Raynaud’s disease is a condition in which the blood supply to the extremities, usually the fingers and toes but sometimes also the ears and nose, is interrupted. During an attack, the affected areas become white, then turn red, then blue; there is also a painful burning sensation or numbness or tingling. An attack will often be triggered by exposure to cold or contact with cold objects. People who work with vibratory tools such as chain saws are more prone to Raynaud’s.
Conventional treatment includes calcium channel blockers or nitroglycerin, which causes the correct dilation of the blood vessels. Acupuncture can be very helpful, and many patients have reported relief after just two or three sessions. In traditional Chinese medicine, warming foods like ginger, cloves, chicken, dates, coconut, mutton, basil, mustard leaf and squash, would also be recommended. Avoid eating too many raw foods as they are cold and contribute to the coldness in your hands and feet.
Ginger and cinnamon teas are warming and can be drunk throughout the day. In one study, fish oil was shown to reduce the severity of blood-vessel spasms in people with Raynaud’s. Take 4g of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) a day. Magnesium deficiency can lead to blood vessel spasm. Take 200-600mg of magnesium a day. Ginkgo biloba also has beneficial effects, thanks to its ability to increase blood flow and improve circulation. Flaxseed oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which may be helpful in mitigating the effects of Raynaud’s. It is best to buy small quantities of cold-pressed oil, and ensure it is stored in a dark glass bottle and refrigerated to protect it from UV light.
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