Anemia is a condition in which a person lacks healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the tissues of the body. This condition can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe depending on the factors that are causing it. It is a serious health problem as it caused general debility, lassitude, suboptimal work performance, poor intelligence, mental retardation, abnormal immune response etc.
Normal adult hemoglobin values are:
- 14-18 grams/deciliter for men
- 12-16 grams/deciliter for women
- 11-16 grams/deciliter for children.
What are the types of Anemia?
- Iron deficiency anemia
- Aplastic anemia
- Sickle cell anemia
- Vitamin Deficiency anemia
What are the symptoms of Anemia?
- Irregular heartbeats
- Pale or yellow colour of the skin
- Shortness of breath
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Cold hands and feet
What are the causes of Anemia?
Anemia occurs when the red blood cells do not have enough red blood cells. This condition results due to the following factors:
- Body does not produce enough red blood cells
- Heavy menstruation in females as bleeding causes to lose red blood cells more quickly than they can be replaced.
How anemia is diagnosed?
Physical exam and blood tests are necessary for the diagnosis of anemia.
Blood test such as Complete Blood Count (CBC) is performed. A CBC test is used to count the number of blood cells in a sample of the blood. This test helps the doctor in knowing the levels of the red blood cells contained in the blood (hematocrit) and the hemoglobin in the blood.
Concept of Anemia in Ayurveda:
Anemia is known as Pandu Rog in Ayurveda. The pathogenesis of anemia in Ayurveda is linked with the vitiation of Doshas (humors). Pandu roga is predominantly a result of the vitiation of Pitta dosha along with the other doshas. The vitiation of Pitta dosha leads to the discoloration of the skin and pallor owing to alpa rakta (reduced blood) or vidushya rakta (vitiation of blood). It develops due to the depletion of Rasa dhatu which in turn becomes ineffective for the production of Raktadhatu. It is caused due to poor nutrition, improper diet, presence of worms, loss of blood, eating soil, genetic factors etc.
In Ayurvedic literature, the description of Pandu is available in three forms:
- Pandu as a sign of certain disease
- Pandu as a complication
- Pandu as a disease
Treatment of Anemia in Ayurveda:
Ayurveda always focuses on the causes for the manifestation of anemia. The treatment of anemia is done by first diagnosing the dosha that is out of balance.
- Vataj pandurog is mainly caused due to the vitiation of Vata dosha is marked by pale, blackish, dry skin, body ache and constipation.
- Pittaj pandurog is caused by vitiated Pitta. It causes symptoms such as pale and yellowish skin, giddiness, thirst, excessive sweating and sour belching.
- Kaphaj pandurog is caused due to the vitiation of Kapha dosha. The symptoms produced by kaphaj pandurog are whitish skin, heaviness, swelling in the body, breathlessness and vomiting.
- Sannipatik pandurog is caused due to the vitiation of all the three doshas and therefore shows mixed symptoms.
If a person is suffering from anemia, it is advisable to take proper treatment to avoid any complications. Ayurveda prescribes safe and effective treatment modalities for diseases like anemia.
Some Home Remedies for Anemia are:
- Apple Juice: Mix ½ cup of fresh apple juice with ½ cup of beetroot. Add a teaspoon of honey and stir well. Take this freshly prepared juice twice a day. Apple has many health-promoting properties. It can be munched as a snack as well.
- Amla (Emblica officinalis): Mix fresh juices of amla and beetroot. Take this juice regularly as it helps in strengthening the body, reactivating the red blood cells and supplies the body with fresh oxygen.
- Black Sesame Seeds: Soak black sesame seeds in water for 2 hours. Grind it to make a paste and add honey t it. Mix well. Put this mixture in a glass of milk and take this milk regularly.
- Fenugreek Seeds: Soak 2-3 tablespoons of fenugreek seeds overnight. Add these to a handful of rice and cook them in pressure cooker. You can also add salt according to taste and take fenugreek rice for a month regularly.
- Pomegranate Juice: Taking fresh pomegranate juice regularly also helps in boosting blood count. Pomegranate juice acts as an excellent remedy for anemia. It is also a good blood purifier. Besides rich in iron, it also contains minerals such as copper and potassium.
- Yogurt with turmeric: Those suffering from kapha- type anemia should have a cup of yogurt twice a day with a teaspoon of turmeric. In kapha-type anemia, skin turns cold and clammy and a person may experience swelling as well. This remedy helps in balancing kapha-type anemia.
- Copper Water: Take water stored in copper vessel overnight every morning as it helps in replenishing the body with natural minerals and is also helpful in treating hair loss caused due to anemia.
- Resins and Dates: Both resins and dates offer a very good combination of Iron and Vitamin C. These are helpful in enabling the body to quickly and effectively absorb iron from them. Soak some resins overnight and eat a handful of raisins and dates as a mid-meal snack. Besides increasing haemoglobin, they also provide instant energy.
- Moringa Leaves: Moringa leaves are imbued with ample amounts of iron, calcium, Vitamin A, C and magnesium. Regular intake of moringa leaves is well-known to raise haemoglobin levels. Take 20-25 grams of finally chopped moringa leaves, add jaggery powder and blend them well. This remedy should be taken with breakfast to improve the iron levels.
Diet and Lifestyle:
Wholesome: Include barley, wheat, red rice, green gram, buttermilk, leaves of drumstick, pomegranate, apples, amla, dates, dry grapes, sugarcane juice, cow ghee in diet.
Unwholesome: Avoid the intake of sour-salty and pungent food items, hard and dry food, bitter guard, alcohol, over-exposure to sun, heavy exercise, anger, jealousy, excess sexual indulgence etc.
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