Raynaud's Disease (Holistic)

Raynaud's Disease (Holistic)

About This Condition

Fingertips that feel tender or numb after being exposed to chilly temperatures may point to Raynaud's disease. According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful.
  • Fight back with fish oil

    Reduce the severity of blood vessel spasm by taking a daily supplement supplying 4 grams of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) for 6 to 12 weeks; after that, ask your healthcare provider to recommend an amount for long-term supplementation

  • Discover inositol hexaniacinate

    With a doctor's supervision, take 3 to 4 grams a day of this form of vitamin B3 to reduce arterial spasm and improve peripheral circulation

  • Say good-bye to smoking

    Kick the habit to avoid the damaging effects of nicotine on blood flow

  • Keep in the heat

    Avoid unnecessary exposure to cold and dress warmly to prevent attacks of Raynaud's disease


About This Condition

Raynaud's disease is a condition caused by constriction and spasms of small arteries, primarily in the hands after exposure to cold. Frequently, white or bluish discoloration of the hands (and sometimes toes, cheeks, nose, or ears) will occur after exposure to cold or emotional stress.

The cause of Raynaud's disease is unknown. A condition called Raynaud's phenomenon causes similar symptoms, but it is the result of connective tissue disease or exposure to certain chemicals. The same natural remedies are used to treat both disorders.


Fingers (generally not the thumb) or other affected parts of the body may feel numb or cold during an episode, and later, after warming, may become bright red with a throbbing painful sensation.

Healthy Lifestyle Tips

Dressing warmly and wearing gloves or mittens often help prevent attacks of Raynaud's disease. Individuals with Raynaud's disease should not smoke, because nicotine decreases blood flow to the extremities. Women with Raynaud's disease should not use birth control pills, as this method of contraception can adversely affect circulation.


What Are Star Ratings?
Supplement Why
2 Stars
Fish Oil
4 grams of EPA per day
Supplementing with fish oil may reduce the severity of blood-vessel spasm.

In a double-blind trial, supplementation with 12 large capsules of fish oil per day (providing 4 grams of eicosapentaenoic acid [EPA] per day) for 6 or 12 weeks reduced the severity of blood-vessel spasm in 5 of 11 people with Raynaud's phenomenon. Fish oil was effective in people with primary Raynaud's disease, but not in those whose symptoms were secondary to another disorder.

2 Stars
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
3 to 4 grams daily of inositol hexaniacinate
A variation on the B vitamin niacin, inositol hexaniacinate has been shown to reduce arterial spasm and improve peripheral circulation.
has been used with some success for relieving symptoms of Raynaud's disease. In one study, 30 people with Raynaud's disease taking 4 grams of inositol hexaniacinate each day for three months showed less spasm of their arteries. Another study, involving six people taking 3 grams per day of inositol hexaniacinate, again showed that this supplement improved peripheral circulation. People taking this supplement in these amounts should be under the care of a doctor.
1 Star
Evening Primrose Oil
Refer to label instructions
Fatty acids in evening primrose oil (EPO) inhibit the formation of prostaglandins, which promote blood vessel constriction. One study found that supplementing with EPO reduced the number and severity of attacks.

Fatty acids in evening primrose oil (EPO) inhibit the formation of biochemical messengers (prostaglandins) that promote blood vessel constriction. A double-blind trial of 21 people with Raynaud's disease found that, compared with placebo, supplementation with EPO reduced the number and severity of attacks despite the fact that blood flow did not appear to increase. Researchers have used 3,000–6,000 mg of EPO per day.

1 Star
Refer to label instructions
The herb Ginkgo has been reported to improve the circulation in small blood vessels and reduce pain in people with Raynaud's disease.

Ginkgo biloba has been reported to improve the circulation in small blood vessels. For that reason, some doctors recommend ginkgo for people with Raynaud's disease. One preliminary trial found that 160 mg of standardized ginkgo extract per day reduced pain in people with Raynaud's disease. Larger clinical trials are needed to confirm ginkgo's effectiveness for this condition. Ginkgo is often used as a standardized extract (containing 24% ginkgo flavone glycosides and 6% terpene lactones). Doctors who recommend use of ginkgo often suggest that people take 120–160 mg per day.

1 Star
Refer to label instructions
In one study, people with Raynaud's disease who were given L-carnitine showed less blood-vessel spasm in their fingers in response to cold exposure.

In one study, 12 people with Raynaud's disease were given L-carnitine (1 gram three times a day) for 20 days. After receiving L-carnitine, these people showed less blood-vessel spasm in their fingers in response to cold exposure.

1 Star
Refer to label instructions
Abnormalities of magnesium metabolism have been reported in people with Raynaud's disease. Magnesium deficiency results in blood-vessel spasm, which may be helped with supplementation.

Abnormalities of magnesium metabolism have been reported in people with Raynaud's disease. Symptoms similar to those seen with Raynaud's disease occur in people with magnesium deficiency, probably because a deficiency of this mineral results in spasm of blood vessels. Some doctors recommend that people with Raynaud's disease supplement with 200–600 mg of magnesium per day, although no clinical trials support this treatment.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this website, and its associated websites, is provided as a benefit to the local community, and the Internet community in general; it does not constitute medical advice. We try to provide quality information, but we make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this website and its associated sites. As medical advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each patient and healthcare is constantly changing, nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of a competent physician. Furthermore, in providing this service, Adventist HealthCare does not condone or support all of the content covered in this site. As an Adventist health care organization, Adventist HealthCare acts in accordance with the ethical and religious directives for Adventist health care services.

Find a Doctor

Find an Adventist HealthCare affiliated doctor by calling our FREE physician referral service at 800-642-0101 or by searching our online physician directory.

View Doctors

Set Your Location

Setting your location helps us to show you nearby providers and locations based on your healthcare needs.