Go Ad-Free
logoThe People's Perspective on Medicine

Can You Ease Raynaud’s Syndrome Naturally?

Keeping fingers warm and taking certain spices, herbs or supplements can help ease the alarming symptoms of Raynaud's syndrome.

In 1862, a French physician named Maurice Raynaud described a condition in which fingers (and occasionally toes, ears and noses) become painful and turn white in the cold. The medical experts of the day named this phenomenon for him, as Raynaud’s disease or Raynaud’s syndrome. (It is pronounced “Ray-NOSE”). What should you know about it?

Natural Approaches for Raynaud’s Syndrome:

Q. I’d like to know more about Raynaud’s syndrome. I have been suffering from this for several years now, but my doctor prefers not to prescribe anything for it.

Are there any natural ways to treat this? When I show my friends how white my fingers get, they seem worried and now I am too.

What Is Raynaud’s Syndrome?

A. In Raynaud’s disease, small blood vessels in fingers, toes or the tip of the nose constrict too much when they are exposed to cold. As a result, blood can’t flow freely, and the fingers turn white or blue in the cold. As they warm back up, they may turn unnaturally red.

Wintertime is especially challenging, but air conditioning can also trigger an attack. This can be quite painful.

Usually, doctors can’t identify a specific reason that a person develops Raynaud’s phenomenon, but vulnerable people may react to medications like beta blockers or birth control pills by developing these symptoms. Smoking exacerbates the problem because it impairs circulation.

Women are somewhat more likely to suffer than men. People with connective tissue disorders may have problems with Raynaud’s phenomenon as a consequence of their underlying medical condition.

Easing Raynaud’s Syndrome Naturally:

The most important nondrug approach to easing the symptoms is keeping the affected areas warm. Sufferers often find good gloves very helpful. Some people wear mittens and socks to bed.

Spices for Raynaud’s Syndrome:

We have heard from other readers with this condition who successfully use astragalus, cinnamon, ginger or grape seed extract to boost their circulation. We have found no scientific studies of any of these supplements for Raynaud’s phenomenon, but one or more might be worth a try. Some people also find it helpful to eat spicy food.

Magnesium Supplements:

Magnesium supplements may also be helpful (Annals of Pharmacotherapy, Feb. 2002). No dose has been established as the standard, so anyone who wants to try it will need to experiment to find an appropriate amount that helps without causing diarrhea. However, people with poor kidney function should avoid magnesium supplements, as their kidneys may not be able to manage any excess.

Rate this article
4.9- 23 ratings
About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
Tired of the ads on our website?

Now you can browse our website completely ad-free for just $5 / month. Stay up to date on breaking health news and support our work without the distraction of advertisements.

Browse our website ad-free
Join over 150,000 Subscribers at The People's Pharmacy

We're empowering you to make wise decisions about your own health, by providing you with essential health information about both medical and alternative treatment options.