There are many supplements available for anemia and a quick search on the net will raise many questions as to which ones are best. Constipation is a common side effect from many of the anemia supplements which then causes extra distress to those people. The supplements also do not address the cause of the anemia. Some serious conditions such as cancer will have anemia and often the diagnosis of anemia has led to the diagnosis of cancer.
What are the symptoms of anemia?
Anemia is a deficiency of red cells and the key note symtom is tiredness. There are other symptoms such as pale complexion, paleness under eyelids and weak and brittle finger nails. There can also be dizziness and irregular heart beat.
What are these symptoms in traditional Chinese medicine?
If you look at these symptoms from a traditional Chinese medicine perspective, they could be classified under varying categories of blood deficiency. These can include liver blood deficiency which gives rise to weak and brittle finger nails. Heart blood deficiency can cause palpitations. General blood deficiency can lead to tiredness and paleness.
Does the modern interpretation of anemia correlate to the traditional view of blood deficiency?
In some cases yes, and in other situations, no. For example, someone could appear very pale, have tiredness, palpitations and brittle nails and be classified by the Chinese medicine doctor as being blood deficient. But in this person tests could reveal that there is no iron deficiency. If however, there is test revealing anemia and the person has confirming Chinese medicine signs of blood deficiency, they will be regarded as being “blood deficient”. And then accordingly be treated to a traditional Chinese medicine diagnosis of blood deficiency.
Which acupuncture points could be used to build up the blood?
Some acupuncture points are better at helping improve blood circulation such as xue hai (sea of blood) and other points to help build up the blood could be selected from the stomach or spleen channels. Chinese medicine says that the earth element which comprises of the stomach and spleen, can be used to improve the mechanism to make blood. If the spleen is weak, the body can’t make blood so a point like zusanli (three leg mile) below the knee could be selected to help build up the blood. The classic texts of course don’t say it treats anemia but the acupuncture point has the traditional recorded use for treating tiredness, paleness and shortness of breath. Traditional acupuncture focuses on the stomach and spleen mechanism to produce blood and modern research suggests that acupuncture could help the mechanism to absorb iron.
What about Chinese herbs, can they tonify the blood?
There are many herbs that have the recorded use to treat symptoms such as dizziness, paleness, palpitations and shortness of breath. One herb ji xue teng, has been researched and may demonstrate the ability to treat anemia. Other herbs like dang gui, red dates and he shou wu are regarded as blood tonics.
Blood deficiency and anemia may benefit from acupuncture and Chnese herbs.
There are over 700 members of Acupuncture NZ who are accredited treatment providers with ACC. Heiko Lade has had over 30 years experience practising acupuncture and Chinese herbalism in Australia and New Zealand.