Last Modified on Jun 18, 2014
The most common symptom of poor circulation is feeling cold all the time, especially in the hands and feet. This is symptomatic of several diseases, including diabetes, Raynaud's disease, hypothyroidism and anorexia nervosa as well as medications such as beta-blockers. Chilblains are the body's natural defense to cold; small veins and arteries narrow. Warming causes expansion, irritation and swelling. Acrocyanosis is when the face, hands or feet appear mottled red or blue, accompanied by either sweating or coldness and swelling.
How To Improve Circulation
- A mixture of uncooked, fresh minced cayenne pepper and ginger.
- Crushed ginger in green tea.
- 35% Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide: 5 drops in water 3x daily.
- Cayenne pepper: 1/2 tsp. 2x daily, with 2 Tbsp. ACV and 1 Tbsp. blackstrap molasses.
- Coconut Oil, 3 Tbsp. in morning. Geranium Essential Oil can be added and used as massage oil.
- Also worked for some: Cold showers, Vitamin K, one capsule daily; Anthocyanin (in red grapes); Penny Wort; Vitamin E:large doses; Arginine and Butcher's Broom, 1-2 capsules daily.
- Lugol's Iodine cures coldness in extremities caused by hypothyroidism. Start at 1 drop in a glass of water 2x a day. Slowly work up to 2 to 4 drops 2x a day. See post below: 08/28/2011: Bill from San Fernando, La Union for further details and Lugol's Iodine under Remedies.
- Fluoride in drinking water can cause hypothyroidism. Drink purchased non-fluoridated water and see there is improvement in a couple weeks. Limit exposure to tap water in cooking or bathing during test period.
Continue reading below for more tips from Earth Clinic contributors!
[YEA] 10/08/2006: Elizabeth : "I have been on a regimen of 2 tbls of ACV and 1 tbls of blackstrap molasses 2x's a day for about 4 months now. I've just recently in the last month added 1/2 tsp of cayenne (1 tsp/day total) to my ACV and chase it with a glass of water. I read on your site that cayenne helps circulation and that was the primary reason I started adding it to my ACV. Before that I would cook with it and added it to my food everyday as I really like hot food. Well, I was pleasantly surprised with what happen next... The puffiness around my eyes (due to some kind of allergies food or airborne I'm guessing) and face is COMPLETELY gone! No kidding! I have a healthy glow to me now and the puffiness around my eyes that would make me look tired all the time, has vanished. The next thing I noticed is that my sinus' are clear, the dull sinus headache that I lived with for so long is gone and I can breath through my nose at night. As a result I think I'm getting more oxygen to my brain and body now and I definately feel much more clear headed. I had no idea how much congestion was in my sinus' that I had just learned to live with. After ingesting a teaspon a day for about a month, although results came within a couple of days, I look and feel so much better. The only thing I can attribute to the changes to is the cayenne. Thank you so much for posting this remedy. Makes me want to kiss you guys right on the lips! SMACK!"Replies
01/29/2010: Twi from Saskatoon, Sk Canada replies: "Thanks for your post. I went out the health food store today and purchased ACV, Molasses and cayenne with garlic capsules. Just wondering, does it matter what source the molasses comes from and do you need to drink this mixture on an empty stomach or at least well after or before a meal?
Thanks...I look forward to it's benefits
01/20/2012: Niki from Minneapolis, Mn replies: "In order to get the health benefits from Molasses, you just need to make sure it is BLACKSTRAP Molasses."
11/19/2013: Jb from Atlanta,ga replies: "Purchase Unsulphured Molasses."
02/01/2014: Soodie from Canada: "Hi All
I was wondering if anyone has heard of Blue Toe Syndrome and if they have what remedies have worked. I take prescription from my doctor but it is not working. I have googled remedies but very little to no information was found. I could not find any information on Earth Clinic regarding Blue Toe Syndrome. Thank you!!"
