Understanding Chronic Fatigue - McDowell's Herbal Treatments


Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) refers to a marked and prolonged fatigue for which no identifiable cause can be found.

Other symptoms frequently present include muscle weakness and pain, low-grade fever, sore throat, painful lymph nodes in the neck and armpits, exacerbation of fatigue after moderate or strenuous exercise for periods of 24 hours or more, transient pains in a number of joints, and various disturbances such as confusion, irritability, poor concentration and visual changes. Despite the range of other symptoms being extensive, none are essential for the diagnosis to be made in the presence of profound fatigue of 6 months or more duration. Chronic fatigue syndrome is frequently seen in association with depression and anxiety but has not been shown to be causally related.

The cause of chronic fatigue syndrome remains unknown at this point in time. Research point to a number of links including virus infections (including Epstein-Barr virus, enteroviruses) and poliomyelitis as well as and fungal agents (in particular, Candida albicans as well as trauma, toxin exposure, poor eating habits and prolonged stress.

Chronic fatigue syndrome occurs more commonly in women with a peak incidence in those in the third and fourth decades. In general, no forms of treatment are shown to alter the course of the condition. Recovery is reported in a number of studies to be facilitated by rest complemented by a supervised program of gentle exercise. The prognosis varies greatly across the spectrum of cases reported to date, with the majority of sufferers eventually recovering after a period of one to ten years.

Onset of ME/CFS may be sudden or slow. There can be various levels of severity of this condition. Some people can go to work or can manage moderate levels of activity, while others are housebound or bedridden. The main symptom is abnormal exhaustion after any form of exertion and a worsening of other symptoms. The response may be delayed, perhaps beginning after 24 hours. Currently there is no cure but some treatments may provide relief and diminish the symptoms for some people with ME/CFS.


  • It is important to educate yourself, obtain support and manage the illness with the help of a doctor experienced in managing this condition.
  • Listen to your body and keep activity within your limits to avoid relapse.
  • Take stock of what's going on in your life and be willing to change what is making you drained and depleted. Most of us are working too hard, not getting enough sleep and not taking the self-renewing time for ourselves we need.
  • Avoid refined foods, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and saturated fats. Eat more fresh vegetables, legumes, whole grains, protein, and essential fatty acids (found in nuts, seeds, and cold-water fish).
  • Supplement with 2000mg fish oil daily
  • 2 cups daily of Rosehips Tea to rebuild the Vitamin C, Iron and Adrenal reserves
  • Essential oils lavender jasmine, peppermint, and rosemary are relaxing and calming.
  • A quality multi vitamin including vitamin B's such as metagenics, blackmores
  • Gentle herbs that are adaptogens and adrenal tonics are best for treatment of fatigue. Avoid reliance on stimulants, even natural ones such as kola nut, guarana, yerba mate, and too much coffee. The short term boost disappears to leave you more fatigued than you were before you took them.
  • Herbal mix to strengthen the immune system, decrease fatigue, strengthen circulation :- Siberian ginseng, Astragalus, Liquorice, Withania, Gotu Kola, Oat straw, along with the Bach Flowers Rescue Remedy, Cerato, Willow, Holly, Larch. The final mix would depend on the individual circumstances. Identifying the correct dose rate for each patient is critical for successful treatment.

CFS is such a life crisis that it will often bring to the fore realisations about how one has been compromising ones own dreams, hopes and destiny in the service of others or because of the expectations of others. Recovery from Chronic Fatigue can often signal a re-arrangement of priorities and relationships or an examination of ones spirituality and inner needs.

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McDowell's staff Herbalists can not diagnose your disease or illness. What they can do is offer a herbal program to assist with healing, after you have had advice from your doctor or specialist. If you have unexplained pain or symptoms, seek medical advice.

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