Chronic Fatigue: Definition and Treatment

Chronic fatigue syndrome causes an unexplained tiredness that lasts for at least 6 months and is not helped by rest, time off work or physical exercise. It also causes memory and concentration problems, depression, muscular and joint pain, sore throats, headaches, swollen glands and difficulty recovering after physical activity.

This condition didn’t exist until recently, or rather, it hadn’t been recognized up until a few years ago. Its cause has also yet to be discovered, although natural medical practitioners have suggested various factors which might cause the condition to develop.

Prolonged periods of stress and overexertion

Some people push themselves to the limit for long periods of time, and then later pay the price. The symptoms of chronic fatigue can often begin to appear when they stop pushing themselves.

Stress, for example, oxidizes and wears out the body, disrupting our normal body functions. The body is capable of healing itself, but when stress lasts for a long time, the consequences can be chronic. We recommend that you try to avoid overloading the body in any way, and prioritize free time, rest, exercise and mental relaxation. Our body can then carry out its important work normally and we will naturally feel better on all levels.

Emotional factors

Every physical disease or condition can be linked to the mind and emotions. Though you might not believe in this, it is an interesting idea. Chronic fatigue is one of those conditions that is often linked to psychological factors. It is most common in women, especially women over 40. It often affects people who are addicted to working (including housewives) and people who find it difficult to delegate work and prefer to do everything themselves. When they are asked to do something, it’s very hard for them to say no.

What is the solution?

Psychological and emotional therapies can be very effective in helping us understand that certain traits that one might consider purely positive, e.g. working very hard, in reality can be bad for our health.

A weak liver

The liver is one of the main organs, along with the kidneys, that we think of when we talk about fatigue. It´s the organ that suffers the most from modern life styles (bad nutrition, negative emotions, pollution, alcohol, medicines, etc.).

An inflamed liver may cause pain under the ribs on the right side, but it can also cause other symptoms that are not so obvious. Chinese traditional medicine, for example, relates the liver to our vision, so if we have a problem with our sight, it could be that our liver is not functioning well.

How to care for your liver

Here are some simple tips for keeping your liver healthy:

  • You should eat a light evening meal, and as early as possible, so the liver can regenerate its energy in the early morning while you are sleeping.
  • The liver tends to get chilled, so it is a good idea to sleep with a hot water bottle against your ribs on the right side.
  • Drink one of these bitter infusions daily, for a maximum period of four weeks: milk thistle (Silybum marianum), dandelion, artichoke or boldo (Peumus boldus). Just drink one cup per day.


  • Avoid alcohol and “bad” fats (fried foods, red meat, pastries, etc.)
  • When you wake up in the morning, drink a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil mixed with a teaspoon of lemon juice, then drink a glass of warm water.

Chronic constipation

Constipation is often named as a possible cause of a number of illnesses, as it generates an overload of toxins. So, it is important to sort out this condition as fast as possible, and in a natural way. Here are some actions you can take:

  • Eat foods that are rich in natural fiber: fruits, vegetables, whole grain cereals, peas and beans and dried fruit.
  • Drink water between meals.
  • Try this simple and natural remedy for constipation: in the evening, put two prunes and a teaspoon of flax seed in a glass of water, and drink the mixture as soon as you wake up the next morning. Wait half an hour before eating breakfast.


Food intolerances

There are many people who are badly affected by certain foods, but are not aware of it. The foods that they have an intolerance to are converted into toxins and accumulate in the body, causing pain and discomfort.

Therefore, it is recommended that for at least one month you try to avoid the foods that provoke the most intolerance, that is, those that contain gluten and lactose. After the month is up, start eating them again and see how your body reacts.


It is a good idea to rule out the possibility that a parasite or fungus is causing the symtoms, as they are commonly found in people with chronic fatigue. Herbalist and natural food shops often sell natural parasite cleaning products, or you could try the Tibetan garlic cure.

Other tips

  • It is recommended that you avoid adding salt, especially common or table salt, to your food, as it is very debilitating. It is okay to add a little sea or Himalayan salt.
  • Although exercise is not appealing to people who are suffering from chronic fatigue, it is important to not reduce the amount of exercise that you do, so that you don´t enter into vicious circle of sluggishness and fatigue. When we don´t move much, our muscles become weak and exercise becomes even less appealing.
  • There are some foods that energize, without being stimulants: pollen, honey, oats, wheat germ, maca and dried fruits.

Images courtesy of Danel Solabarrieta y Danni O.