05/25/2009: Kerry from Port Alberni, BC, Canada: "Butchers Broom works very well for cold fingers and fingers that get numb from the cold. My girlfriend would get painful numbness in her fingers from the cold. When she took Butchers Broom, her fingers wouldn't bother her. One or two capsules a day works well."
[YEA] 04/08/2008: Dorie from Ft Lauderdale, Florida: "Coconut Oil for Hypothyroid patients: I heard that virgin coconut oil was a good supplement for people suffering with hypothyroidism. I went to a natural food market and bought a jar of it. That was 2 months ago and I have gone back to buy more several times. I am taking 3 tablespoons in the morning. It has not helped with my weight although I know a few people who used it and lost weight immediately. It has stopped my hair loss (it use to fall out by the handful) and in fact not only is my hair thicker but my eyebrows are growing back. I no longer have cold hands and feet either. It doesn't cure thyroid problems but it certainly is a great supplement to help with the effects of the disease."
[YEA] 01/31/2008: Jamie from St. Petersburg, FL: "My boyfriend was tired of seeing me uncomfortably cold all the time. He became uncomfortable knowing that I couldn't relax from always being so cold. He did some research and discovered that my body temp. was averaging 96.8 F. He suggested I take Coconut Oil for a while to see if it would help. We honestly can't believe it! I, for the first time, am not constantly cold. Yes, I do occasionally get cold but nothing like I use to. I'm actually relaxing now. It's has made such an improvement to my life. Would definitely suggest it for anyone with a similar situation."
[YEA] 07/06/2007: Deloris from Covington, GA: "My husband suffers from cold hands and feet, but since he's using the Extra Virgin Coconut Oil(Organic) he has not had any problems since. I use it on my hair and it makes it look healthier and stronger than it has in years."Replies
01/21/2011: Marla from Montreal, Quebec, Canada replies: "I was curious about the coconut oil for cold body temps. How does one take it and what quantity?? Thank you"
08/27/2011: Allykat from Simi Valley, Ca replies: "I'd love to know what you guys mean by "taking" coconut oil. Do you eat spoon fulls of it? If so, how much? I suffer from cold hands and feet and my feet swell a lot during the summer months. This is something that makes me really uncomfortable because it limits my activities. I always feel like I need to get home and put my feet up to manage the swelling. I'm looking forward to trying out everyone's suggestions. I just wish the suggestions were a bit more specific. Thanks everyone. I'm feeling optimistic."
08/28/2011: Bill from San Fernando, La Union replies: "Hi Allykat... Your cold extremeties and swelling problems could be due to a lack of inorganic iodine in your diet and you may be hypothyroid because of this. Cold extremeties are a sign of this. To check, other hypothyroid symptoms are given here:
The extent of hypothyroid symptoms usually is dependent on age. Here is a link that describes the body's use and essential need for iodine(not just for the thyroid): http://www.iodine4health.com/overviews/uses/panam_uses.htm
All western diets heavily lack iodine now. Dr Brownstein, from the Iodine Project, did a random research study on 500 people in the US. The outcome was that he found that 94. 7% were deficient iodine in their diets. See this link: http://www.iodine4health.com/ortho/brownstein_ortho.htm
Taking Lugol's Iodine or Kelp (larger dose Lugol's is better for the whole body's iodine needs), Vitamin C, Magnesium capsules or Magnesium Oil, Selenium, L-Tyrosine, and Zinc would also help your problem. Vitamin C is necessary to aid iodine absorbtion problems caused by bromine in the diet(from bread). Selenium aids in the conversion of T4 to the more active T3 form of thyroid hormone. Tyrosine, with magnesium, also help to convert and store iodide as iodine in the thyroid gland and zinc stimulates the thyroid gland by suppressing excess copper uptake which tends to inhibit thyroid activity. Iodine also helps to remove cadmium, aluminium, lead and mercury from the body.
Lugol's Iodine: 2 to 4 drops in a glass of water twice a day. Work up to this dose slowly.
Vitamin C(powdered form): 1000 mgs twice a day.
