Winter is a challenging time for me. I know, it's still fall, but I feel winter looming and cold weather fast approaching. Being constantly cold has been a burden I've had to bear. I'm skinny and lanky and perpetually cold and once a chill sets into my body there's no recovering until early spring. If you've known me for any length of time, you've probably found me huddled next to a heater, curled up on top of a radiator or practically crawling into the wood stove when it's cold outside. Being cold used to just be an annoyance, but as I've gotten older it's become more and more uncomfortable, and eventually really painful. I often thought I was just oversensitive and complained too much (how on earth are not more people as cold as I am!?). Then 3 years ago when I was feeling particularly cold, I stubbed my toe on a table leg and practically fell to the floor sobbing in pain. It felt like my toe was shattering into a million glass shards. And that was what finally prompted me to get this checked out. As it happens, I have Raynaud's Syndrome, and it makes a lot of sense. Also, #validation.
Regarding most things in life - I'm a classic under-reactor. But apparently my blood vessels are very much over-reactors and when they get too cold, they constrict (vasospasm) to restrict oxygen and blood flow to my extremities, namely my fingers, toes and nose. If they stay cold for too long, I lose feeling in them, they stop being responsive and they freeze up and turn a mystical shade of blue/white/red. It's hugely uncomfortable but not debilitating. I often have to wear extra warm gloves in even moderately cold weather, and winer camping is definitely not an option. I have an embarrassingly large collection of thick wool socks, and I often take a homeopathic remedy when it gets to be extra extra cold to help with circulation. Over the past couple of years, I've found a few other winter remedies that help support me through the colder months and preventatively lessen the discomfort of Raynaud's. They're constantly with me in my cold whether arsenal either at home, in my traveling bag or at my office. They've become great allies for me, and luckily are made with pure, simple ingredients.
Ginger tea & Ginger chews: I've talked a lot about ginger in the past as my ultimate herbal ally, and this is one of the many reasons why. Ginger does a lot messing around with the communication systems in the body, often resulting in a "revitalized" feeling and makes for an excellent circulatory stimulant (thermogenic). It's also extremely hot and pungent, warming the body from the core to the extremities. With it's broad diaphoretic action, it's truly ideal for folks who feel cold in the bones and need to get the circulation moving in their hands and feet. I personally love Traditional Medicinals Ginger Tea for it's simplicity, it's quality ingredients and it's easy-to-pack individual tea bags. I drink at least one cup of this a day, sometimes 3-4. They also have a Ginger + Chamomile, a Ginger + Green Tea, and a Ginger + Tulsi formula (yums). I also like dissolving crystalized ginger pieces in some hot water for a slightly sweeter ginger tea thats also easy to throw in my bag and travel with.
Badger Salves: These are a lifesaver when my hands and feet get too cold and subsequently become extremely dry, cracked and brittle. Salves are a combination of therapeutic oils that soothe the skin at a very deep level, and often stay on your skin longer than a cream or lotion, rendering them more therapeutic long term. Oils are also excellent carriers for medicinal herbs, and once infused, oils carry some of the properties of the herbs they're paired with making them even more effective and targeted. I keep a travel sized Hardworking Hands salve in my bag and a full size around my house. Slathering this on feels oh so good on dry skin, and I really massage it into my hands and cuticles. Their Ginger Cayenne Muscle Rub is perfect for those extra cold days because it really does warm up my hands and feet with those warming, energizing herbs. Their Foot Balm makes an appearance several times a week in our house. The physical act of a shared foot rub (especially on poorly circulated feets) is kind of the best.
Disclaimer: Neither of these products treats or cures Raynaud's. The opinions expressed are my own experience and should be used at your own discretion.
This is not a sponsored post. I just love these products and use them all the time in my day to day life and they're hugely helpful,