer. I have used it for a long while now for all kinds of pain killer needs. But it also has the ability, when taken in a small dose over a period of time, to rehabilitate the body’s ability to deal with inflammation.

In the case of someone with chronic inflammation, the body is in the habit of dealing with any threat by getting inflamed, swollen and so on. White Willow helps change that habit, helps the body do things like retain and work with nutrition it needs desperately instead of spending all its energy dealing with one inflammation after another.

Herbs for Overworked Brains

There are some people who never have brain burnouts; calm people who fall in the categories of low intelligence and the very intelligent. If you’re one of the lucky ones this article is not for you.

This is for those who tend to use their brains in manic ways to the point where they feel burned out, their heads literally over heated.

Brain stress and burnout isn’t caused just by overthinking. The brain can get wound up and overworked hormonally, through the effect of drugs that stimulate the glands in the brain. The brain can get over-heated dealing with the sudden demands of the body in dealing with hormonal changes like puberty, pregnancy, even changes in the temperature around us.

Spring fever, the onset of summer, the brain freeze of winter coming on quicker than usual – all these can over-work the brain.

Brain stress is also caused by compromised blood circulation such as caused a heavy meal or a sluggish liver.

Let’s get straight to it.

 

My Top 7 Herbs for Overworked Brains

 

White Willow Bark – Salix Alba

The original source of Aspirin, and a pain reliever, I have used it to relieve all kinds of pain. No matter what sort of brain burn-out you’re experiencing, White Willow Bark, through its gentle effect of calming erratic blood circulation, will help.

5 -10 drops in a cup of water is usually enough. Try to get some sleep or do things that don’t require brain work, and then take another dose when the pain starts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

St. John’s Wort – Hypericum

Also a pain reliever, St.John’s Wort is what I call a ‘cheerer’ of the system. There is this state of consciousness a body (and brain) fall into because of fatigue that never really goes away. A sort of listlessness that hangs on from day to day that shows up in a dull ache in the nervous system that can flare up every now and then.

The nerves have got their share of housekeeping and self repair to do, but in this state of affairs most of that gets put aside simply because of the general lack of hope.

St. John’s Wort acts like an old friend come around to cheer everyone up and take the mind off those same old depressing thoughts that lead nowhere in the end.

5-10 drops in a cup of water is enough. Or tea.

Borage – Borago Officinalis

They call it the ‘courage’ herb. It’s for when you feel overloaded and overwhelmed and the main cause of the stress is the stress itself.

Those for example who are stressed out because they’re too stressed out to find a solution to a problem. They know they have to stop being stressed out, but they’re too stressed out to find a solution to being stressed out so they can find a solution to the problem.

Short circuiting if you will – everything feels like it comes back to square one. The person goes around in thought loops, saying the same things every few hours, coming to the same conclusions, and then back on the merry-go-round in the same pattern over and over.

It takes a sort of spark or energy to get out of the loop, and that is a matter of the heart, rather than a matter of the head.

You see a thinking process that does not have the heart and feeling and passion involved, is bound to short circuit. We’re just not made to be robots. We cannot solve problems like robots do.

We need the spark of emotion or nothing will make sense eventually. Our thought processes need to be grounded and connected to our feelings, what we really care about.

This is where Borage can help. Borage is a smug little school boy that knows just who everyone is secretly in love with, but not even telling themselves. With a smug naughty little grin he’ll point out that secret person to you.

The blood will rush to your head at the thought of that person (or whatever it is that you feel strongly about – the real reason for this whole mental effort in the first place) and suddenly everything feels a whole lot better.

Don’t use Borage too often. Keep it for those moments when you really need it. Once or twice a day is as much as you could need it.

Plaintain – Plantago Officinalis

Sometimes Brain Stress is because of nerves wound up and taut in the digestive system. Plantain has this conditioning, smoothing effect all through.

If you find your flow of thought erratic, jumping about instead of moving from point A to point B and so on, Plantain will help smooth things out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Foxglove or Digitalis

Usually taken to regularize heart beat rhythm, Digitalis also helps normalize nervous frequency and brain circulation.

Of special help for those with panic disorders, those with PTSD, those with severe anxiety, Digitalis can help get the person back to a point where those moments of severe stress, when it feels like the world is ending, and the hands are shaking and the perspiration flows, are greatly lessened.

When you feel your heart rate increasing wildly (and not because the one you love has entered the room – that’s good heart rate increase) – that’s Digitalis time.

 

Pennywort or Gotu Kola – Centella Asiatica

Gotu Kola
Gotu Kola

There are few herbs in the world that will give instant strength to a tired overheated brain. Strength to face the situation, strength to deal with the demand of brain hormones to manage a change in the body, strength.. basic strength.

Pennywort or Gotu Kola is this tender little plant that hugs the earth and covers the ground. This tenderness is reminiscent of our brains and nerves. For all the looks of it, our physically slender nerves and soft mushy brains do a huge amount of work and truly are strong to do all they do.

Pennywort is for that state of consciousness where we’ve gotten disconnected from ‘why are we doing this’. Much like Borage which connects us to our emotions, but perhaps on an even more primal level, Pennywort brings our energy reserves to focus on the most basic of our life tasks, instantly releasing energy the brain was holding on to for ‘the big problem’, keeping everything else stalled.

Pennywort’s like the Mom coming to the child’s house and saying, “Sure you have a problem, but you’ll feel better about it all once your trash has been taken out, and your carpet cleaned and your bed linen changed.” And in fact it’s true.

Pennywort or Gotu Kola is robust liver strength and support for all the clean-up processes of the body. You have to try it to understand how supporting the clean-up processes can result in a vibrant relaxed healthy brain.

Gotu Kola taken regularly is solid brain rehabilitation and you could benefit from it especially as the weather gets warmer.

 

Sarsaparilla

Sarsaparilla is part of the traditional arsenal against the heat of the summer. A tincture of the roots has such an array of benefits, it would be foolish for me to consider listing them here.

Sarsaparilla helps relaxes the lungs which results in such a decrease in the tension that blood stuck up in pockets here and there holding heat and getting warmer by the minute, finally move out and release the heat (and tension). The brain relaxes as well as the whole nervous system. This often has something of a pain killer effect for those with tension caused pain in the organs and deep muscle tissue.

Prepare to be surprised by Sarsaparilla. All kinds of good things can result from the body relaxing.