Magnesium Oil(70% solution of Magnesium Chloride): 10 drops twice day. Or take capsules of Mag Citrate or Mag Gluconate -- 250 mgs twice day.
L-Tyrosine: 500 mg per day
Selenium: 200 micrograms twice a day.
Zinc: 25 - 50 mgs once a week.
Using Fulvic/Humic Acid drops would also benefit your condition by supplying all the minerals necessary for your body in regard to body enzyme processes, hormones etc. Fulvic acid solution contains 70 minerals in their most bioavailable and natural form. See this link for all the benefits: http://www.supremefulvic.com/documents/html/fulvic_acid.php"
08/31/2011: Marlane from Geelong, Victoria, Australia replies: "Hi Allykat, Have a look at the following on youtube; Dr D Manila - 1-8 Edema and Potassium. Edema is a sign of potassium deficiency - people with Hyperthyroidism are particularly prone to it.
Good Luck, Marlane"
10/14/2012: Bobcat from Portland, Oregon replies: "Hypothyroidism can be caused by Fluoride in your drinking water. The Fluoride ion will also replace Iodine in the thyroid hormone rendering it useless.
If you have thyroid issues, the easiest thing to try, if you live in a fluoridated community, is to drink distilled, or spring water for a couple weeks and see what happens. Showering and bathing are a bit harder to control, but you can shorten eposure times here. See what happens. You can watch: aninconvenienttooth.org and scroll to the second-to-last interview, for the chemistry professor who solved his thyroid problem this way."
[YEA] 06/13/2006: Alexandra from Mesa, TX: "I just wanted to share with all of you that I started taking ice cold showers out of necessity. During my pregnancies I've always had problems with circulation in my legs, bloating, soreness, etc. Well, where I live at the moment I can't find any support hose and I heard that cold showers were good for improving circulation. Well, I cannot begin to explain the benefits, "good" just doesn't cut it. Before the showers, I couldn't be on my feet for long during these hot summer days and the pain was unbearable. Now, after my ice cold shower in the morning, I'm on my feet all day and have absolutely no problem. Never felt better. I do take a catnap, but that's normal when you're preggo!"Replies
05/10/2005: Ted from Bangkok, Thailand replies: "While ginger seems to restore energy in most cases, however I find capsicum powder (cayenne peppers) mixed with fresh ginger works the best as it helps with circulation. Especially works well if you are drowsy and raises oxygen level to those tiny capillaries which receives little or no blood flow.
If you can find them, fresh ginger and fresh cayenne peppers (fine chopped) work the best due to higher bioflavanoid, vitamin P content, as well as vitamin C, etc.
You would not believe that the amount of vitamins in FRESH vegetables are MUCH MORE THAN THOSE THEY GIVE YOU IN VITAMIN SUPPLEMENTS!!! Cooking destroys nearly everything the vegetables have to offer and end up paying more buying vitamin supplements, and much much more going to see doctors."
01/06/2013: Ruth from West Haven, Ct.: "The tips of my fingers get white in the winter and very cold... Then for whatever reason they might turn blue and still get VERY cold... Or maybe just one or 2 finger will turn color. In the summer they are pink.. Maybe meniere's disease?"Replies
01/07/2013: Jane from Knoxville, Tn replies: "You may want to be tested for Raynaud's disorder. Often seen with Sjogrens: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raynaud's_phenomenon
It is important to keep your hands and feet protected from cold."
[YEA] 11/07/2011: Joan from Festus, Missouri: "Another thing that you can use for poor circulation is geranium essential oil (EO). The way I use it is I take geranium EO and either add drops (maybe 4-5) to a bath and soak it in and/or take many drops like maybe 20-30 and add it to a carrier oil like warmed (liquid) Coconut oil (1 tablespoon) and mix it together and massage it into the legs, feet, and arms or anywhere you want on your body. Coconut oil will get hard when it falls below 76 degrees but that is ok. Once you have made this concoction, if it gets hard, just dig some out and rub it on your feet, lets, etc. Make sure you spend some time and really massage it in so you can get some benefit."
