When someone is diagnosed with anemia, it means they have low hemoglobin. (Hemoglobin is the main protein in red blood cells.) When hemoglobin is low, there is less oxygen able to be transported by the blood through the body.
It’s a common condition, affecting 5.6% of the US population with 1.5% having moderate to severe anemia (1).
Ayurveda has a similar disorder to anemia, called pandu. In Sanskrit, pandu means the skin appears pale white or yellow. This is because the complexion of the skin is maintained by rasa and rakta dhatu, while the texture is maintained by mamsa dhatu and unctuousness is maintained by meda dhatu.
Together these four dhatus are important for maintaining a healthy appearance of skin.
Pandu is a disorder caused by vitiated pitta. Due to pitta’s hot and sharp qualities, digestion is impaired. The dhatuagni or sequential nourishment of rasa, rakta, mamsa and meda produce poor quality tissue. The first step in Ayurveda to correct anemia is to heal the digestion and balance pitta.
A person with pandu should first be given tiksnaemetic and purgation therapies after the administration of internal oleation (snehana) for cleansing of the body (shodhana). For snehana oleation the patient should be given Mahatikta Ghritam or Kalyanaka Ghritam.
After shodhana (vamana and virechana) various Ayurvedic products are recommended along with honey, ghee and loha (iron). Iron rich products include Lohasinduram (7) Capsules or Loha Asavam. The exact Ayurvedic protocol is based upon the severity of pandu and the person’s signs and symptoms. Good dietary sources of iron include raisins, beets, molasses, spinach, legumes like soybean, kidney bean, and lentils. Foods that increase strength and energy should also be included like wheat, almonds, pumpkin seeds, cow milk, ghee, tofu, apples, grapes, pomegranate, dates, and honey.
Avoid foods that are sour, salty, spicy, all dry foods, bitter gourd, mustard, pickles, alcohol, exposure to sunshine, excess exercise, excess sexual indulgence, and emotions of anger or jealousy. All of these will further aggravate pitta dosa.
Loha Asavam (iron) a good source of iron, useful for iron deficient anemia.
Kumarya Asavam (aloe + iron) supports diabetes, anemia, liver disorders, dysfunctional uterine bleeding and menopausal syndrome.
Draksha Arishtam (raisins) useful for anemia, fatigue, dyspepsia, andconstipation.
Ayaskriti (raisins) supports anemia, UTI, uretheral/vaginal discharges, hotflushes.
Punarnava Manduram (iron) useful for anemia, generalized edema, indigestion.
Punarnavadi Kwatham effective for anemia, edema, fever,cough, dyspnea.
Lohasinduram (7) Capsules (iron) supports Iron-deficiency anemia.
Dadimadi Ghritam (pomegranate) useful for anemia, acid peptic disorder, prenatal care, bronchial asthma, menstrual irregularities, normalizes peristalsis.
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1. Le CH. The Prevalence of Anemia and Moderate-Severe Anemia in the US Population (NHANES 2003-2012). PLoS One. 2016 Nov 15;11(11): e0166635. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0166635. PMID: 27846276; PMCID: PMC5112924.
Original source: Dr JV Hebbar, EasyAyurveda.com
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Vata is the force that drives and motivates all movement in the body. It is responsible for all input and output of sensory and motor functions. Vata controls the functions of the mind, sense organs, and the higher process of thought and emotion.
The other two dosas pitta and kapha are dependent on vata for normal or abnormal movement.