Anaemia Ayurvedic Treatment

Anaemia is the condition where there is a scarcity of enough red blood cells or reduced level of hemoglobin (Hb) resulting in reduced oxygen supply to cells. It can be congenital (present from birth) or acquired. Anaemia may be mild or severe, or short or long term with several causes. There are various types of anaemia and their treatment depend on the cause. The causes of different anaemia are- 

Aplastic anaemia: is a rare fatal condition where red blood cells are not produced to meet the oxygen demand of body. It can be caused by infections, some chemicals and medicines, autoimmune diseases etc. 

Iron deficiency anaemia: very common type which is caused by low levels of iron in blood. Iron is needed to produce enough hemoglobin (that carries oxygen to cells) in body. Iron deficiency is common in pregnancy. Other causes are bleeding, ulcer or cancer of intestine, certain medication resulting in inflammation of stomach lining etc. 

Thalassemia: an inherited condition characterized by impaired production of hemoglobin in body. 

Vitamin deficiency anaemia/ Pernicious anaemia: reduced dietary intake of vit B-12 and folates, or impaired assimilation of vit B-12 leads to reduced production of RBC resulting in anaemia. 

Sickle cell anaemia: an inherited condition of defective haemoglobin production resulting in abnormal shape (sickle shape) of RBC and its premature death (haemolysis). The chronic scarcity of RBC causes anaemia. 

Haemolytic anaemia: this type of anaemia occurs when RBCs died before bone marrow can replace them. 

Anaemia associated with diseases of bone marrow: diseases of bone marrow (eg: myelofibrosis) interrupt the production of blood resulting in anaemia. 

Anaemia of inflammation: certain inflammatory conditions (eg: arthritis, cancer, HIV etc) interfere with RBC production. 

Unexplained anaemia/ UA: sometimes the cause of anaemia is difficult to identify, and such condition is called unexplained anaemia. In older adults, UA is often caused by renal insufficiency, testosterone deficiency, inflammation etc. 

 

Signs and symptoms

 Some people with anaemia may not have any signs or symptoms. Otherwise, there are variety of symptoms depending on the cause and severity of anaemia. Initially, there may not be any signs or symptoms of anaemia, but when the condition worsens symptoms do appear. Common features are general weakness, headache, pale colored skin, irregular heartbeat, breathing difficulty, chest pain, cold extremities etc. 

Ayurvedic analysis

Ayurveda explains this condition as ‘Pandu’. Sometimes, it may be a sign of other diseases like raktapitta (bleeding disorders). Pitta and vata are the vitiated dosha here and both spread all over the body. They further vitiate kapha, twak (skin), rakta (blood) and mamsa (muscles), and dislocate between twak and mamsa causing pandu. In severe cases, there may be yellow or green color over the skin.  Common features include, dhatu shaithilya (deranged tissues), ojakshaya (reduced vitality), alpa rakta (less amount of blood), alpa medas (less fat in body), slathendriya (weak sense organs), hrdrava (cardiac issues), shoona akshikoota (swollen orbits), sadana (weakness), kopana (irritability), shteevana (increased salivation), alpavak (less talkative), annadwesha (loss of appetite), shishira dwesha (aversion to cold), sheernaroma (loss of hair), agnimandya (reduced digestive power), jwara (fever), swasa (breathing problem), karnakshweda (whistling in ears), bhrama (giddiness) and srama (lethargy). 

Causative factors (Ayurveda)

 Vitiation of pitta is caused by over-consumption of kshara (alkaline food), ushna (hot food), atisheeta (very cold food), Madhura (sweet food) etc, blood loss, mental distress etc. 

Possible complications

Usual complications of anaemia are severe fatigue, cardiac arrhythmia, cardiac failure, enlarged heart or even death. Anaemia in pregnancy causes various complications like premature death of baby. 

Other systemic diseases and precautions to be taken

 Know the exact cause of anaemia and treat it. Arrest severe blood loss if it is present, and replace.

Management

Internal medicines are given to improve agni, remove srotorodha (blockage of bodily channels) and pacify raktadushti (vitiation of blood). Procedures like snehana (internal administration of lipid formulation of drugs), swedana (mild sudation), vamana (emetic therapy), virechana (purgation therapy) etc are provided depending on the type and cause of the disease. 

Diet

 Include more green and leafy vegetables (eg: moringa), sprouted pulses, whole grains, millets like ragi, iron fortified food, dry fruits, citrus fruits, milk and dairy products, meat, soybean, etc in diet to manage iron deficiency and vitamin deficiency anaemia. 

Exercise

Mild exercises can be done as per the instructions of physician. Yoga, pranayama etc are beneficial. 

Preventive aspects

 Inherited anaemia cannot be prevented. Others can be prevented up to an extent by-

  • Eating healthy nutritious food.
  • Avoiding heavy physical exertion. 
  • Practicing regular body purification. 

Importance of diet

 Food rich in iron, folic acid and vitamins are essential in the prevention and management of anaemia. Select the right food with the help of a physician. Fortified foods are also available which can be chosen by physician’s advice. 

Lifestyle  

  • Avoid physical exertion.
  • Consume iron and folic acid rich food.
  • Practice regular exercise and pranayama. 
  • Ensure adequate water intake.

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