Anemia

The word ‘anaemia’ actually comes from the word ‘mia’ which means blood. Anaemia means absence of blood and refers to the reduction of haemoglobin level in body. Normal level of haemoglobin in adult females is between 12 to 16 g/dl while in adult males it is between 14 to 18 g/dl. When haemoglobin level falls below the minimum parameter, anaemia ensues. In Ayurveda anaemia is compared with Pandurog.

Causes

Diminished production, increased destruction or severe loss of red blood cells leads to anaemia. Defficiency of iron, thyroxine, vitamins B12, C & folate results in diminution of RBC production while various infections, toxins, antibodies and congenital structural abnormalities lead to their increased destruction. Apart from this, diseases like hypothyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, intestinal worms, various types of cancers, liver & kidney diseases and excessive bleeding (due to any reason) can cause anaemia.

Symptoms

·         Headache

·         Loss of appetite

·         Fatigue

·         Weakness

·         Breathlessness

·         Haemoglobin level below normal

·         Giddiness

·         Swelling around eyes

·         Whitish tint on skin, nails & eyes

·         Palpitations

·         Sleeplessness

Ayurvedic View

In Sanskrit ‘panduta’ means whitish colouration. Since anaemia is characterized by whitish tint on skin, eyes & nails, it is called Pandurog in Ayurveda. It is caused by improper diet, weak gastric fire, malnutrition, worms, loss of blood and eating soil. All such factors cause production of ama (toxins) in stomach which then blocks the channels of rasa dhatu. This results in paleness and other symptoms of pandurog. Depending upon which particular Dosha is vitiated, pandurog has been classified into Vataj, Pittaj, Kaphaj and Sannipatik types in Ayurveda. Vataj pandurog (caused mainly by vitiated Vayu) is marked by pale, blackish, dry skin, bodyache and constipation. Pittaj pandurog (caused mainly by vitiated Pitta) causes pale, yellowish skin, fever, giddiness, thirst, excess sweating and sour belching. Kaphaj pandurog (caused mainly by vitiated Kapha) displays itself through pale, whitish skin, heavines & swelling in body, vomitting, and breathlessness. Sannipatik pandurog is caused by vitiation of all three Doshas and therefore have mixed characteristics.

Diet & Lifestyle Advice

·         Attention should be paid to gastric fire in anaemia to avoid indigestion. Heavy, spicy, fried food is prohibited. Non-veg items, eggs are also not allowed.

·         Light meals, rice, lentils, soups, vegetables and fruits like pomegranate and melons are perticularly recommended.

·         Food articles cooked in iron pots are good in iron deficiency anaemia.

·         Problems like bleeding piles and excessive menstruation should be attended immediately as they often lead to anaemia.

Home Remedies

·         Take half cup of apple juice and half cup of beet root juice. Mix apple juice with beetroot juice. Add honey to this and stir well to mix. Have this juice twice a day.

·         Take one teaspoon of black sesame seeds, milk (1 cup), Honey or jaggery (-1-2 tsp) and warm water to soak sesame seeds. Soak sesame seeds in warm water for 2 hours. Grind it to get a paste. Strain and mix it with a cup of milk. Add honey or jaggery and mix well. Have this sesame flavored milk daily.

·         Take 1 teaspoon of turmeric juice mixed with honey daily.