Chilblains and Raynauds disease are circulatory disorders which are both caused by cold exposure. Chilblains are painful blue or red patches which can be itchy, painful, and in some cases, they may become infected and ulcerate. Raynaud’s disease occurs when there are spasms in the arteries (usually supplying the fingers and toes) which disrupts circulation. Raynaud’s can also be triggered by emotional stress causing skin colour changes, numbness and prickling sensations.
The naturopathic approach is to improve circulation and reduce inflammation which aggravates these conditions. Warming, anti-inflammatory spices such as cayenne, turmeric, black pepper, cinnamon and ginger should be taken daily. A turmeric latte is a delicious way to do this.
Vitamin E promotes circulation; foods rich in it include wheat germ, olive oil, hazelnuts and hazelnut oil, sunflower seeds, almonds and almond oil, goose, salmon, trout, sweet peppers, green leafy veggies, avocadoes and peanuts. Lack of calcium and magnesium increases sensitivity to cold and is linked to emotional sensitivity; eat plenty of mineral-rich tahini, leafy green vegetables and almonds.
Daily exercise and relaxation techniques are useful to combat stress and support circulation. Vitamin B3 is both a circulatory stimulant and an inflammation suppressant; see your naturopath about an appropriate dose. Taking good quality fish oil, cod liver oil or flaxseed oil during the colder months can support circulation. Acupuncture and herbs such as ginkgo biloba are worth investigating. Geranium, lavender, pine bark and nutmeg essential oils can be used for therapeutic massage. Follow dilution instructions on the bottle, and use only pure organic essential oils, not fragrance oils.