by Jeanne Rose. . . 01/01/01
with Acupuncture additions from Judy Komatsu

INTRODUCTION: First identified in the early 1980's chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is variously called the yuppie flu, Epstein-Barr, stress, burnout. It is now recognized as a legitimate auto-immune disorder, and is now considered one of the most common chronic diseases affecting Americans.  According to recent research published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, there are 422 cases per every 100,000 Americans, with an overall incidence of about 800,000 in the United States alone. Typically, it affects people between ages 25-50, mostly women. [Humph! I wonder why?]  The incidence in woman is reported as 522 per 100,000 verses 291 per 100,000 in men.  The disease ranges in severity from mild to wheelchair or bed bound.  There 3 outcomes in CFS:  recovery/improvement, relapsing/remitting, or progressive debility leading to permanent incapacity.  Only about 4 percent of patients completely recover, and about 39 percent show some degree of improvement

CFS is characterized by almost unbearable fatigue or exhaustion, which is generally associated with sore throat, tender lymph nodes, muscle and/or joint pain, vertigo, sleep disorders, low-grade fever, disequilibrium, and other symptoms.  There is no known diagnostic marker so physicians use two criteria to diagnose CFS:  1.) 6 months of continuous, profound fatigue, that decreases the patient's activity by half and does not respond to rest.  This fatigue is associated with impaired concentration, flu-like symptoms, headaches, sleep disorders, nausea, paresthesas, dyspnea, and other symptoms.  2.) No other chronic illness, either physical or emotional.

Although the etiology is still unknown, research points to abnormalities in the central nervous system and immune system.  Research has shown impaired function of the natural killer cells and increased numbers of CD8+T cells, indicating a hyperactive immune system.  This is known to cause central nervous system dysfunction through cytokine over-production, leading to cognitive dysfunction, hormonal abnormalities, fatigue and other symptoms.  Many of the abnormalities indicate the body is fighting a virus, although none has been identified.  However, a recent finding pointed to an abnormality in the 2-5A RNase-L antiviral pathway which is know to be activated in a viral infection.  The abnormality involved an enzyme required for the destruction of viruses.

There has been a stigma associated with the condition from its earliest reported cases. Many questioned whether it was an actual condition, or an “all in your head” condition.  Many have attributed the fatigue with chronic depression, however the incidence of clinical depression associated with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is about the same as any other chronic disease states. 

            Fibromyalgia is another condition, which primarily affects women in their late 30's to 40's.  It is characterized by chronic fatigue; sleep disorders, and muscle pain.  It is considered an auto-immune disorder in which the connective tissue covering the muscles is affected.

HYDROSOLS:  Any of the hydrosols, taken internally, can be effective.  Particularly, look for Rosemary or Melissa hydrosol.  You can also take both of them alternatively.  Take Rosemary hydrosol in the a.m. for energy and reduction of symptoms and Melissa in the afternoon for sleep and as an antiviral.  These can be obtained from several sources including Jeanne Rose at on the products page.

ESSENTIAL OILS:  Ravensara aromatica has been shown to be useful for Fibromyalgia. It is recommended that 3 drops in a capsule mixed with Borage seed oil, three times a day is the recommended dosage taken internally.  Calophyllum inophyllum can be mixed with Ravensara aromatica and Petitgrain as a good external application.

            For low blood pressure, inhale and get a massage with Pine (P. sylvestris), Black Spruce and Savory.  Apply Seaweed abs. externally to the thyroid area daily to balance or tonify that area.

            If you are always cold and chilled use essential oils of Black Pepper, Ginger in your massage blends, for aching muscles use Black Pepper for chilling, Cypress , Sage, Basil and Juniper berries for aching.  

EXTERNAL MASSAGE: Fibromyalgia may respond to gentle exercise, particularly walking and massage.  Acupuncture or acupressure stimulation of tender points and trigger points can also be helpful. Use Ravensara aromatica with the carrier oil Calophyllum as a massage formulation.                   

EXERCISE: Gentle exercise that includes physical exercise such as walking, plus massage, stress reduction activities and relaxation skills are important.

BRONCHIAL CLEANSER: Inhalation of any of the Firs, Pines, or Spruces is useful especially when mixed with Rosemary pyramidalis.    

HERBAL AND AROMATHERAPY BATHS: Use your hydrosols in baths, use Rosemary, use herbs in decoction then added to the bath.  Any of the materials mentioned so far, either in herb form or hydrosol form will be helpful.  Use baths for physical and mental health, use showers to clean. Rosemary, conifer branches, herbs such as Marjoram and Oregano, Roses, and other sorts of Mediterranean plants are useful in herbal baths.     

