Chronic Fatigues Syndrome and Sutherlandia
by Dr. Nigel Gericke
This brief document is intended to answer the frequent questions
that get asked about the use of Sutherlandia tablets in people living
with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), also known as M.E. Syndrome
or Yuppie Flu .
There is a well-established present and historical
folk-use of Sutherlandia in the treatment of chronic fatigue states.
Indeed in the great ‘flu pandemic of 1918, Sutherlandia was used
throughout its range of distribution by indigenous people and settlers
to mange the acute illness, as well as he post-‘flu debility that
We have received positive anecdotal reports that
appropriate doses of Sutherlandia tablets have improved the quality
of people living with CFS. This is one indication that should definitely
be the subject of a clinical study in view of the limited treatment
This abstracted case history, submitted by Dr Alta Smit, was included
as part of a presentation made by Dr Nigel Gericke at the 4th International
Conference on Phyto therapeutics 23-25 February 2001, Kurrajong
Ms. ------ , a 43 year old business person
contracted CFS after a ‘flu like illness in 1996. She consulted
me initially in 1999, at the time fulfilling the CDC and Oxford
criteria for CFS. She was functioning on a Karnofsky scale of
70% at the time, being unable to fulfill a full day’s work.
Complicating the syndrome was an almost monthly
recurrence of Type II herpes infection for which she was taking
Zelitrex (Valaciclovir) constantly. We embarked on a pyramidal
treatment program including enterohepatic, mitochondrial , neuroendocrine
and immune support. She did well on the program over eight months,
but still had significant recurrence of the Herpes lesions. She
was able to go back to work but could not exercise without relapsing.
We commenced treatment with Sutherlandia in
September 2000 after I heard about it at the South African Complementary
Medicine Association (SACMA) conference. She had one more outbreak
of herpes in October 2000 and since then had no recurrences. Her
clinical condition also improved even further, notably improvements
in the fatigue and her exercise tolerance. An Exercise test performed
in a physiology lab show her to be only mildly exercise intolerant
on the 24.October 2000. We have kept her on Sutherlandia, and
to date the patient remains well-functioning with a Karnofsky
scale of 90%.
In this patient we see the typical obstacle encountered in many
CFS patients. She recovered very well on all counts except for
the immune system, where we still see evidence of a Th 2 state
with viral and fungal reactivation. This is often very difficult
to treat except for treatment with expensive and potentially dangerous
compounds like the mismatched RNA compound Poly I Poly12 CU( Ampligen)
or other invasive treatments like Ultra Violet blood irradiation.
Sutherlandia is a safe alternative which is easy to administer.
I have subsequently used it in other CFS patients with promising
Sutherlandia is a quality-of-life tonic par excellence
Sutherlandia decreases anxiety and irritability and it elevates
- Appetite and Weight
Sutherlandia dramatically improves appetite, and weight-gain
can be expected in wasted patients. The first 5 kg gain is common
after six weeks of treatment. In people living with CFS who
are not wasted, weight-gain is not usual.
- Energy Levels and Exercise Tolerance
Sutherlandia typically improves the energy levels and exercise
tolerance of patients, and gives an enhanced sense of overall
- Qualified Healthcare Professional
It is recommended that all CFS patients get assessed and managed
by an appropriately qualified healthcare professional with recognized
experience in investigating and managing this condition. The
patient will need to make an informed decision about the treatment
modalities to follow in his / her specific case. Sutherlandia
and other natural approaches to managing CFS should be given
a therapeutic trial.
It is recommended that any CFS management programme should include
meticulous attention to optimizing diet in consultation with
a professional nutritionist with experience and interest in
- Emotional, Cultural and Spiritual
The participation of a psychologist, traditional healer and
/ or spiritual person should also be considered as part of the
holistic team to provide support for the important but neglected
emotional, cultural and spiritual aspects of the illness.
Dose of Sutherlandia
The recommended dose for enhanced quality-of-life is one tablet
(300 mg) twice a day, after meals. This can be taken long-term.
It is not recommend that Sutherlandia be taken during pregnancy.
To date here have been minimal reported side-effects. Side-effects
reported include occasional reports of dry mouth, occasional reports
of mild diuretic effect; occasional reports of loose stool, occasional
reports of constipation. Slight dizziness has been occasionally
noted in very wasted and weak patients (e.g. in an ill adult weighing
35kg) who take Sutherlandia without meals. This is corrected by
instructing wasted patients to take the product after meals.
As with most natural medicines on the world market, there are no
scientific studies or reports on drug interactions with Sutherlandia
Since common herbs such as garlic, ginkgo and ginseng
have recently been thought to interfere with anesthesia and with
blood clotting, it is recommended that patients should stop taking
all herbal medication three weeks prior to elective surgery. It
is likewise also advised not to take Sutherlandia with the anticoagulant
drugs heparin and warfarin.
Patients taking Sutherlandia who are on anti-hypertensive
or anti-diabetic medication may be able to reduce this medication
under a doctors’ supervision.
Please visit our
sources page, if you would like to find
out where to buy Sutherlandia.