You might think that if you have survived the last few days of dank, Arctic-ally freezing weather you knew all about cold hands and feet – but what if you had to suffer cold hands and feet throughout the year? That’s what happens if you have Raynaud’s, a condition in which the small blood vessels your extremities (your hands and feet) are over sensitive to temperature changes, to stress, to emotional or hormonal changes and sometimes even to the use of vibrating tools. (For more see NHS Choices where I found this chilly hand image.)
Raynaud’s can be caused by an autoimmune condition such as sceleroderma or lupus, in which case it needs to be monitored. But for the vast majority of sufferers (around 10 million, amazingly enough) it is not serious, although it can be not just uncomfortable but very painful.
The reason I am blogging about it is partly because February is Raynaud’s Awareness Month. But it is mainly because last week, when I went to the Guild of Health Writers’ excellent Anxiety Epidemic seminar (about which more anon), I was sitting between two Raynaud’s sufferers, one of whom was my old friend and colleague Jackie Young.
Jackie had actually invited me, before Christmas, to what sounded like an ace evening of Tibetan food and music. Its purpose was to launch a new herbal formula for treating Raynaud’s developed by Padma, a Swiss company that has specialised in making Tibetan herbal medicine for the last 45 years. (Sadly I had been unable to go.)
The remedy, called Padma Circosan, is a traditional herbal medicine which is used to relieve ‘minor venous circulatory disorders’ – which is, of course, exactly what Raynaud’s is. (If you want to know which herbs, see below.) Jackie, who had actually suffered frostbite in one finger as a result of a particularly bad attack of Raynaud’s, had tried the Circosan and found it extremely effective. So effective that her Raynaud’s had all but ceased to exist.
So impressed was she that not only had she organised the Tibetan evening to launch the product before Christmas but, at her Health Check Clinic practice, she is giving all Raynaud’s sufferers with appointments in February and March, a free supply of 120 capsules to try!
The active ingredients in each hard capsule are:
40 mg aucklandia root (Saussurea costus (Falc.) Lipsch.), 40 mg Iceland moss (Cetraria islandica (L.) Ach. s.l.), 35 mg neem fruit (Azadirachta indica A. Juss.), 30 mg cardamom fruit (Elettaria cardamomum (Roxb.) Maton var. minuscula Burk.), 30 mg myrobalan fruit (Terminalia chebula Retz.), 30 mg red sanderswood (Pterocarpus santalinus L.f.), 25 mg allspice (Pimenta dioica (L.) Merr.), 20 mg Bengal quince (Aegle marmelos (L.) Corrêa), 15 mg European columbine (Aquilegia vulgaris L.), 15 mg liquorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra L.), 15 mg ribwort plantain (Plantago lanceolata L. s.l.), 15 mg knotgrass (Polygonum aviculare L. s.l.), 15 mg golden cinquefoil (Potentilla aurea L.), 12 mg clove (Syzygium aromaticum (L.) Merr et L. M. Perry), 10 mg kaempferia galanga rhizome (Kaempferia galanga L.), 10 mg heart leaf sida (Sida cordifolia L.), 10 mg valerian root (Valeriana officinalis L. s.l.), 6 mg lettuce leaf (Lactuca sativa var. capitata L.), 5 mg calendula flower head (Calendula officinalis L.), 4 mg d-camphor. Ancillary mineral: 20 mg calcium sulphate hemihydrate.
The other ingredients are:
Colloidal anhydrous silica and in the capsule shell, gelatin.