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Some Helpful Chinese Herbs to Offset Anemia

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In anemia conditions, tissues of the body are oxygen-deprived because of a decrease in the amount of red blood cells circulating in the body. Anemia is a blood condition that has actually more than 400 types. Some of its symptoms include fatigue, weakness, burning tongue (vitamin B anemia), malaise (mild anemia, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, faintness, shortness of breath, bluish lips, yellow or pale skin, pale eyelid linings, pale gums and nail beds, motion problems, balance problems, palm, creases, confusion, slick tongue, memory loss, depression, and tingling in the extremities. Additional symptoms may include heart arrhythmia, poor concentration, lessened appetite, sleeplessness, and headache. Iron too much use of iron supplements can lead to the symptoms of iron overload like seizures, vomiting, fever, bloody diarrhea, lethargy, and jaundice.

Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese medicine or TCM terms anemia as deficient blood. Practitioners address this deficiency with herbal medicine and acupuncture. For fatigue, an herbal tonic known as Asian ginseng is used. As a blood tonic, Dang gui has been used for more than 2,500 years. For better results, this tonic is oftentimes accompanied with astralagus or Chinese foxglove root.

Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture


A study reviewed in 1990 by Zhou and Zhou revealed that the use of a principle known as bu-shen yi-qi led to an improvement of the symptoms of anemia. The study involved 60 participants all suffering from orthostatic dysregulation. Each person was randomly assigned to either a control group (who were given vitamins B1 and oryzanol) or a treatment group (who were treated Chinese herbs under the principle of bu-shen yi-qi). Herbs used as treatment were chosen for containing zinc, iron (to boost red cell production) and other trace elements. Results after a month showed that 4 members in the control group and 16 patients in the treatment group experienced significant improvements. Seventy one percent or 43 of the total group had clinical mild anemia symptoms. There was drawing of blood during pre and post testing. Red blood cell, hyper-chromia and red blood cell counts were measured. No improvement was seen in 17 patients of the control group while 20 in the treatment group experienced significant positive results.

A study reviewed in 1992 by Zee-Cheng showed that the use of 10 significant tonic decoction (Shi-quan-da-bu-tang or SQT) led to improvement of the symptoms of general weakness, spleen weakness, kidney insufficiency, fatigue, severe exhaustion, anorexia, and anemia. The decoction was able to bring back immune function to cancer-diagnosed patients, boost the effect of the treatment, and lessen the toxicity of anti-cancer drugs. Zee-Cheng showed that SQT treats anemia, among other conditions, by tonifying the blood and making Q (vital energy) stronger as shown on eight years of human and animal studies.

A study reported in 1995 by Chen, Hse, and Su dealt with the effects of Man-Shen Ling, a Chinese herbal formula consisting of astralagus and rehmannia, and other Chinese herbs for the treatment of anemia. The formula showed impressive outcomes and had no adverse effects on the kidney, heart, and gastrointestinal tract functions.
In 1995 Fan, Shi and Zhang authored a review of a study on 43 children all suffering from aplastic anemia who were given a transfusion of feta blood and were treated with vitamin C and Chinese medicinal herbs. About more than 62% of the blood transfusion-alone group showed improvements as compared to the 62.5% (acute plastic anemia) and 88.9% (chronic aplastic anemia) of the treatment group who were treated with blood transfusion and Chinese medicinal herbs.

Supplements and Foods

Because of the caffeine and the tannin in black tea which tend to inhibit iron absorption, cola and coffee (both caffeinated and decaffeinated) should be avoided with meals for those with anemia. Instead, to help boost iron absorption, vitamin-rich citrus juices should be recommended. Chronic intake of alcoholic should also be avoided as alcohol can disrupt the body’s ability to absorb folic acid.

Recommended foods include foods rich in iron like red meat, poultry, liver, almonds, dried fruits, blackstrap molasses, dried beans, tomatoes, broccoli, and parsley (which promotes iron absorption).

