Anemia: Ayurvedic Treatment, Medicines, Remedies

Anemia is the medical term for the condition of decreased hemoglobin percentage. It means, reduced oxygen carrying capacity of the blood. People usually understand this condition as ‘reduced blood’.

Normal Hb% : Males – 13.5 – 18 g/dL.
Females – 12 – 16 g/dL
Children – 11 -16 g/dL

foods rich in iron

If the percentage reduces beyond this level, the condition is referred to as anemia. In Ayurveda system of medicine, it is correlated with a disease named Pandu. Word meaning of Pandu is pallor. As the body color changes to pale yellow or pallor (husky white), this condition is referred to as Pandu.

Traditional Ayurveda references, causes for the manifestation of anemia, clinical features and line of treatments are mentioned below. Few of the effective formulations of my clinical experience are also included along with the diet restrictions.

Usual clinical presentation

Debility, lethargy, loss of interest in work, breathlessness during stepping up, worm infestation, giddiness, sleepiness/drowsiness etc.

Classical features

Pallor of the body, dryness, body ache, numbness, edema ,yellow discoloration of urine, loss of body luster, head ache, giddiness etc

Reasons for manifestation

Reasons for the manifestation of Anemia:
1. Heavy exercise (vyayama)- Excess of work, mental strain, loss of sleep etc lead to indigestion and mal-absorption and hence the required nutrients are not absorbed properly.

2. Sour and salty food (Amla-lavana ahara) – Intake of large amount of salty and sour substances lead to reduced circulation and cause tissue toxicity and hence the damage to the body parts (organs).

3. Alcohol intake (Madyapana) – Liver and spleen are the master organs in relation to the hemopoietic system. As the alcohol is the main cause for hepatic toxicity considerable burden is caused to the relative organs and hence direct effect is produced on the blood and its circulation.

4. Day sleep/sedentary life (diwaswapna/aalasya) – Proper body exercise is essential for the proper metabolism of the food. Sedentary life, reduced exercise, day sleep etc lead into the improper digestion and metabolism; hence they become the reason for nutritional deficiencies.  

5. Food which are spicy and penetrating / causing burning sensation (teekshna-vidahi ahara) – Regular intake of food and beverages which are spicy, penetrative, burning in nature etc cause damage to the tissues and organs. Ultimately they act as the free radicals and hinder the free flow / movement of the essential nutrients.

6. Intake of mud (mridbhakshana) – Even though it is uncommon now-a days to find mud intake as a cause (directly), still in undeveloped parts of the country and in areas where people are not aware of bare foot walking, defecation in the public (outskirts) etc, the infected soil goes inside the body and causes infection or damage to the internal organs. As today the industries are developing rapidly, the wastes flushed out by these industries are not managed properly. Those chemicals are mixed-up with the soil and water and the same effect of ‘mud consumption’ may result.

In olden days, as this was very common, they have highlighted it as a separate reason for anemia (as mridbhakshana janya pandu).

Origin of the disease

Due to the above said causative factors the digestive fire is hampered directly or indirectly and hence proper nutrients are not absorbed in the required amount. This leads to poor nourishment of Rasa dhatu and thus the Rakta dhatu (which is nourished by Rasa dhatu) which declines in terms of its quality and quantity. Thus the disease Pandu (anaemia) is resulted.

Types of the disease

According to the doshic vitiation, Pandu roga  is mentioned as 5 types.

Features of each type of Anemia:
a) Vatic anemia – Dryness of the skin and eyes, reduced urine output, black discoloration, tremors, pricking sensation, burning sensation and giddiness.
b) Paittic anemia – Yellow discoloration of the skin, urine and eyes, burning, thirst, fever, diarrhoea and dark yellow discoloration of the body parts.
c) Kaphaja anemia – White discoloration of skin, urine and eyes, nausea, oedema, drowsiness, laziness and heaviness of the body parts.
d)  Tridoshic anemia – Mixed features of all the above said three kinds of anemia.
e) Anemia due to mud intake (originated by soil contamination) – Dryness of the body, fatigue, indigestion, debility of the sense organs, loss of libido and luster of the body, swelling beneath the eyes, chin, foot, umbilical area and genitalia, diarrhea and stool with blood are found.