[YEA] 01/13/2008: Stan : "The first time we tried ginger for my wife's DVT and my cold feet, we bought gingerbased pills from the Health Shop with marking"circulation". This time I bought 200g of crushed ginger from the Korean shop and diluted it to make 1.5 litres. This 1.5 l was used with about 9 or 10 litres of green tea - enough to taste the ginger but not to cause a burning sensation. Blessings on your Earth Clinic Endeavour Stan"
[YEA] 01/06/2008: Stan from Auckland, New Zealand: "My wife developed post-surgery DVT. acutely clogged circulation from the foot to the thigh. After 3 months of medical attention (and advice that she would have to live with it!), I suggested that she follow my ginger advice to at least improve circulation. At the same time I tried it for my chronic cold feet. Within 10 days things improved and she can now travel by plane without swollen feet! I was on 12 m of therapy for hypertension-Norvasc when its known side -effect of oedema became acute. In less than a week off N. but drinking green tea with ginger I was back to norma l(Green tea is also proven to ameliorate hypertension)."
EC: We emailed Stan for more information...
[YEA] 07/19/2010: David from Springfield, Mo: "Alright, so I read about H2O2 therapy and decided to get some 35% food grade HP for general detox. My wife agreed to try it as well. Not one for small starts, I gave her and myself the full 25 drops diluted in water on an empty stomach. Very unpleasant for me, but much worse for her. She threw up after about 20 minutes and said it was the worst vomiting episode she had ever experienced. She then when back to bed and slept the rest of morning and was wiped out most of the day. Next day, I get her to take 5 drops in water and that proves stable for her. Again 5 drops 2x more that day. Day three, while we are out for breakfast she tells me that her feet are so hot they are tingling and are purple. Now I must explain why this is significant. My wife has suffered from very poor circulation since early teen years. This has presented in ice cold hand and feet at rest, even in summer. Winter nights will find her under many layers of bedding, with sweats, space heater running and sometimes a sock cap. Near the point of comedy, if it were not so miserable for her. I have tried her on cayenne and L-Arginine, which helped some, but was not a cure.
So three days after taking H2O2 for the first time, she found herself with hands and feet that were burning up and purplish red from some new found circulation. This condition proved painful and she started holding her hands under cold water occasionally and only wearing flip-flops as shoes were unbearable. This overheated condtion lasted around three weeks and then subsided. Now another three weeks have passed and her circulation appears to be very normal. She is now wearing light bed clothing and will kick the covers off in the night, which is very different. She says that her circulation problems appear to be over. She is no longer taking the peroxide as it was just too upsetting on her stomach overall.
A sidenote, she has had significant constipation issues her whole life, and the weeks she was taking the HP, she became very regular, sometime having a BM 3x per day. Now that she has stopped the HP, she has started to become irregular again. Time will tell if the HP has cured her circulation issues, especially this winter. Will try to follow up this winter regarding. For me, it has been good. I have no major health issues, just overweight, which has a cure, but it is not HP unfortunately. (smile) I was extremely tired after taking HP the first few day and slept a lot. Now I am taking 25 drops once every other day. It is quite an energy booster and my allergies have been down significantly. Very impressed, and will continue to use it. Ted's comment that lecithin caps will ease the nausea has worked well for me, and I may get some benefit from the lecithin on weight loss as well."Replies
09/23/2012: Lee from Brighton, Australia replies: "This is in response to David from Springfield, Mo (07/19/2010). While I highly congratulate you for taking Hydrogen Peroxide and am very pleased that you are gaining benefits from it, I think it is highly irresponsible for you to have begun such a powerful supplement at a very high dose. It is even more irresponsible and plain stupid to give it to your wife. I do hope that anybody contemplating taking HP begins at a very sensible dose of a couple of drops before slight increases daily. Disrespecting anything is simply asking for trouble. And also for any readers, it is much better and far more beneficial to continuously take a maintenance dose rather than go off it completely."