The following foods should be minimally cooked or eaten fresh to preserve their folic acid content to help enhance red blood cell production: eggs, liver, pumpkin, brewer’s yeast, wheat germ, milk, and dark green vegetables. Mackerel and salmon are high in vitamin B12, and folate can be found in lentils, beans, and black-eyed peas. At risk of vitamin B12 anemia are vegetarians because fermented foods and animal products are the only sources of this vitamin. Therefore, vegetarians should also include fermented foods, eggs, and dairy products as well as tempsch, tofu, and miso in their diet. Vitamin and iron supplements can provide too much iron that can be harmful.

Dr. Yelena Pakula is a licensed acupuncture doctor and the medical director of Vita-Health Acupuncture and Wellness Center in Pembroke Pines, FL.

Written by Valerie

November 29th, 2016 at 7:44 pm

Posted in Acupuncture

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Chinese Herbal Medicine and Acupuncture Have Been Used for Centuries to Treat Anemia Symptoms

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A lot of patients coming in for acupuncture treatment ask if acupuncture is any good for resolving blood conditions such as anemia. They are often pleasantly surprised to hear that Chinese herbal therapy and acupuncture have actually been used for dozens of centuries to treat anemia symptoms such as pale complexion, weakness and tiredness.  The truth is, anemia is the most common condition of the blood seen by western trained physicians and when it is severe enough, it can cause shortness of breath and palpitations.

The latest clinical studies have revealed that acupuncture can actually elevate the levels of serum ferratin and decrease the Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC). The TIBC is a test to rate the ability of the body to bind iron.

The ones who have conducted the study used the zu san li (meaning three leg mile) acupuncture point. This point is known to help strengthen the body that the person could walk three miles more after a full day of walking. The zu san li point, according to traditional Chinese medicine, can boost the function of the spleen.

According to TCM, the abdomen takes in the food while the spleen processes the food.  The correct acupuncture points stimulated can better nutrient and therefore, iron absorption.  The zu san li point can likewise help in the treatment of shortness of breath, palpitations and tiredness, all symptoms related to anemia.

Obviously, the anemic patent’s diet needs to be modified as well but acupuncture can be the sparkplug that can enhance the digestion process and the absorption of the food the patient eats.

Acupuncture is not merely the insertion of needles into the leg or on any part of the body. Certain anatomical sites and delicate pressure areas are determined by a licensed acupuncturist before he/she inserts a needle into a patient’s body.  The needles used for acupuncture therapy have a varied range of thicknesses and lengths and the ones used will be based on what kind of effect the acupuncturist wants to attain.

After the needle has been inserted, the acupuncturist utilizes a number of stimulation procedures wherein a needle may be lifted up or moved and twisted in certain directions to bring about stimulation. The aforementioned study entailed certain needling thrust and lift methods to bring about an effect that would improve the strength of the body.

Patients usually complain that iron supplements make them constipated.  Moreover, the cause of the anemia needs to be treated in order for the patient to gain long-term balance and good health.

DeJongh Acupuncture Clinic
2929 SW 3rd Ave #610
Miami, FL 33129
(305) 677-3214


Written by Valerie

May 18th, 2014 at 8:02 am

Anemia – Treatments and Drugs

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Anemia therapy will be contingent or dependent on the severity, cause and type of the anemia you have. Treatments that can be considered can include surgery for treating loss of blood, procedures, medicines, dietary supplements and changes and alternative therapy such as acupuncture.

Aims of Therapy

Anemia treatment primarily is to address the lack of oxygen the red blood cells carry. The objective is to raise the red blood cell count and/or the level of hemoglobin which is the protein residing in red blood cells that conveys oxygen to the body. Another objective is to treat the root cause of the anemia.

Dietary Supplements and Changes

Certain types of anemia are due to low iron content in the body. This can be due to certain conditions or diseases or to a diet low in iron content. To increase iron the thing to do is to take iron or vitamin supplements and adding iron-rich foods to your diet. Typical supplements include folate (folic acid) and vitamin B12. In order for the body to absorb iron efficiently, vitamin C intake is recommended.


