Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a debilitating and complex disorder characterized by profound fatigue of 6 months or longer duration that is not improved by bed rest and that may be worsened by physical or mental activity. It is often age-related and may coexist with other diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, depression, cancer, HIV infection etc. Persons with CFS most often function at a substantially lower level of activity than they were capable of before the onset of illness. Modern medicine has limited therapies and those offered by it have strong side-effects. On the other hand, various traditional systems of medicine such as the Chinese herbal system and Ayurveda offer several botanicals, especially the adaptogens, which have been used to combat chronic fatigue effectively. Literature reports a plethora of animal and clinical studies on the safety and efficacy of these plant drugs. The present article extensively reviews CFS, its pathophysiology, and its pharmacological treatment, with a special emphasis on herbal drugs such as Cat’s claw, Ginseng, caterpillar fungus, ashwagandha, Tulsi, jiaogulan etc. The botanical therapies discussed here are very commonly used drugs with profound data available on them.

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