Best ME/CFS Posts

I have written almost 1400 blog posts on ME/CFS on this site over the last 9 years (first post was in 2012). One of the first ones was Symptom Mitigation. In recent years, I have focused on the microbiome aspect of ME/CFS – a technical area not suitable for the brain fogged. In this post, I will deal with traditional treatment without using the microbiome, trying to keep things simple for the brain fogged..

Best Feed Back from Readers

Neem has constantly had users surprised, this morning I go this comment on facebook

My post from 2016, Neem – Azadirachta indica gives a summary of the literature at that time. A more recent article is quoted below. There have been no clinical studies on using it with ME/CFS.

Different parts of the plant including flowers, leaves, seeds and bark have been used to treat both acute and chronic human diseases; and used as insecticide; antimicrobial, larvicidal, antimalarial, antibacterial, antiviral, and spermicidal….Over 1000 research articles published on neem has uncovered over 300 structurally diverse constituents, one third of which are limonoids including nimbolide, azadarachtin, and gedunin. These agents manifest their effects by modulating multiple cell signaling pathways.

Neem (Azadirachta indica): An indian traditional panacea with modern molecular basis [2017]

There are two other Indian Ayurvedic Plants that are well worth trying (one at a time, working from a low dosage up)

  • Triphala
  • Tulsi or Holy Basil

My earlier post on Triphala is from 2017, Triphala – an ancient medicine, a more recent post is relevant if your ME/CFS is associated with IBS or leaky gut.

The components of TLP are believed to cause restoration of the epithelium lining of the digestive tract, and by exhibiting mild laxative properties facilitate passage of stool in the colon. TLP is rich in polyphenols, vitamin C and flavonoids, which provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. It also contains various types of acids, such as gallic, chebulagic and chebulinic, which additionally possess cytoprotective and antifungal properties…Currently, there are no clinical trials assessing the effects of herbal formulations of TLP on clinical course of IBS …

Contrary to pharmaceutical laxatives, which tend to stimulate the bowel, TLP has a regulating effect and can be used long-term. The large intestine is permanently exposed to various toxins, parasites, etc. therefore, it is important to provide adequate bowel cleansing. Literature data indicate that TLP acts as a colon cleanser, which helps to clean the waste matter from the lower GI tract and improve its proper functioning [1288]. To sum up, TLP can be particularly helpful if constipation is a symptom, but it can also be useful in some cases of alternating constipation.

Triphala: current applications and new perspectives on the treatment of functional gastrointestinal disorders [2018]

My earlier post on Tulsi is from 2016, Tulsi – Holy Basil – Ocimum sanctum, and it is adaptogenic (more on this word later).

A total of 24 studies were identified that reported therapeutic effects on metabolic disorders, cardiovascular disease, immunity, and neurocognition. All studies reported favourable clinical outcomes with no studies reporting any significant adverse events. The reviewed studies reinforce traditional uses and suggest tulsi is an effective treatment for lifestyle-related chronic diseases including diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and psychological stress. 

The Clinical Efficacy and Safety of Tulsi in Humans: A Systematic Review of the Literature [2017]

Stress is a Contributor Usually… and we can do something about it

Stress is reported to be a factor in 30-70% of ME/CFS cases. Getting ME/CFS becomes a major source of stress, thus establishing a feedback loop that keeps it going. Stress alter many things in the body. A class of substances classed as adaptogenic, have been found to reduce the alterations in the body. One of these is Tulsi above. There are several others:

For Rhodiola Rosea, see my post from 2014: Review: Rhodiola Rosea Root (Rosavin). 600 mg/day is suggested

  • “Preparations of Rhodiola rosea root are widely used in traditional medicine. They can increase life span in worms and flies, and have various effects related to nervous system function in different animal species and humans. ” [2020]
  • “Rhodiola rosea extract is widely used to alleviate stress and improve cognition and mental resources. A total of 50 adult participants were treated with 2 × 200 mg R. rosea extract (Rosalin®, WS® 1,375)…how an improvement of mental speed and moreover, suggest improved mental resources. ” [2020]
  •  “the Rhodiola capsule shows anti-depressive potency in patients with depression disorder when administered in dosages of either 0.3 or 0.6 g/day over a 12-week period.Rhodiola capsule can improve the quality of life and clinical symptoms.The high doses of Rhodiola capsule are better than the lower doses.” [2020]

Some other adaptogenic herbs that I have reviewed: Jujube Fruit, Magnolia Bark (also helps sleep), and some probiotics, see Psychoactive Probiotics!

