Anemia Treatment Using Chinese Herbal Medicine and Acupuncture

There are about 450 million women all over the world suffering from anemia and many of them do not know of its symptoms and are likely to attribute them to everyday stress. Anemia, which literally means “without blood” is a blood disorder defined by deficiency in the hemoglobin (blood cells that carry iron) or RBC (red blood cell) in the body.

The red blood cell primarily functions to send oxygen from the lungs to the cells of the body swapping the oxygen with carbon dioxide that is to be exhaled out of the body through the process of respiration. if these cells are not supplied with enough oxygen , they weaken and would be unable to function normally, let alone, optimally.

There are three possible causes of anemia: severe loss of blood, red blood cell destruction, inadequate red blood cell production, or inadequate red blood cell production. Anemia may manifest in various forms but its most common form is iron deficiency anemia. Iron is a very element important needed by the body to create hemoglobin. Around a fifth of women of childbearing age in the United States suffer from anemia, this is significantly high compared to the number of men affected by this condition, which stands at a mere 2%. The main reason for this is that women undergo menstrual cycles which cause them to lose a substantial amount of blood each month.

Anemia can also come about if the body is unable to absorb enough iron or if people do not eat enough foods containing iron. Anemia can develop from chronic diseases that cause loss of blood or it may be due to factors that inhibit the production of new blood. Bleeding hemorrhoids, peptic ulcer, and bone marrow disease are a few examples of such diseases.

According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), blood is the basic material needed to create, basically, the body. It is the substance used to create the organs, bones muscles, nerves and skin. It is also where the Spirit (Shen) resides. Shen is the element that balances the soul or psyche. In TCM, the term “blood deficiency” is closely related to the Western definition of iron-deficiency anemia although the term used by Western medicine does not entirely correspond to the TCM perspective of blood deficiency. There are certain symptoms in TCM definition of blood deficiency that equate to the Western definition of anemia and there are also symptoms that are different in the two medical systems.

You may have anemia if you manifest the following symptoms:

-Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
-Increased heart rate
-Sore or Swollen tongue
-Shortness of breath
-Sallow or pale complexion
-Pale nailbeds and lips

There are anemic individuals who have a craving for paint, dirt, or ice. TCM blood deficiency symptoms may be as follows:

-Zero or scanty menstruation
-Heart palpitations
-Poor appetite
-Blurry vision
-Dry skin
-Thin dry or premature graying hair
-Numbness of the limbs
-Unusual hair loss

In the treatment of anemia, the first thing a doctor does is to run a complete diagnostic workup on the patient. If the doctor sees that a patient has peptic ulcer or any disease that causes anemia, he/she needs to first keep the issue under control. If any signs of anemia are seen, a blood test may be ordered. This may be a test to measure serum ferritin levels, or a test to measure RBC, hematocrit or hemoglobin levels of the patient.

TCM treatment of iron deficiency anemia usually entails the use of Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture in Cleveland to strengthen vital energy (qi) and nourish the blood apart from a diet high in iron. For infants, a minimum of 6 mg of iron is recommended each day, while for pregnant women, at least 30 mg of iron taken daily is required. Talk to your practitioner to determine the right dosage of iron for you. It is important to get the proper amounts of iron as too much of it can lead to constipation as well as a disruption of the absorption of essential trace minerals; worse, too much high intake of iron can increase the risk of a heart attack. To prevent constipation, one can add dietary fiber to his/her daily supplementation.

Chicken, lamb, oysters, lean meat, and beef liver are some of the proper foods to eat if you’re suffering from severe blood deficiency or severe anemia. Yams, leafy green vegetables parsley, dried beans, seaweeds, blackstrap molasses, almonds, dried fruits such as dried apricots, raisins, and prunes, and whole grains are excellent sources of iron for mild cases of blood deficiency or mild anemia

Vitamin C supplements, strawberries, tomatoes, citrus and other foods high in vitamin C greatly boost the absorption of iron from foods. Candy bars, ice cream, beer, soft drinks, chocolate, rhubarb, Swiss chard, spinach, wheat bran, coffee, and tea are foods to avoid because they tend to disrupt iron absorption. Overuse of Antacids calcium supplements also can disrupt iron absorption.