The Fundamentals

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), is characterized by incapacitating fatigue. The patient's symptoms may come and go, but are severely debilitating and may last for months or years. While more commonly found in professionals in the 20-30 year old range, thus the nickname "yuppie flu", the syndrome affects people of all ages, occupations, and income levels. More women, especially those younger than 45, are diagnosed with CFS than men or children. The cause of CFS is unknown. Originally, it was attributed to the Epstein-Barr virus, but of late, that theory has been dismissed on the basis of serological and epidemiological observations. Other viruses have been investigated, including cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex types 1 and 2, human herpes virus 6, Inoue-Melnick virus, human adenovirus 2, measles, and a retrovirus somewhat resembling human T-cell lymphotropic virus type II. Another theory on the cause is that some symptoms may result from an overactive immune system. Genetic predisposition, age, hormal balance, neuropsychiatric factors, sex, previous illness, environment, and stress appear to have a role in the syndrome. Allergies, food intolerances, drug reactions, yeast infections, and psychological problems have all been investigated as possible causes.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome causes few complications, but its debilitating nature takes a toll on the patient's sense of well-being. Most complain of prolonged and overwhelming fatigue, accompanied by sore throat, myalgia, and cognitive dysfunction. To date, there are no definitive tests to pinpoint CFS. Diagnostic studies should include tests to rule out other similar clinical conditions.

Helpful Links:

American Association for
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic Fatigue

hronic Fatigue Syndrome is a relentless, debilitating exhaustion that affects some 3-6 million Americans, and 90 million worldwide, yearly. This condition begins with cold and flu symptoms that just keep hanging on, followed by profound lethargy that no amount of sleep or rest will help and tiredness that has nothing to do with any physical exertion. Because the cause of CFS is unknown, there is no cure. Researchers and studies suggest that herbal supplements may help alleviate some of the symptoms. Sore throat and tender lymph nodes are the main symptoms aside from the fatigue. Others include muscle and joint pain, headaches, depression, anxiety, inability to concentrate, stomach distress, impaired memory, and insomnia. While benzodiazepine drugs like Xanax and Valium are often prescribed for anxiety and insomnia, and anti-inflammatory drugs are given out for the aching muscles and joints, there are many natural herbal supplements that are just as effective, and have none of the unpleasant side effects.
To help bolster the weakened immune system, Echinacea and Astragalus have proven helpful. Astragalus is also antibacterial and antiviral. With long-term use, it has been shown to greatly improve stamina. Siberian Ginseng and Licorice Root are helpful to the adrenal system. Siberian Ginseng supports adrenal function and bolsters resistance to stress. In studies, it has proven to increase both T lymphpocytes and natural killer cells, which are often low in those suffering from CFS. Licorice contains the compound glycyrrhizin, which delays the body's removal of cortisol, an adrenal hormone commonly found to be low in those with CFS. To help ward off allergies, viruses, and inflammation, Reishi Mushrooms are useful. Reishi also protects the liver, calms anxiety, and aids in falling asleep. Depression often accompanies Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. St. John's Wort is very effective in fighting depression, and improves appetite and energy levels as well. Another symptom of CFS is insomnia. Valerian Root is a powerful aid, as it induces sleep as well as or better than prescribed sedatives, but without the morning hangover. Additionally, Valerian is non-habit forming. The German Commission E endorses Asian (or Red) Ginseng as a tonic to battle fatigue and an overall sense of debility, and to aid in regaining concentration and memory. Like Siberian Ginseng, Red Ginseng also stimulates the immune system.
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Note: This information is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the use of a qualified health care professional. We strongly recommend the use of a physician for the diagnostic phase of any treatment. With an accurate diagnosis in hand, we believe the consumer, at that point, has a basic, unalienable right to seek out factual information on all therapeutic approaches, both orthodox and alternative, and choose those approach(es) that are right for them. Nonetheless, a "good doctor" should be considered a requisite starting point.

To U.S. Users: None of the products mentioned on this page have been evaluated by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration; therefore, they are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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