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Raynauds disease

General characteristics

General characteristics

Raynaud's disease (or Raynaud's phenomenon) is a condition affecting the peripheral circulation in the small blood vessels. The extremities such as the fingers, toes, nose and ears can be affected.

In response to cold weather or conditions, the capillaries in the extremities naturally constrict a little to conserve heat. In Raynaud's disease, these overreact to the cold and capillaries go into spasm, constricting so much so that blood flow in the area is severely restricted. The fingers/toes suffer from a lack of blood and appear swollen and white or blueish red in colour. In severe cases the affected blood vessels may become damaged and result in gangrene.

The condition ultimately results from poor nervous control over the blood vessels (reason unknown) but can also arise from so called autoimmune disorders, as a symptom of other illnesses, a side effect from some medications, injury or overuse of the hands for example. It is also more common in women and migraine sufferers (another spasmodic condition of blood vessels).

Diet and lifestyle

Diet and lifestyle

Foods rich in magnesium and calcium can help to reduce the likelihood of spasm and thereby lessen the symptoms of the condition. Good sources include fresh carrot juice,

Foods rich in omega oils are beneficial in Raynauds as they help encourage a better blood flow through blood vessels in response to cold, improve immunity and are anti-inflammatory. Good sources include oily fish like salmon, mackerel, trout and sardines and raw plant seeds such as sunflower, pumpkin and sesame and olive oil.

Warming and blood moving foods such as chilli, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, black pepper, mustard and horseradish can be used in cooking.

Useful herbs

Useful herbs

Ginkgo is a useful herb for encouraging proper blood flow throughout the body.

Cayenne (chilli), sage, ginger, garlic and cinnamon all help to thin the blood making it easier to move through the smaller peripheral blood vessels.

Prickly ash is a specific herb for encouraging blood flow to the peripheral blood vessels.

Angelica root will also improve blood flow to the peripheries and provide a warm feeling to the whole body when needed.

Antispasmodic herbs such as cramp bark can relax and dilate blood vessels, prevent them from going into spasm.

Natural healing

Natural healing

Some people find symptoms and incidences are reduced by taking a teaspoon of cider vinegar in water daily.

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