Energy is perpetual. You can’t create it, you can’t destroy it, all you can do is use it. If your body machine is well-balanced and functioning at an optimal level, you will have continual and boundless energy. Your energy level is the sum total of many variables, such as the quality of the food you eat, how well you digest your food, your perception of yourself, your level of stress and your daily environmental conditions, rain or shine.

One of the most misunderstood conditions in our society is what is being termed “chronic fatigue syndrome,” or lack of energy. Dr. Deepak Chopra, director of the Chopra Center for Well-Being, believes that chronic fatigue is a very common problem that can be a moderately severe impediment to the enjoyment of life, or it can be devastating when it assumes the form of chronic fatigue syndrome. The solution to the problem, he says, is always the same: more energy.

To help us understand chronic fatigue syndrome, Charoula Dontopoulos, a certified herbalist, will explore symptoms and natural remedies for this often misunderstood and yet very real problem:

Do you, or someone your know, feel consistently irritable? Abnormally tired? Difficulty sleeping? Are your lymph nodes swollen or tender? Are you experiencing a low-grade fever? Do you feel disoriented, foggy, or chronically depressed? Are your allergies worsening?

If your answer is “yes” to any of the above, you may be suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome. Long thought to be an imaginary women’s complaint, we now know that chronic fatigue is an auto-immune disorder caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. Chronic fatigue often reactivates such latent organisms as candida (yeast), herpes and lyme disease, and has been connected with mononucleosis.

Root causes of chronic fatigue may include hereditary factors such as hypoglycemia or diabetes, antibiotics or cortico-steroidal drug abuse, physical and emotional stress, poor diet, and alcohol, smoking, or drug abuse.There is no conventional medical treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome. However, the good news is that chronic fatigue responds well to many holistic protocols. This approach includes dietary and lifestyle changes, a stepped-up use of herbs and supplements, exercise, and bodywork, especially energy-based bodywork such as polarity therapy.

If you are suffering from chronic fatigue, you may want to begin using the following herbal protocols, daily:

  • Essiac tea, made from burdock root, slippery elm bark, sheep sorrel and rhubarb, is an important cleanser, and helps clear the body of accumulated toxins. Take two ounces of tea in warm or hot mineral water daily.
  • The juice of aloe is an anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and anti-viral extract. Take half a cup of the juice in eight ounces of mineral water or juice, twice daily.
  • Garlic has anti-viral properties. Eat six cloves a day (an amount equal to one dose of penicillin!).
  • Take 30 drops, twice daily, of a tincture containing echinacea, goldenseal, pau d’arco, astragalus, dandelion leaves and root, Siberian and American ginseng, St. John’s wort and milk thistle. This will help purify the blood, remove toxins from the liver, kill bacteria and boost the immune system.
  • Drink two cups a day of a tea made of oatstraw, chamomile, red clover, dandelion leaves and lemon balm, to soothe nerves, build the blood and provide essential minerals.
  • Start the day with a green drink containing spirulina. This algae boosts the immune system, contains beta carotene, vitamin E, and more iron than beef liver. It is a high-quality protein rich in B vitamins and minerals.

Foods are also plants. Chronic fatigue sufferers should add to their diets brown rice; grains, especially oats which are good for the nervous system; cooked green and red vegetables; onions and garlic; sea vegetables; and fruits with low sugar content, such as berries, grapefruit, lemons, fresh vegetable juices, beans and legumes. Cold water fish like salmon are also highly beneficial. Salmon and flaxseed oil are both rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids which kill bacteria and viruses and are needed for energy metabolism and immune health. Eating generous amounts of reishi, maitaki and shitaki mushrooms will also build your immune system.

Above all, avoid the following foods: sugar, caffeine, alcohol, high-sugar fruits like oranges, peaches and dried fruits, and fried and processed foods.

Charoula’s plan of action will build the body’s natural defense systems and alter the detrimental affects of chronic fatigue. And one final word from Shakti Gawain: Everything is energy. We are all part of one great energy flow.

May the long time sun shine upon you.