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Natural remedies for Raynaud’s

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I have Raynaud’s disease. Thankfully it’s not caused by an underlying condition or too serious, but I really struggle in the winter with cold hands and feet. Even when wearing warm gloves or mittens outside, my fingers go white and numb. Can you suggest any natural remedies that can help? 

P.P., via email 

Raynaud’s disease, also known as Raynaud’s phenomenon or just Raynaud’s, is a condition whereby the small blood vessels in the extremities overreact to changes in temperature, cold conditions and sometimes emotional stress. The classic symptoms are cold fingers and toes, color changes in the skin (fingertips may turn white in the cold, then red when you warm them up), numbness and pins and needles, and difficulty moving the affected area.  

The most common form of the condition is primary Raynaud’s (often called Raynaud’s disease), where the cause is unknown and symptoms tend to be mild. Secondary Raynaud’s (also known as Raynaud’s phenomenon), on the other hand, is typically more serious and caused by an underlying condition such as scleroderma or lupus. 

The usual treatment for Raynaud’s ranges from simple lifestyle advice to keep warm, stay active, not smoke and avoid caffeine for mild cases, to drugs such as the calcium channel blocker nifedipine for more severe cases. But there are a number of alternative options showing promise for both types of Raynaud’s, especially biofeedback and nutritional supplements.  

Just bear in mind that there’s not a whole lot of research into natural remedies for Raynaud’s yet, and the studies tend to be small, so it’s a good idea to consult with an experienced practitioner for personalized advice, particularly when it comes to supplements.  

Here’s a guide to what to try based on the evidence so far. 

Check your meds 

Several medications can cause Raynaud’s, including beta-blockers, cyclosporine (an immune system-suppressing drug), amphetamine-like drugs, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and the cancer drugs cisplatin and bleomycin.3  And some experts recommend avoiding oral contraceptives if you have Raynaud’s.4 Check with your doctor about any medication you are taking and, if need be, consider suitable alternatives.  

Try biofeedback 

This mind-body technique, which involves learning to control normally involuntary bodily  functions using electronic monitoring, can be useful for Raynaud’s. Thermal biofeedback, where patients learn to control the constriction and dilation of their blood vessels, was found to be effective for hand warming and reducing Raynaud’s attacks in two high-quality trials.1

Another study reported that patients with both primary and secondary Raynaud’s saw improvements that lasted a year after biofeedback training.2

To find a biofeedback practitioner, visit (US) or (UK). 

Ease stress 

Emotional stress is known to trigger Raynaud’s attacks,5 so stress reduction techniques such as meditation, yoga and tai chi may help. 

Drink red wine 

Men and women who enjoy an occasional glass of red wine have a significantly reduced risk of Raynaud’s, according to one study.6 This might be because red wine contains the antioxidant resveratrol, which may help support blood vessel health.7 

Avoid drinking too much alcohol in general, though. Moderate drinking in men (two to 14 drinks a week) and heavy drinking in women (more than seven drinks a week) is associated with an increased risk of Raynaud’s.6

Try acupuncture 

A small study found that traditional Chinese acupuncture reduced the frequency of Raynaud’s attacks by 63 percent, while the control group saw a reduction of 27 percent.8 And an uncontrolled study of auricular electroacupuncture, a type of acupuncture using electrical currents and focusing on the ears, reported that the technique can reduce both the frequency and severity of Raynaud’s attacks.9

To find a qualified acupuncturist near you, visit


Fish oil.

One study found that taking fish oil capsules, supplying a high daily dose of the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), improved tolerance to cold and delayed blood vessel spasm in people with primary Raynaud’s disease (although not in those with secondary Raynaud’s).10

Suggested dosage: Try a high-quality supplement, such as Bare Biology’s Life & Soul Pure Omega-3 Liquid, which supplies 3,500 mg omega-3 per teaspoon, and follow the label instructions 

Evening primrose oil (EPO).

Compared to a placebo, supplementing with EPO reduced the number and severity of Raynaud’s attacks in a small trial.11

Suggested dosage: 3,000 mg/day 


Raynaud’s sufferers given this amino acid for 20 days had improved blood flow in their fingers after being exposed to cold.12

Suggested dosage: 2 g/day


Low levels of antioxidant vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium, have been linked to Raynaud’s,7,13 so supplementing with these nutrients may be beneficial.  

Suggested dosages: 1–2 g/day vitamin C; 400 IU/day vitamin E; 200 mcg/day selenium 

Vitamin D.

Raynaud’s sufferers with low vitamin D levels given high-dose vitamin D3 supplements reported improvements in their condition after eight months.14

Suggested dosage: Home testing kits for vitamin D are available via the Vitamin D Society ( and Better You (, along with a personalized supplementation plan based on your results  

Vitamin B3.

A compound made of niacin (vitamin B3) and inositol known as inositol nicotinate (also called inositol hexanicotinate and inositol hexaniacinate) was found to relieve Raynaud’s in a few studies.15

Suggested dosage: High doses of 3–4 g/day of inositol hexaniacinate were used in studies, so it’s best to consult with a qualified practitioner to work out what’s right for you 


Low levels of this mineral have been linked to Raynaud’s, and magnesium infusions have had beneficial effects.16

Suggested dosage: 200–600 mg/day

Go for Ginkgo

Known to improve blood circulation, Ginkgo biloba may be helpful for Raynaud’s. In one trial, those taking a standardized extract of the herb had significantly fewer Raynaud’s attacks per week compared to those taking a placebo.17

Suggested dosage: 120–160 mg/day

Try these herbal home remedies 

Herbalist Meilyr James, owner of the Herbal Clinic in Swansea, Wales (, recommends the following herbal recipes for improving circulation and helping with Raynaud’s. 

Rosemary and cinnamon hand/foot bath 


0.7 oz/20 g fresh rosemary 

2 medium cinnamon sticks 

Optional: 5 drops black pepper, clove or nutmeg essential oil diluted in 1 tsp (5 mL) of olive oil 

Note: This recipe can be adapted using other warming circulatory herbs you have available, such as thyme or fresh ginger.


  1. Place the herbs in a teapot with 4 cups (1 L) of boiling water. Let this stand for 5 hours or overnight. Once ready, strain the liquid into a hand or foot bath and add 8 cups (2 L) of very hot water and the essential oil (if using).  
  2. Ensure the water temperature is just hot enough to tolerate, but not uncomfortably hot, before using.This mix can be reused for two days, refrigerating once cool and reheating for each use. 
  3. Use the hand or foot bath twice daily, once in the morning before breakfast and once in the evening before dinner. Find a comfortable position to sit and soak the area for a minimum of 5 minutes. 

Prickly ash bark tea 


½ tsp (2 mL) prickly ash bark tincture 

1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger 

Optional: honey


  1. Place the ginger into a pot of boiling water for 15 minutes to make a tea. 
  2. Add the prickly ash bark and honey if desired. 
  3. Drink one cup daily. 




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