Characterised by tiredness, lack of enthusiasm and difficulty concentrating, fatigue can have many causes but is a complaint with no single, simple treatment. We all have days when it is difficult to get out of bed but chronic fatigue can be frustrating, leaving sufferers unable to cope. There are however several herbal remedies which can help fight fatigue, as well as various complementary therapies to help bring the body and mind back into balance.
Identifying Causes of Fatigue
Identifying the cause of your fatigue can help you choose the correct remedy. Common causes include:-
Stress – Physical, mental, money or work related worries can keep you awake at night.
Emotional upset – Marital issues, divorce or bereavement can leave you feeling emotionally drained.
Insomnia – This is a medical condition that can be debilitating if left untreated.
Illness or infection – An underactive thyroid or the effort of fighting off illness can leave you feeling drained.
Food intolerance – Often difficult to identify but fatigue can be a major symptom of some food intolerances.
Blood sugar – Imbalance in blood sugar levels can lead to a serious lack of energy.
Depression – This condition can alter sleep patterns or prevent sleep altogether.
Some herbs, called tonic or adaptogenic, can increase vitality and promote wellbeing. They balance the body’s hormonal, digestive, cardiovascular, nervous and immune systems. Alfalfa, ginseng and cordyceps improve strength and stamina. Liquorice, which balances the adrenal glands, can help fatigue caused by weakened immunity. Other herbs you can try include:-
Oats: Rich in minerals and B vitamins, a daily bowl of porridge or a tincture of oat seeds raises energy levels and promotes sleep. Oats combat exhaustion caused by stress, alcohol or drugs and are effective for mental or physical fatigue.
Sage: Stimulates the nervous and digestive systems and is also a good all-round restorative. Try sage tea or a simple infusion of fresh sage leaves, or try a massage with clary sage essential oil. Avoid sage if you are epileptic or pregnant.
Astragalus: Excellent for treating chronic fatigue, it stimulates the immune system and endurance.
Schisandra: Improves digestion of fatty food, regulates sugar levels and the functioning of the liver and kidneys.
Therapies can help with both the physical and mental/emotional causes of fatigue. A course of treatment is usually recommended.
Reiki healing is an excellent all-round therapy for stress. It restores balance in the physical body (helping to balance the adrenals and nervous system) as well as strengthening mental/emotional energy. Reflexology, which stimulates the reflex points on the soles of the feet, aims to bring the whole body back into a state of balance. An excellent remedy for mental/emotional stress and fatigue is Meditation: this wonderful practice boosts mental alertness and focus and eases depression.
Changing your lifestyle can often relieve fatigue, especially if your lifestyle is contributing towards it! Regular exercise actually increases energy levels, while a new mind-stretching interest can stimulate the mind, leaving less time for lethargy. Being out in nature or taking a walk in the countryside can also boost your energy and wellbeing.
Recipe – Oaty Fruit Muffins
Delicious, low fat, and ideal for maintaining blood sugar levels.
225g plain flour
60g rolled oats
5ml baking powder
5ml bicarbonate of soda
4 medium bananas, mashed
120g caster sugar
90ml skimmed milk
90ml vegetable oil
- Preheat oven to 190C/Gas mark 5.
- Mix dry ingredients together (flour, raising agents, sugar and oats) in a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl, beat the egg and add milk and vegetable oil. Then add mashed bananas.
- Add wet ingredients. Blend mixture with a metal spoon.
- Spoon mixture into muffin cases, sprinkle with handful of oats and bake for 20 minutes until golden on top.
1. Reiki, Reflexology and meditation workshops are available with Helen Shortland.
2. All herbal remedies are available from Little London Herbal Stores, 9 Kings Walk, Nottingham, NG1 2AE. Tel 0115 9472854 or visit www.all-ages-vitamins.co.uk.
Helen Shortland is a Reiki Master Teacher, Meditation Teacher and Holistic Therapist based at Little London Herbal Stores on Kings Walk in Nottingham city centre. Please ring her on 07748 591690 to book a treatment or visit her website http://helenshortland.com for further information.