Line of treatment

In severe conditions, after purification (by Vamana – emesis and Virechana – purgation) various medicines are administered along with honey, ghee and sources of loha (iron resources like loha bhasma, lohasava etc). Based upon the severity of the illness, stage of the disease and one’s body constitution the apt formulation is selected. It is very essential to take suitable wormicidal medicines (krimighna yoga) before starting the medication for pandu (anemia).

iron rich diet

Single drugs in anemia

Amalaki – Emblica officinalis Gaertn.
Punarnava – Boerhavia diffusa Linn.
Bhringaraja – Eclipta alba (Linn) Hassk.
Draksha – Vitis vinifera Linn.
Pippali – Piper longum Linn.
Haritaki – Terminalia chebula Retz.
Musta – Cyperus rotundus Linn.
Vidanga – Embelia ribes Burm. F.
Kumari – Aloe vera Tourn. Ex. Linn.
Guduchi – Tinospora cordifolia (Willd.) Miers.
Shunti – Ginger – Zingiber officinale Rose.
Shilajatu – Asphaltum punjabinum (Black bitumen)
Daruharidra – Berberis aristata Dc.
Shatavari – Asparagus racemosus Willd.
Raisin
Whole wheat bread
Tomatoes – Vitamin C is the main ingredient in tomatoes along with lycopene. Vitamin C in tomatoes helps in easy absorption of iron. Tomatoes are also rich in beta carotene and Vitamins E and hence help in natural conditioning of the hair and skin.
Beet root
Beans (kidney, lima, Navy) – Beans are a great source of iron and vitamins. Soybeans are considered to be the beans that has high iron content. It contains phytic acid that prevents the absorption of iron. Soybean is a low fat and high protein food that fights anemia.
Nuts – Nuts are a great source of iron and will help you to easily boost the iron levels in your body. It helps you immensely to gain iron levels in your body even when you are on the move.
Honey
Tofu
Lentils, Molasses
Spinach
Peanut butter
Peanut Jaggery
Brown rice
Apple And Dates

Ayurvedic medicines

Formulations useful in this condition:
Read related: Gudashtaka – Effective remedy for Anaemia

Navayasa loha choorna
Saptamrita loha choorna
Lohasava
Bhringarajasava
Kumaryasava
Dhatri loha
Draksharishta
Drakshasava
Ayaskriti
Mandoora vataka
Mandooradyarishta
Punarnava mandoora
Amalakyavaleha
Punarnavashtaka kwatha
Drakshadyavaleha

Wholesome diet and habits

Barley, wheat, red rice, flesh of the desert animals, green gram, red spinach, milk, buttermilk, brinjal, guava, inflorescence of banana, leaves of drumstick, sugarcane juice, dry grapes, well ripened banana, pomegranate, gooseberry, ghee, lemon etc.

Unwholesome diet and habits

Sour-salty and pungent food, spicy food, hard food, dry food, bitter gourd, mustard, pickles, horsegram, alkaline substances, alcohol, exposure to sunshine, heavy exercise, excess of sexual indulgence, anger, jealousy etc.

Lost drop…
Dear easy ayurveda readers, understand the causes for the manifestation of anemia and stay away from it. If you are a sufferer, on due consultation with authentic and confident Ayurvedic physicians, have the treatment and be cured at the earliest, without complications and adverse reactions. Ayurveda prescribes the way of safe and effective treatment modalities for diseases like anemia.
Article by: Prof. Dr. MS Krishnamurthy MD (Ayu), PhD (Ayu)

27 thoughts on “Anemia: Ayurvedic Treatment, Medicines, Remedies”

  1. The article is well articulated and made discernible to a common man with little or no knowledge of the one limb of the vedas.