Iron is needed by the body to create hemoglobin. Meats have iron that is easily absorbable than iron content in vegetables or other foods. The doctor can recommend you taking in more meat particularly red meat like liver or beef and other protein rich foods like shellfish, fish, pork, turkey and chicken among others.

Iron rich foods that are non-meat include:

  • Iron-added breads and cereals
  • Prune juice
  • Dried fruits like apricots, raisins and prunes
  • Peas like chickpeas, soybeans and baked beans (red and white) and lentils
  • Tofu
  • Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, Chinese cabbage, etc.

You can also take iron supplements if you’d rather take in iron this way. Iron supplements are often integrated in multivitamins and other minerals that facilitate iron absorption by your body.

For premature babies, infants and young kids physicians may recommend drinking a lot of cow’s milk or better yet their own mother’s milk.

Note: Too much iron in the body is bad so only take the right amount of iron which the physician prescribes.

Vitamin B12 – Pernicious anemia is due to the lack of vitamin B12 in the body. This can easily be corrected by taking in vitamin B12 supplements. Great sources of vit B12 can include:

  • Foods enriched with vitamin B12 (veggie burgers and soy-based beverages)
  • Diary products like cheese, yogurt and milk; eggs
  • Meats like fish, poultry, liver and beef
  • Breakfast cereals enriched with vit B12

Folic Acid – Also called folate is one type of vit B that certain foods possess. Since the body needs to constantly replenish itself with new cells after the old and diseased ones have died off, it needs a constant supply of folate.  This specific vitamin is also much needed by pregnant women since it prevents them from developing anemia and enables the fetus to develop normally. Some foods rich in folate include:

  • Orange; orange juice and other types of juices and fruits; bananas
  • Eggs
  • Liver (from beef)
  • Dried beans and black-eyed peas
  • Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach
  • Rice, pasta and bread fortified with folic acid

Vitamin C – This type of vitamin facilitates iron absorption by the body.  Valuable sources of vit C include:

  • Tangerines
  • Grapefruits
  • Oranges
  • All kinds of citrus foods
  • Cantaloupes
  • Strawberries
  • Kiwi fruit

Vegetables rich in vit C include:

  • Spinach
  • Turnip greens
  • Potatoes
  • Cabbage
  • Tomatoes
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Peppers
  • Broccoli

Medicines – There are drugs and procedures that actually stimulate your body to produce more red blood cells or to address the root problem of anemia. These drugs and procedures can include:

  • Chelation therapy – This is a treatment to address lead poisoning and is primarily used on children who suffer from iron-deficiency anemia
  • Drugs to restrict the body’s immune system from killing its own red blood cells
  • Synthetic erythropoietin that stimulates the body to create more red blood cells – This synthetic hormone has certain risks but not as severe that outweigh its benefits.
  • Antibiotics – For addressing infections
  • Hormones that prevent severe menstrual bleeding in certain


For severe anemia, the doctor may perform certain clinical procedures like marrow and blood stem cell transplants and blood transfusions.

Marrow and Blood Stem Cell Transplant – This procedure removes problem stem cells in your body and replaces it with healthy ones from a donor. Stem cells mature into platelets, white blood cells and red blood cells and are found in bone marrows. The transplant procedure is similar to a typical blood transfusion but you get stem cells that upon entering the body travel to the bone marrow and immediately start to produce new blood cells.

Blood Transfusion – This is a procedure where new blood is added in your body through intravenous line injected into your veins. This procedure entails getting the right type of your blood from a donor with your same blood type.


Surgery is done on patients suffering from life threatening and severe anemic symptoms. If you have colon cancer or uncontained hemorrhaging, you may need to undergo surgery. Also, if your body is killing a substantial number of red blood cells, you may need surgery to have your spleen extracted.

Alternative Therapy


Acupuncture can be an effective mode of treatment for addressing the underlying cause of anemia.  If the cause of your anemia is due to deficiency in your nutrition, acupuncture can be performed combined with dietary modification to help enhance nutrient absorption by reinforcing and improving the intestine lining. If your anemia is due to hemoglobin or red blood cell inadequacy acupuncture will be utilized to stimulate the bone marrow to increase the production of red blood cells.