02/23/2009: Ronald from Moses Lake, WA USA: "I have had Cold Agglutinin Disease since 3 years ago when building my house here in Moses Lake, wa. this Disease makes me turn Purple and the same reactions as if you had Frost Bite. any temperature under 70f can easily make me turn color and start to hurt real bad. I ahve gone to the Doctors, and Had scans done on me, but no reason why I have this disease. The Doctors all say there is no cure for me. Any ideas for me would be helpful. I hate having to stay indoors all winter, or go South. Thanks, Ron Skinner"
EC: More information about this disease: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold_agglutinin_disease
09/27/2012: Shaana from Guadalajara, Mexico replies: "en verano caminar en el pasto por 5 minutos minimo por la manana antes de que salga el sol, eso le hara eliminar las toxinas que le causan la aglutinacion de la sangree. Y si puede conseguir hoja santa esta se la envuelve por la noche
in summer walking in the grass for 5 minutes minimum morning before the sun rises, that will make you eliminate toxins that cause the agglutination of the blood. And if you can get holy cover, it is a night wrap."
09/29/2012: Wayseeker from Modesto, Ca/ Usa replies: "Shana- I would love to know what you mean by 'holy cover'? Perhaps holy clover? And what is a 'night wrap'?
I have been Earthing lately, walking barefoot on grass, and it helps to discharge negativity. I had realized that it had been years since I had stood on the Earth without shoes! This is fun, because the moment one steps on the grass, there is a great big, "Aaaaaaaaaah" release! I haven't tried the pre-dawn dew on grass, but am told it is special, somehow. Plus, one gets to 'greet the sun, ' something Native American elders do every day. They think it is so important to do this, that if no one did it, the sun wouldn't rise, or something like that. --T."
09/30/2012: Lisa from Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa replies: "Hi Wayseeker, You might enjoy seeing the audio of Dr. Stephen Sinatra who I saw speak on Earthing. He was a practicing cardiologist. Here he is speaking on how the EMFs are disturbing our bodies and we can earth to help us prevent its effects.
Hope you find it interesting, Lisa"
10/03/2012: Wayseeker from Modesto, Ca/ Usa replies: "Lisa- Thank you so much! A doctor advocating walking on grass as a cure for disease! Wow. I did it at pre-dawn yesterday, in front of a church on their big lawn My feet got very cold in the dew, but it was just lovely to do, and watch the sun rise, too. Great stuff. --T."
02/02/2009: Melissa from Lansdale, PA: "This may not be appropriate. Because it is not a remedy but a question. So I understand if you do not post this. First thank you to whoever thought of this site and took the time to set it up. It's full of awesome information tested by real people. Thank you.
So my question is about an aliment I have only in the winter only when it's cold. My toes mainly the second and third turn red-ish purple and hurt. They kind of swell a little only at the tips.
Does anyone else suffer from something like this. I understand we're not doctors here so I'm not looking a diagnosis. Just wondering if anyone else has this happen. I found info on an old disorder called Chilblains, which is so very much like it.
Does anyone know any natural remedies for this. Right now I'm taking turmeric to reduce the inflammation."
EC: Hi, Melissa. These are totally appropriate questions, no worries!
[YEA] 02/03/2009: Linda from CA, USA replies: "It sounds like it could be Raynaud's Syndrome. Check out this site for some natural remedies:
I am taking more omega-3's and magnesium and really haven't had any incidences of the "red, swollen, painful toes" this winter (although it has been a pretty warm winter in CA)"
02/11/2009: Justine from Outlook, Saskatchewan, Canada replies: "Hi Melissa, I was recently diagnosed with Chilblain's, and I believe that might be what you have too. Are your toes a bit calloused, red/purple/grey, and puffy? It is caused when your toes are exposed to extreme cold. My podiatrist said I had frost damage! :)
He suggested rubbing "Rub A535" on them - it is a medicated ointment. You might remember it by its distinct wintergreen smell. It heats up when you put it on your feet, and keeps them warm all day! I put about 1/2 a teaspoon on each foot - focussing on the toes.
