Chronic fatigue syndrome information and herbal supplements

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Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a defined syndrome that describes a varying combination of symptoms, one of which is recurrent fatigue.

Signs and Symptoms

Chronic fatigue syndrome was formally defined in 1988 by a consensus panel convened by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The major criterion is the presence of a new onset of fatigue causing 50% reduction in activity for at least six months, and exclusion of other illnesses that can cause fatigue. The minor criteria required are eight of the eleven symptoms listed below, or six of the eleven symptoms plus two of the three signs listed.

Symptoms: mild fever, recurrent sore throat, painful lymph nodes, muscle weakness, muscle pain, prolonged fatigue after exercise, recurrent headache, neurological or psychological complaints, sensitivity to bright light, forgetfulness, confusion, inability to concentrate, excessive irritability, depression, sleep disturbance (hypersomnia or insomnia), sudden onset of symptom complex

Signs: low-grade fever, sore throat, palpable or tender lymph nodes


Many research studies have focused on identifying an infectious agent as the cause of CFS. The Epstein-Barr virus (EPV), a member of the herpes group of viruses and the virus that causes infectious mononucleosis, emerged as the leading candidate. In addition to EBV, a number of other viruses have been investigated as possible causes of CFS. But rather than being the result of an infectious organism per se, CFS is more likely due to a disturbed immune system. While no specific immunological dysfunction has been recognized, the most consistent abnormality is a decreased number of natural killer (NK) cells. NK cells received their name because of their ability to destroy cells that have become cancerous or infected with viruses.

Natural Medicines

Korean-American-Siberian ginseng
St John's wort

The Pill Book Guide to Natural Medicines, Michael Murray N.D., 2002

Natural Medicines

triple ginseng (Ginseng3)
St. Johns Wort

Copyright 2002 by Herbal Nurse® Incorporated. All rights reserved.