Chilblains are small lesions caused by the inflammation of tiny blood vessels due to cold air and poor circulation. They’re often painful and tend to affect the skin on the toes, fingers earlobes and the nose.
Despite the discomfort, most chilblains don’t cause any permanent damage to tissue, although in serious cases, they can result in an ulcer. It is believed that those who are susceptible to chilblains are more sensitive to changes in weather and temperature than others.
Chilblains are patches of skin that appear swollen and red white or occasionally blue in color. Due to the swelling, they may look shiny. Other symptoms can include: burning sensation, blisters, itchiness.
While it’s unclear what causes chilblains, there are a few things that might increase the risk of developing them:
· clothing that’s too tight or leaves skin exposed to cold, damp conditions
· living in a damp climate
· weighing about 20 percent less or more than the healthy weight for your height
· having poor circulation
· suffering from Raynaud’s phenomenon, which can cause its own types of sores
Natural management of CHILBLAINS
· Resist the urge to scratch, as this will further damage the skin.
· Lanolin or similar, rubbed into the feet, will help retain body heat.
· Wear woollen or cotton socks.
· Keep your whole body warm.
· Improve circulation to your feet via gentle exercise.
· Warm cold hands and feet slowly (ie. having a tepid not scalding bath), RATHER than going straight to the heater
· Consume Warming anti-inflammatory spices such as cayenne, turmeric, black pepper, cinnamon and ginger daily. A turmeric latte is a delicious way to do this (see recipe below).
· Vitamin E : promotes circulation. Food rich in Vitamin E are: nuts and some seeds.
· Calcium and magnesium deficiency can enhance sensitivity to the cold and also linked to emotional sensitivity; they are found in leafy green vegetables, nuts, tahini and legumes
· Daily exercise Daily exercise and relaxation techniques are useful to combat stress and support healthy circulation.
· Vitamin B3 is both a circulatory stimulant and inflammation suppressant.
· Other therapies; good quality fish oil, cod liver oil or flaxseed oil are great during winter months to support circulation. · Acupuncture and herbal circulatory supports such as ginkgo biloba are worth investigating.
With Raynaud’s disease there can be underlying disease causes, such as an autoimmune disease, and it may be a side-effect of medications. If you are experiencing Raynaud’s it is a good idea to have underlying issues ruled out by your physician.
Tumeric Latte Recipe:
• 500 ml almond milk (other nut milks or coconut milk is also nice, but rice milk is too thin for this recipe)
- 2 tsp turmeric
• ½ tsp cinnamon
• ½ tsp ginger
• pinch ground black pepper
• pinch nutmeg
1. Gently warm ‘milk’ in a small pot on the stove
2. Add spices and mix through for 1 minute
3. Pour into 2 mugs and sprinkle some extra nutmeg for garnish
4. Add an optional teaspoon of raw honey to sweeten
Curcumin, the antioxidant that gives turmeric its golden hue, has potent anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial, gastrointestinal health properties, which have been linked to the prevention of cancer cell growth and management of inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis, asthma, eczema and inflammatory bowel disease,chilblains.
The high antioxidant and anti-bacterial content in turmeric also means it is great for helping to reduce the symptoms of cold and flu. Adding to its impressive list of nutritional benefits, turmeric is rich in manganese, zinc, B group vitamins and iron, which can help support a healthy metabolism. Turmeric is a true superfood because it’s classified as an adaptogen, which means it helps the body adapt to stressors like environmental toxins, inflammatory foods, and lack of sleep.