I am also going to try using cayenne, as I have always had cold hands and feet."
02/12/2009: Gigi from Canberra, Australia replies: "Chilblains - The rub you have used, I cannot get here. What other herb or oil would you/anyone suggest. I have had chilblains during winter for years; it is a type of frost bite due to circulation problems I guess. I have had a doctor prescribe me medication that I later discovered was for angina! It made my heart pound dangerously; I have also been told to get biofeedback etc.
I believe there must be something out there that is natural and I can use safely. It is an uncomfortable problem to endure - wool socks etc do nothing to help.
Thanks for anyone's help. This is a great site, and I hope Codex never comes into play as it will affect all of us who value Earth Clinic."
02/12/2009: Haycee from Gauteng, SA replies: "If you regularly get chilblains, check your calcium levels. I used to get chilblains in winter and a forte dose of effervescent calcium brought quick relief. Using VCO as a moisturiser on my feet seems to stimulate circulation - it keeps my feet warm and chilblains away."
EC: VCO = Virgin Coconut Oil
05/25/2009: Phil Felix from Margate, Florida replies: "I like to ask a question? Is there a remedy to cure poor circulation in hand finger tips?"
02/10/2012: Marion from Paphos, Cyprus replies: "Re: Chilblains. I am English and used to the cold and damp weather. When young, my sister and I both suffered from Chilblains. What caused it was sitting in front of the fire and getting our feet hot and then going away and they then cool down. Putting your feet directly near an electric or real fire can cause chilblains. As soon as we stopped doing this, we had no more trouble."
[YEA] 08/12/2009: Connie from Manitowoc, Wisconsin: "Turmeric for Leg Circulation
Turmeric and Black Pepper seems to make my legs feel warm and relaxed. I used to drink a lot of coffee and started getting leg cramps. Aspirin helped, but who wants to ingest aspirin all the time. I quit the coffee but my legs usually feel cold and tight. One day I made a curry type sauce for some rice and afterward noticed my legs felt much better. Here's what you do:
- Put 2 or 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in a medium size kettle on low/medium heat (not hot - which could encourage the formation of cancerous substances in the oil/starch mix)
- Add 1 heaping tablespoon of peanut butter (get the kind with no mystery ingredients, just peanuts and salt..... Or use raw cashew butter.)
- Add 1/2 teaspoon turmeric (non irradiated if you can find it)
- Add 1/2 teaspoon crushed black pepper
- Add 1/2 teaspoon curry powder (optional)
- Add 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (or fresh crushed garlic)
- Add 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- Mix well and let sit on the warm (not hot) burner for 5 minutes or so
- Add precooked cubed chicken and/or precooked brown rice
- Serve warm (that's right, not hot.)You can alter the ingredients, but the important ones seem to be the turmeric and black pepper. Possibly the curry powder."
02/18/2013: Mxramcer95 from Ashland, Massachusetts replies: "... I don't know who started this rumor, but hear me NOW... You don't EVER give vitamin C to a person with circulation problems. I knew 3 different people who DIED because of that..."
02/18/2013: Alexandra from Cheshire, England replies: "To: Mxramcer95 from Ashland, Massachusetts. I have just been reading this article, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-53201/How-boost-circulation-naturally.html, and wondered what you make of it."
02/18/2013: Carly from Seattle, Wa - Usa replies: "Hi Mxramcer95, I am sorry for your loss(es). I am wondering if you can quote your source for such information? All I can find are studies saying Vitamin C is GOOD for circulation.
I have read a couple of Linus Pauling books in the past, and don't remember anything negative re taking large - massive in some cases over 10 grams a day - doses of Vitamin C. In fact, quite the opposite.
Please, if we are going to say things such as you did, let us know more info on why it is you believe such a thing? Thanks."