Studies Reveal Chinese Herbal Medicine‘s Ability to Treat Anemia
The number of red blood cells circulating in the body is reduced due to oxygen deprivation of the body tissues in a person suffering from anemia. Anemia has more than 400 different forms. This condition leads to symptoms such as loss of memory; depression; confusion; slick tongue; movement and/or balance problems; palm creases, pale eyelid linings, nail beds, or gums, bluish lips, and yellowish or pasty skin (strong signs of anemia); dizziness, faintness, shortness of breath, tiredness, and weakness (severe anemia); weakness, fatigue, and malaise (mild anemia); tingling sensation in the extremities (for pernicious anemia); and a burning tongue (vitamin B12 anemia). Other anemia symptoms may include headache; irregular heartbeat; concentration problems; low appetite; insomnia; and headache. Iron overload due to intake of too much iron supplements may lead to seizures; lethargy; jaundice; fever; bloody diarrhea; and vomiting.
In Chinese, anemia is known as deficient blood. It is addressed with herbal treatments and acupuncture in Overland Park. Dang gui is a powerful herb that has for thousands of years been used as a blood tonic. Asian ginseng is a general tonic to help treat fatigue. Astralagus or the root of Chinese foxglove may be combined with dang gui.
Chinese medicine and Acupuncture
A Chinese study conducted in 1990 by Zhou and Zhou (1990) examined the effectiveness of an anemia treatment using the principle of bu-shen yi-qi. Sixty people participated in this study and they all were suffering from a condition known as orthostatic dysregulation. They were divided randomly into a control group (given vitamins B1 and B6a nd oryzanol and) and a treatment group (administered with Chinese herbs under the principle of bu-shen yi-qi). The herbs used had high levels of trace elements, including zinc and iron (boosts red blood cell action). At the end of one month, the outcomes showed that only 4 members of the control group showed significant improvement compared to the 16 of the treatment group. Forty three out of a total sixty or 71%, also clinically manifested mild anemia. Before and after treatment, blood was extracted from the subjects. In the control group, 17 members remained unchanged in their condition while in the treatment group, 20 members had blood values (for red hyperchromia, hemoglobin, and blood cells) that significantly improved.
Another Chinese study done in 1992 examined the effectiveness of SQT (shi-quan-da-bu-tang or 10 significant tonic decoction) in treating general weakness, spleen and kidney insufficiency, fatigue, extreme fatigue, anorexia, and anemia. The study used SQT to improve immunity, and lessen the negative toxicity of anticancer agents in individuals diagnosed with cancer. The study showed that SQT lessens anemia symptoms, among other conditions. It does this by reinforcing vital energy (Qi) and tonifying the blood.
A study conducted in 1993 and led by Chen, He, and Su examined the safety and potency of an herbal formula known Man-Shen Ling, which is composed of Rehmannia and astragalus. The formula was strikingly effective in treating anemia and had no harmful effects on the gastrointestinal tract, heart, kidney, or liver functions.
In 1995 a Chinese study was done led by Fan, Shi, and Zhang on 43 children given fetal blood transfusion due to their aplastic anemia. The study tested the efficacy of vitamin C and Chinese herbal formulas on these children. The subjects were divided into three groups with the blood transfusion-only group showing a 46% improvement of their condition; and a 62.5% (those with acute aplastic anemia) and 88.9% (chronic aplastic anemia) improvement in the treatment group.
Supplements and Foods
For anemic people, the intake of copper and Vitamin C is required to promote iron absorption. Foods rich in iron are highly recommended. These include red meat, poultry, liver, almonds, dried fruits, blackstrap molasses, dried beans, tomatoes, broccoli, and parsley (this contains vitamin C, which boosts iron absorption).
Avoid drinking decaffeinated or caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea, or cola. The tannin in black teas and caffeine weakens the body’s ability to absorb iron. Drink vitamin C rich juices instead like citrus juices to reinforce iron absorption. Chronic alcohol intake should also be avoided as they can impair the body’s ability to absorb folic acid.
Vegetarians are highly susceptible to vitamin B12 anemia since B12 can only be found in fermented foods and animal products. Vegetarians should incorporate into their diet tempsch, tofu, and miso. Certain vitamin and iron supplements can lead to iron overload and so caution must be taken whenever you use them.
The following foods should be minimally cooked or eaten fresh to preserve their folic acid content to improve red blood cell production: eggs, liver, pumpkin, brewer’s yeast, wheat germ, milk, and dark green vegetables. Mackerel and salmon are good sources of vitamin B12. Folate-rich foods include lentils, beans, and black-eyed peas.