Raynaud’s disease, named after a French physician, is repeated episodes of pallor and blueness or redness of the fingers, toes or both, usually induced by cold or emotion. The condition may be secondary to many diseases but most often to chronic arterial occlusive disease such as diabetes, arteriosclerosis or the smoking-related Buerger’s disease.

The condition, which is not uncommon, is often noted simply by an individual digit going a different colour, most commonly white. It is caused by the arterial supply being obstructed, which is usually due to nervous control of the artery either from within its own nerve plexus or from the central nervous system. Other than the condition being painful or indicating an underlying disease, the problem is not serious, although in severe cases gangrene or ulceration may occur due to a lack of blood supply for a prolonged period.

The fingers and toes represent different organs, humours and systems, depending upon which of the Eastern philosophies you study. Most correlate to some degree and the Ayurvedic principle, shown in diagrammatic form opposite, gives an example.


Infrequent Raynaud’s phenomena require no medical investigation but persistent or painful episodes should initiate a consultation to rule out any underlying disease.

Commonsense attitudes such as wearing gloves or warm socks and not gripping objects for too long must be remembered.

Avoid smoking – this causes peripheral vascular constriction. Alternatively, an alcoholic drink daily or just prior to an event liable to trigger Raynaud’s disease will help to encourage peripheral dilation.

Vitamin taken in divided doses throughout the day may encourage vascular potency.

Spicy food, especially cayenne pepper, taken regularly may reduce occurrences. Cayenne

Ayurvedic principles the fingers each represent different organs. A careful examination of them may contribute to an evaluation of a person’s health. capsules may be used if spicy food is not enjoyed. The dosage should be as recommended on the product bought, but if no effect is forthcoming then double the dose, being wary of any sensation of burning in the stomach: if this is present the treatment cannot be used.

During an attack you may increase circulation by swinging or rotating the arms and legs.

Many homeopathic remedies are of benefit and suitable. Choices should be made according to the symptoms by referring to your preferred homeopathic manual. For frequent sufferers who may have burning or aching digits, keep the remedy Cactus 6 in your pocket and take a dose every 15min until the problem resolves.

Biofeedback and meditation training can have a swift effect and should be practised daily, regardless of the condition, for those whose problem is severe.

Pallor or pain that is unresolved after a few hours should be examined by an emergency doctor. Paralysis or intolerable pain should be dealt with swiftly. Drugs for peripheral dilation may be administered in acute or severe chronic cases.