Healthy by Nature Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine Center
9231 S. IL Rt 31
Lake in the Hills, IL 60156
Phone: 847-658-6004

Written by Valerie

November 3rd, 2013 at 2:38 pm

Posted in Acupuncture

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Anemia – Tests and Diagnosis

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The diagnosis for your anemia may be based on the findings of your family and medical histories, your physical examination and from procedures and tests.

Anemia frequently does not cause any symptom manifestation and the doctor may discover it when studying a different condition that may be related to your anemia.

Family and Medical Histories

The doctor will study your family history and may see if anyone in your family has suffered from anemia. He will also query you about any symptoms and signs of anemia you may be experiencing. He will also question you if you’ve had any condition or ailment that could have lead to anemia.

You need to inform your doctor if any member of your family has anemia, if you’ve had past anemia conditions before and the typical foods that you regularly eat.

Physical Examination

The purpose of your physical exam is to know the severity of your anemia and its probable cause(s). The doctor may:

  • Feel your stomach to assess the size of your spleen and liver
  • Listen for sounds of uneven or rapid breathing in your lungs
  • Listen for any irregular or rapid heart beat you may have

Specific exams like a rectal or pelvic exam may be done by the doctor to identify the areas of the body where hemorrhaging occurs.

Diagnostic Tests and Procedures

Some blood tests and procedures may be required to know the kind of anemia you have and the degree of its severity.

Complete blood count – This test is usually the first one given to someone suspected of having anemia. It measures the levels of hematocrit and hemoglobin of a person. Hematocrit is the rate of space that red blood cells use in your blood. Anemia is more or less diagnosed if the amount of hematocrit or hemoglobin in the blood is low.

The doctor may consider the patients ethnic or racial background since the typical range of hematocrit or hemoglobin levels is different among different races.

A CBC also measures the amount of platelets, red and white blood cells in the person’s blood. Results beyond or below normal can indicate an underlying health problem, infection, a blood disorder or anemia in the patient.

The CBC also measures MCV or mean corpuscular volume which is a measurement of the size of the patient’s red blood cells which can help them verify if the patient is suffering from anemia. If the patient’s red blood cells are smaller than normal and healthy red blood cells, it is an indication of iron-deficiency anemia.

Other Tests and Procedures

  • Hemoglobin electrophoresis – Hemoglobin electrophoresis can identify the kinds of hemoglobin you have in your blood and can help the doctor diagnose the type of anemia you have.
  • Reticulocyte count – This is a test that determines how many fresh red blood cells you have in your body and is used to see if the bone marrow produces the right amount of red blood cells in your body.
  • Iron level in your body and blood tests – These tests usually include serum ferritin and serum iron tests. Other tests of these kinds include total iron-binding capacity and transferrin level tests to measure iron levels in your blood.

You can get anemia from potentially a wide number of causes. The doctor can recommend tests to determine conditions like vitamin inadequacy (lack of folic acid and/or vit B12), lead poisoning and kidney failure.

If you are diagnosed with anemia because of internal hemorrhage, the doctor may require you to undergo several tests to see what part of the body is suffering from hemorrhage. A stool test is used to determine the presence of blood in the stool and can be done at the clinic or at home. The stool sample will be sent to a lab for analysis.

If blood is present in the stool, other tests may again be required to locate the specific area of bleeding. One typical test done is endoscopy, a procedure that uses a tube attached with a tiny camera to view the digestive tract’s lining.

A marrow test can also be preformed to see whether the patient’s bone marrow is producing enough blood cells to sufficiently supply the body of red blood cells.


Rodd Sanchez Sydney Acupuncture
Suite 410, Level 4,
229 Macquarie Street
Sydney, NH 2000
Phone: 02 8213 2888

Written by Valerie

October 27th, 2013 at 3:48 am

Posted in Acupuncture

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