Go Organic! Make your own capsules!

Most of the above herbs can usually be obtained in bulk as organic powder or as a tea(for example, ). This means no fillers to react with, nor pesticide residues. Both of these issues have been reported with commercial prepared capsules. It is also cheaper.

The Dilemma of getting a ME/CFS diagnosis

<SOAPBOX> At one time, the official diagnosis criteria was having 4 out of 18 symptoms for no cause being found. Often a diagnosis of IBS or other comorbid diagnosis will be given instead of ME/CFS. Analysis on has found very strong statistical significance of certain symptoms with specific groups of bacteria in the microbiome across many diagnosis. This implies that the symptoms are a reflection of a stable microbiome dysfunction and it’s consequences – imbalances with over 1500 known enzymes, etc. In other words, a complex metabolic disorder.

Readers have often reported that the symptoms disappear when the associated bacteria is normalized. Approaching this issue with a focus on the microbiome is where this blog evolved to.

To translate it from geek speak: what we call ME/CFS is likely several hundred technically different conditions that because of a lack of fine resolution (or any resolution) tests, gets dropped into a large “circular filing cabinet” by most physicians entitle ME/CFS. Unfortunately, because it has a name — it is slotted as a single condition in most medical minds (“It’s a forest with a name” and thus all plants in it are assumed to be the same, thus an Oak and a cloudberry bush are viewed the same). </SOAPBOX>

Allergic Contact Dermatitis and the microbiome

A reader wrote:

Please could you write further on Allergic Contact Dermatitis and the microbiome? I am convinced there is a clear connection there, and note one article you reference above specifically supporting the same also. Would be very interested in your holistic take on the same, as you have done with POTS and MCAS.

My approach is always to try to keep to the gold standard, studies on PubMed.

Bottom Line

At first look, it looks like medical professionals dealing with Allergic Contact Dermatitis and similar conditions, do not want to deal with the gut microbiome. I call this the “It’s not in my wheelhouse” or “I want to keep into my thin silo” syndrome. There is a nasty situation created by excessive specialization of medicine and medical research.

I hate to say it, but the fastest way forward (and to get relief) may be doing citizen science via This depends on people with Allergic Contact Dermatitis getting appropriate 16s tests (see suitable providers here as well as which ones are most popular here). The site will automatically show relationships once we get 20 or more annotated samples uploaded.

I have added these to the symptom list on the site.

  • Official Diagnosis: Allergic Contact Dermatitis
  • Official Diagnosis: Dermatitis (all types)

Review: Ashwagandha – Withania somnifera

In writing another post, I discovered that I had not included this in my review of adaptogenic supplements. Adaptogenic means something that moderates the impact of stress. Stress is very common with ME/CFS and should not be ignored. The earlier posts were:

Studies from Pub Med

Dosage suggestions (from human clinical studies cited above): 300-600 mg/day

ME/CFS Improving Iron Levels by Probiotics

Low iron levels is a common symptoms for ME/CFS. I recently came across a study on how to improve it with the use specific probiotics.

Bottom Line

Probiotics can increase or decrease iron. Our knowledge is limited. If increasing iron is critical then avoid any probiotic containing L.acidophilus. Make sure that you are taking L. plantarum 299v and L. casei

Moderation of COVID-19

There has been a flood of suggestions over the last year for COVID-19. In general, the suggestions are believers in some cure-all supplements, preaching their gospels. The more responsible one register trials and start (example).

The following are what has studies supporting some speculations.

If you know of any other solid studies, please email or add as a comment.