In Chinese medicine, blood deficiency is a condition that underlies many illnesses. In Western medicine it may be diagnosed as anaemia. The heart has to beat much harder to supply the body with oxygen if the person is anaemic. Up to 40% of women will be anaemic during their lifetimes, (men only reach 26%). This high risk in women can occur during childhood, menstruation, pregnancy and old age. Extreme exhaustion is one of the first signs and should be checked out if it does not resolve quickly.
Blood deficiency refers to insufficient blood production which fails to nourish the tissues. This can be due to poor diet, chronic illness and massive blood loss without sufficient replacement as in childbirth, accident, heavy periods and inability to absorb nourishment effectively.
Blood deficiency leads to hypo-function of various organs such as missed periods in menstruating women, pale dull nails, hair, lips and tongue, pallor, exhaustion, dizziness, lassitude, numb limbs, stiff joints, difficulty conceiving, blurry vision and dry eyes.
A poor vegetarian diet in teenage girls can put them at high risk of anaemia, which may lead to difficulties with their reproductive cycle and infertility later. The elderly over 65 years old are also at a higher risk of anaemia as they tend to eat less meat and limit their food choices as well as having less ability to absorb nutrients from food.
Diet therapy supported with Chinese herbs is the fastest way to regain energy and reverse this state. It is really important to eat red meat or rich proteins pulses like adzuki beans, and red dates, spinach, and molasses before and after menstruation, during pregnancy and after childbirth as these are the times that your blood needs the most support. Athletes and dancers generally require a high protein diet in order to repair the muscle tearing and building that they need. It is common for female athletes and dancers to miss periods due to lack of sufficient nourishment.
IRON DEFICIENCY ANEMIA
Boil 50 g of dried red dates (from a Chinese grocer or herbalist) with 50 g of mung beans till they soften, and add some molasses or honey if preferred. Drink daily for 7 days, if severe anaemia repeat that for another 7 days.
Make a bone stock with beef or lamb and add Dang Gui (Angelica sinensis – Chinese grocer or herbalist) to the broth in the last hour of simmering. Add vegetables and preferred herbs to flavour. This soup should be taken 3 times a week and will also help if there are missed periods or fertility issues. Chicken eggs also nourish the blood and Yin and are a great diet essential.
Simmer 30 g black soybeans with 100 g of sweet or brown rice till cooked, add 30 g red dates and simmer till soft. Molasses may be added. Eat warm once a day.
After soaking 30 g black fungus for half an hour, drain and boil with 30 g red dates and a little molasses. Eat daily till recovered.
Chop 50 g of pork, beef, veal or lamb kidneys or liver. Add 150 g fresh spinach, pan fry lightly for a few minutes, season with salt and pepper and eat daily till recovered.
There are many more herbs that nourish the blood and build the Qi that can get you on the path to feeling fabulous again. During an appointment you will be taught how to improve your own health as well as given a treatment and herbs to speed the process along.