8 Natural Remedies for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome goes beyond general tiredness and impacts your days, mood and energy. Here are the best natural options for treating this often misunderstood health condition.

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Valerian rootPhoto: Shutterstock

1. Valerian

Take 600 to 900 milligrams of a valerian extract standardized to 0.4% valerinic acids an hour before bed. The valerian helps you get a good night’s sleep, which also helps fight fatigue. To treat chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), take the herb nightly for at least two months.

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2. Green Supplements

Products such as Emerald Green and Synergy contain powdered greens, usually in the form of grasses (such as wheat or barley grass) and green vegetables such as spinach. Many of these supplements contain the antioxidant equivalent of six or more servings of fruits and vegetables. Although researchers haven’t studied their use in people with CFS, we find they help support the immune system and protect against the antioxidant damage that often contributes to muscle pain in people with CFS. Take one to three tablets a day or 5 milligrams of powdered product mixed into juice or a shake for at least 3 months.

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Licorice rootPhoto: Shutterstock

3. Licorice Extract

Some people with CFS tend to have abnormally low blood pressure. If you're one of them, and your symptoms include mostly fatigue—not pain—this supplement may help with energy levels. The herb contains an anti-inflammatory compound that increases sodium levels in the blood, which usually leads to higher blood pressure. Take 500 milligrams, 2 to 3 times a day.

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Siberian ginseng leavesPhoto: Shutterstock

4. Siberian Ginseng

Ginseng, considered a “tonic” herb, may help with your fatigue, especially if it’s mild. In one study, CFS patients with mild fatigue who took Siberian ginseng daily for 4 months reported less fatigue that improved faster than those who took a placebo. Those with severe fatigue, however, showed no improvement in fatigue, although they did report less depression. Take 400 to 500 milligrams of standardized extract containing 2.24 milligrams of combined eleutherosides B and E daily.

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Ginkgo can help treat chronic fatigue syndromePhoto: Shutterstock

5. Ginkgo

This herb may improve concentration and alertness by boosting blood flow to the brain. Because it’s an antioxidant, it may also help protect muscles from oxidative damage that contributes to muscle pain in CFS. Take 80 to 120 milligrams twice a day of a product standardized to 24% flavonoids and 6% to 7% terpene lactones.

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Coenzyme Q10Photo: Shutterstock

6. Coenzyme Q10

People with CFS may not produce enough adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy currency of the cells of the body. When levels of ATP drop too low, you feel bone-tired. Coenzyme Q10 helps your body produce more ATP. It’s also an antioxidant, so it may boost your immunity and help your muscle pain. In one study of 155 people with CFS, this supplement increased their ability to exercise—a sign they had more energy. Sixty-nine percent of those who took the supplement also reported improvements in a host of other symptoms during the 6 months they took it. Take 100 milligrams daily or 60 milligrams twice a day.

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Fish oil tabletsPhoto: Shutterstock

7. Essential Fatty Acids

People with CFS tend to have low levels of essential fatty acids, which are important for reducing inflammation and boosting immunity. In one study, people who supplemented with essential fatty acids experienced fewer symptoms after 8 to 12 weeks. Take either 2 grams fish oil and 2 grams flax oil or 4 grams of a combination of evening primrose oil and fish oil.

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Melatonin supplementsPhoto: Shutterstock

8. Melatonin

To help you sleep at night, take 1 to 3 milligrams melatonin an hour before bed in lieu of or in addition to the valerian. Although there are no studies on its use for CFS, other research finds that this supplement can improve sleep-wake cycles and energy levels in shift workers and people suffering from jet lag.