ACUPUNCTURE: stimulation of tender points and muscle trigger points. One method of diagnosis includes application of pressure to 18 points on your body.  Tenderness in 11 of the 18 points with no other explanation for the pain neck and shoulder pain, and irritable bowel syndrome may indicate fibromyalgia.   

DIET:  Eliminate refined sugar, junk food, alcohol, caffeine, and excessive animal products and increase fiber intake.  Identification of any food allergies is also a good idea.  Sugar and caffeine provide a quick boost, but an energy crash soon follows.  Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant.  

            SUPPLEMENTS: Nutritional supplements including magnesium, vitamins B1, B3, B12, essential fatty acids and antioxidants can help boost the immune system.  The antioxidant Co-enzyme Q10 is recommended at a dose of 90 - 120 mg/day for 6 weeks for Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue, it may benefit the immune system.  NADH (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) or co-enzyme 1 is an antioxidant that has been shown to help with CFS.  It generates ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is the fuel for all cellular activity.  The recommended dose is 10 - 15 mg twice a day on an empty stomach.  Blood levels of magnesium have been found to be lower in those with chronic fatigue.  Supplementing with 500 mg of magnesium glycinate is suggested (if taking magnesium, you must take calcium as well.  Take twice as much calcium as you do magnesium.  Check with your doctor if you have any underlying heart or kidney problems.).  L-carnitine may help with energy. It helps your body metabolize fats. Use tryptophan to induce sleep and low-dose antidepressants for pain.  Cut out sugar, junk food, and excessive animal products and increase fiber.  Use an elimination diet to identify food allergies.

             VITAMINS: [see above] Vitamins B1, B3, B6, B12, thiamine (50 mg of each) provide support to the adrenal system can help the symptoms of both CFS and Fibromyalgia.  Antioxidants and vitamins [A (25,000 IU beta-carotene), C (500 mg), E (400-800 IU of d-alpha-tocopherol) and selenium (100 mcg.)] are recommended for CFS.

            HERBS:  If you have low blood pressure, Licorice may help.  Ginseng can promote energy and concentration.  It has adaptogenic qualities, and helps the body deal with stress.  You can start with 1000-200 mg/day.  German sources recommend 1 - 3 grams/day.  Do not use any Ginseng if you are pregnant.  Astralagus is an adrenal and immune booster.  It can stimulate antibodies and increase white blood cell activity.  Start with 100 mg three times a day.  If needed, take up to 100 mg/day.        

EMOTIONS: Use inhaled essential oils for your stress or emotions. Try Grapefruit, Clementine, Lavenders, Spearmint, Bergamot, Spikenard. These can also be used in your massage formulas alternating with the other oils mentioned. These essential  oils are available in a Stress Relief Kit – see Source List.       

NETI POT:  Finally, do not forget daily nasal cleansing with the Neti pot using an aromatic salt. Sea salt with Thyme and Tea tree e.o. added. A good formula is 2 ounces by quantity of sea salt.  Grind or with a mortar and pestle, mash 6 drops of essential oil into 1 teaspoon of the salt. Then mix this with the balance of the salt.  Store in an airtight glass jar.  Use 4 t. salt to 8 oz warm water.

ALWAYS USE baths, essential oils, hydrosols, dietary supplements and anything that you can possibly think of that will help with your condition.  Read! Magazines, books and only the best and most non-new age (not woo-woo!) common sense information should be read.  EX: if something is beeping and it does not have an electric cord attached, then you know that it works on batteries, therefore disconnect by removing the batteries, do not bash it against the wall!

Source List:
Hydrosols, Books, and Stress Relief Kits
are available from “Aromatherapy & Herbs Products”, 415/564-6785.
Essential Oils can be obtained from Prima Fleur and CH Imports.


Adderly, B. "New hope for chronic fatigue sufferers."  Better Nutrition. 48-52, April 2000.
Cox, I.M. et al.  "Red blood cell magnesium and chronic fatigue syndrome."  Lancet, 337(8744): 757-60. Mar. 30, 1991 .
Forsyth, L., et al.  "Therapeutic effects of oral NADH on the symptoms of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome."  Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. 82: 185-191.  Feb. 1999.
Fulcher, K.Y., White P.D. "Randomized controlled trial of graded exercise in patients with the chronic fatigue syndrome."  British Medical Journal. 314: 1647-52, 1997.
McLaughlin, Jill, “Understanding Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.”  The John R. Lee, M.D. Medical Letter.  June 2003.
Rose, Jeanne. 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols. NAB/Frog, Berkeley , CA. 1999.
Rose, Jeanne. The Aromatherapy Book, Applications & Inhalations. NAB/Frog, Berkeley , 1999.

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