General characteristics

General characteristics

Lower than normal levels of haemoglobin (the iron rich protein that transports oxygen) are present in the red blood cells. There are several causes including simple iron deficiency anaemia (from internal or external haemorrhaging or heavy menstruation), pernicious anaemia (a lack of vitamin B12 and linked with low stomach secretions), aplastic anaemia where the bone marrow produces insufficient red blood cells or from kidney disease. Symptoms can include constant tiredness, dizziness, pale skin, palpitations and breathlessness.

Diet and lifestyle

Diet and lifestyle

Avoid iron tablets as they can inhibit the absorption of zinc and cause constipation. Rely on food and herbal sources for maximum health benefits.

Foods rich in iron include apricots (particularly hunza apricots), parsley, beetroots, carrots, artichokes, kidney beans, molasses, watercress, spinach and all dark green leaves and culinary herbs so always include a chopped salad of herbs and leaves in your daily diet. A daily juice of beetroot and carrots will boost iron levels and tonify the body.

Avoid tea and coffee as these contain tannins which inhibit the absorption in the stomach of iron and other nutrients.

Vitamin C assists with the absorption of iron so eat plenty of cherries, bananas, strawberries, kiwis, blackcurrants and any other seasonal berries.

Useful herbs

Useful herbs

Herbs that are rich in iron include nettles, yellow dock root, alfalfa, parsley, raspberry leaves, elder berries and dong quai root.

Herbs that act as blood building tonics include rehmannia, dong quai, echinacea (increases red blood cell production), yellow dock, barberry root .

Herbs that have a bitter action to increase absorption of iron and release of stored iron include gentian, wormwood, dandelion root, centaury, oregon grape root, barberry root, agrimony, mugwort, thyme, white horehound.

Herbs rich in vitamin C include amla, goji berries, rosehips, bilberries and most berries generally.

Herbs that help in the absorption and production of vitamin B12 include Iceland moss, comfrey root.

Prickly ash bark can help (especailly when combined with equal parts ginkgo) to alleviate symptoms of sickle cell anaemia.

Natural healing

Natural healing

So called 'friendly' bacteria will help to create a healthy bowel environment and assist in the production of vitamin B12 in the intestines. Take a good quality probiotic containing lactobacillus acidophilus for 1 month. Do this 2-3 times a year for maximum benefits.

Parasites and worms can cause or aggravate anaemia so eliminate this possibility by using remedies to expel worms ( see 'worms' in the ailments section of this site). The product called 'Papayaforce' made by Bioforce is excellent against worms and parasites.

Make your own iron tonic by infusing as many of the following herbs as you can get in a bottle of good quality organic red wine:
equal quantities (eg.15g) each of nettle leaves, yellow dock root, fresh parsley, rosehips, centaury, hunza apricots (or organic dried apricots), amla fruit, dried orange peel, elderberries, bilberries and goji berries. Place the herbs in a liquidiser or blender with enough wine to cover and blitz for 30 seconds or so to break up the harder ingredients. Pour this mixture and the remainder of the wine into a large wide mouth jar with a secure fitting lid. Add the ingredients, shake vigorously and leave in a cool dark place for a month, shaking daily. After a month or so strain off the herbs through a fine cloth and discard. Your iron tonic is now ready to use at a dosage of 1-2 tablespoons daily.

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