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Natural Remedies for Raynaud’s Syndrome

Natural Remedies, Raynaud's Syndrome

Reynaud’s disease causes blood vessels to constrict, resulting in pain and numbness in the fingers and toes. The skin may turn white, bluish, or red; in rare severe cases, gangrene may form on the fingertips. Sometimes the nose, earlobes, or legs are affected. Primary Raynaud’s syndrome occurs on its own, while secondary Raynaud’s is associated with other illnesses, particularly scleroderma. The cause of Raynaud’s is unknown, although researchers believe it is linked with exposure to cold temperatures and stress.

According to the Mayo Clinic, Raynaud’s syndrome mostly affects women and people who live in cold climates. Conventional treatments include corticosteroids or prednisone, which can cause side effects such as weight gain and irregular heartbeat. Natural remedies and lifestyle changes can gently treat symptoms of this condition. If you have Raynaud’s symptoms, see your doctor, and ask about some of these natural alternatives.

Avoid Nicotine and Caffeine

Caffeine and nicotine, which cause blood vessels to constrict, can worsen Raynaud’s symptoms. If you drink coffee, gradually decrease the amount you drink each day. Ask your doctor about available options for quitting smoking.


Exercise increases heart rate and blood flow. Increased circulation to the hands and legs can relieve Raynaud’s symptoms.

Protection from Cold

To avoid exposure to cold, wear a hat, mittens, and layers in cold weather. Wear layers or warm clothing in an air conditioned environment, and wear mittens when removing food from the freezer. If possible, consider moving to a warmer climate.

Evening Primrose Oil

Oil from the evening primrose (Oenothera biennis) contains a fatty acid known as gammalinolenic acid (GLA). GLA appears to inhibit the production of chemicals which constrict the blood vessels. Research suggests that evening primrose oil, taking internally or applied topically, may relieve Raynaud’s symptoms. If you have seizures or are taking blood-thinning drugs, ask your doctor before trying this remedy.

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Gingko biloba is a popular European remedy for Reynaud’s syndrome and other circulatory disorders. Gingko, which causes blood vessels to dilate, appears to relieve symptoms by improving circulation to peripheral blood vessels.According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, preliminary research suggests that 160 mg of gingko daily relieves pain associated with Raynaud’s.

To obtain optimal levels of gingkogolides-the effective constituent in gingko-take this remedy as a tincture or extract. Gingko may increase the effects of some medications, particularly blood thinners; ask your doctor before using gingko to treat Raynaud’s symptoms.


Mustard has long been used as a warming, or rubefacient remedy. A traditional remedy known as the mustard plaster warms the skin and increases blood circulation in the immediate area. In his book The Green Pharmacy, herbalist James Duke, PhD recommends preparing a paste by mixing ground fresh mustard seed and warm water. Apply this paste to your fingers for relief from numbness and pain.


Niacin, or Vitamin B-3, dilates blood vessels and appears to improve blood flow and reduce numbness and pain. Niacin causes a flush, or reddening of the skin in people who are not accustomed to this vitamin. Researchers believe that a particular form of niacin, inositol hexaniacinate, may reduce the frequency of Raynaud’s episodes. Take this form of niacin only under a doctor’s supervision.


Most of these natural remedies are available at your local health food store or drug store. Ask your doctor before using any of these remedies, particularly if you are pregnant or taking medications. Take the time to learn about lifestyle changes and natural remedies for Raynaud’s syndrome.

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Mayo Clinic Staff, Raynaud’s Disease, MayoClinic.com

Raynaud’s, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Raynaud’s Phenomenon, University of Maryland Medical Center

“The Green Pharmacy”: James A. Duke, Ph.D.; 1997

Opening Our Wild Hearts to the Healing Herbs” Gail Faith Edwards, 2002