    Reply
  2. excellent but the real need to know is what should women do for calcium requirements which medicine should be taken surprisingly no satisfactory knowledge available till now please advice also if kids dont consume milk how should calcium be given to them

    Reply
  3. Is it possible (or even common) for ‘allopathic’ blood test results to all be completely ‘normal’ even though a person is afflicted by this condition? (i.e. rbc, wbc, etc etc are all normal). If not, please mention what particular blood tests can be done to identify or gain confidence in diagnosis of this condition?

    Thank you,

    Reply
    • If a person is completely healthy, in terms of blood reports, but has the aforesaid symptoms, he is diagnosed as having Pandu disease and is treated accordingly.
      In Ayurvedic diagnosis, symptoms play more important role than laboratory reports.

      Reply
  4. dear dr. hebbar, what is your opinion of using “Trikatrayadi Lauha” to treat the condition of aneamia?

    it has a few of the constituents that you have mentioned here like amalaki, shunthi etc. but otherwise has others you have not mentioned.

    Reply
  5. Doctor… Can you please elaborate more on the connection between
    Vitamin C (its role/influence) and Anemia?
    If Anemia is caused by various factors….Lack of iron/Lack of Vitamin/Lack of Folate…….if so when one is ordered to test Ferritin level and can you please throw some light on Ferritin? You have mentioned about

    1) Drumstick leaves – isn’t this produce heat which is advised to avoid for Piles people
    2) What is this red spinach… i have seen only Green Spinach(Palak)

    Reply
    • Vitamin C helps to absorb Iron from the gastro intestine tract. Vitamin C deficiency can also cause anemia.
      The amount of ferritin in blood reflects the amount of iron stored in the body. Lower the ferritin levels, lower the Iron deposits in the body, lower the red blood cell production.
      So, usually in cases of suspected low Iron levels, causing anemia, a serum ferritin level test is advised.

      Drumstick leaves – I have not read that it is contra indicated in piles. It has mild laxative property, hence useful in piles to some extent. In theory, even many hot quality herbs are used in treating piles – Example – Haritaki – Terminalia chebula.

      Read more about drumstick benefits – https://www.easyayurveda.com/2012/12/06/moringa-benefits-medicinal-usage-complete-ayurveda-details/

      Red spinach is nearly identical to its green cousin Amaranthus viridis, also known as slender amaranth.

      Reply
  6. Doctor… can your please approve the following so that i can include all the following in the cooking menu for my family…

    Green Leafy Vegetables – Spinach (Palak) // Drumstick Leaves // Curry Leaves

    Vegetables – Beetroot

    Fruits – Pommegranate

    Dry Fruits – Dates // Dry Fig // Dry Grapes (Brlack/Brown)

    Cereal – Green Gram // Ragi

    Reply
  7. Dear Dr. Hebbar I hv watched your webinar on Guduchi & was wonderful experience … I want to know about Guduchi”s external application for eye problem in way by soaking it’s powder in water over night and then sprinkle this water in next morning as traditional advise for Triphla powder…

    Reply
  8. Dear Dr. Hebbar,
    Thank you so much for all these advices and your kindness to answer so many questions. It’s very helpfull to read all these answers. Each answer helps us a lot to clarify our doubts.
    I have one last doubt. When we correct a low ferritin (mine is 28,2 ng/mL, and hemoglobine 13,2 g/dL), through natural food rich in iron as you teach, how much time does it take to see the improvements of ferritin level in the blood exam? Some months, or a year,…
    Thank you again so much for your kindness.

    Reply
  9. Sir, how are Aneminil tablets for improving haemoglobin content? I have 7.8 Hb content but show none of the symptoms. Pl advise

    Reply
  10. Hi, the condition cannot be handled with AYurveda at the moment as per my knowledge. For an opinion, please consult a nearby Ayurveda doctor along with the lab reports.

    Reply
  11. hello doctor,
    I came to know from the manufacturer of feroplex ,that the capsule shell is made of gelatin. which is nonveg. Could you please suggest some tablets for anemia?

    Reply
  12. Hello doctor – does fenugreek help or harm with anemia? Some people say it’s high in iron. Would fenugreek + daruharidra and meat soup dinners be good for iron deficiency anemia with vata signs?? Thanks!

    Reply

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