Anemia is a deficiency of red blood cells, or more specifically of the hemoglobin in red blood cells. Hemoglobin is the oxygen carrying protein found in the blood. Anemia is caused by either a deficiency in the production of or a rapid destruction of red blood cells. While an iron deficiency is often at root, poor absorption and a lack of other nutrients such as folate and vitamin B12 can also be the cause. In these cases herbs for anemia can be used to improve the blood.
It is estimated that one-fifth of American women suffer from anemia due to iron deficiency. A deficiency of vitamin B12 or folic acid can lead to a rapid destruction of red blood cells. A folic acid deficiency can interfere with red blood cells. There are other potential causes of anemia, such as blood loss and some diseases, so it is important to talk to a doctor if you are experiencing symptoms, such as fatigue, weakness, dizziness, depression, pale lips, brittle nails, and pale skin.
Herbs are a wonderful natural solution for anemia due to nutritional deficiencies. Herbs are plants that are concentrated sources of bioavailable vitamins and minerals. As opposed to vitamin or mineral supplements, and even animal sources of iron and vitamin B12, the body absorbs nutrients from herbs very easily. Also, supplying the body with a variety of nutrients, which are found in these plants, will also help absorption. For example, zinc and vitamin C assist with iron absorption. There herbs are good sources of iron, but also of vitamin C, B vitamins, folate, potassium, magnesium, zinc, copper, and other nutrients.
The following herbs are beneficial:
Red raspberry Yellow dock Dandelion Kelp Nettles Alfalfa Bilberry Oregon grape root Mullein Hawthorn berry
To use these plants you can take many of them in supplement form, either as powdered capsules or herbal tinctures. Follow the recommended dosages on the package and be sure to purchase your herbal supplements from trusted, natural sources. You can also add herbal teas to your diet. To make a tea from any of these herbs (except for alfalfa and kelp, which are more suited for supplement form) steep one to two teaspoons of the dried herbs in one cup of boiling water for ten minutes. Drink up to three cups a day.
While all of these herbs for anemia are safe for general use, it is important to talk to your doctor before using herbal medicine if you are pregnant, on any prescription medication, or if you have a chronic illness. As iron deficiency is not uncommon during pregnancy, considering adding herbs to your diet may be beneficial, but always consult your physician first. Red raspberry leaf, kelp, dandelion, and nettles are most suited for pregnant women who require the extra nutrition.
Balch, Phyllis, CNC. “Prescription for Nutritional Healing, 4th Edition.” (The Penguin Group, 2006).
Page, Linda. “Healthy Healing: A Guide to Self-Healing for Everyone, 11th Edition” (Traditional Wisdom, 2003).