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When you're anemic, your body either produces too few healthy red blood cells, or destroys them faster than they can be replaced or loses too many of them. If your diet lacks certain vitamins and minerals, the production of hemoglobin can slow down. Types of anemia caused by decreases in red cell production include iron deficiency anemia and vitamin deficient anemia.

If something in the body destroys or attacks red blood cells, the bone marrow tries to produce more blood. If the destruction of red blood cells is rapid, the marrow can't catch up. This problem is often inherited. The resulting anemia is called hemolytic anemia.

A severe bleeding episode can result in temporary anemia until the body has had time to make up the blood that was lost. But even small, persistent losses of blood may cause anemia if you have a poor diet. A healthy person whose diet contains plenty of iron and vitamins can produce large amounts of new blood, reducing the risk of anemia.

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Because a low red blood cell count decreases oxygen delivery to every tissue in the body, anemia causes many signs and symptoms. It makes almost any other underlying medical condition worse. For example, if you have an underlying heart problem and become anemic, you are more likely to have problems associated with your heart disease than you would have if you were not anemic.

How severe the anemia is will determine how severe the signs and symptoms will be.

  • Signs of anemia may include the following:

    • Black and tarry stools (sticky and foul smelling)

    • Maroon, or visibly bloody stools

    • Rapid heart rate

    • Rapid breathing

    • Pale or cold skin

    • Yellow skin called jaundice

    • Low blood pressure

    • Heart murmur

    • Enlargement of the spleen

  • Symptoms of anemia may include the following:

    • Fatigue

    • Trouble breathing

    • Chest pain

    • Abdominal pain

    • Weight loss

    • Weakness

    • Dizziness and passing out, especially upon standing

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What Causes Anemia?

There are three main causes of anemia: blood loss, lower than normal levels of red blood cell (RBC) production, or higher than normal rates of RBC destruction. More than one of these factors can combine to cause anemia.

Blood Loss

Blood loss is the most common cause of anemia, particularly iron-deficiency anemia. Blood loss can be short term or persist over time. It can be caused by heavy menstrual periods, bleeding in the digestive or urinary tracts, surgery, trauma, or cancer. If bleeding is significant, the body can lose enough RBCs to cause anemia.

Low Levels of RBC Production

Lower than normal levels of RBC production can result from a poor diet that lacks iron, folic acid, or vitamin B12. It also can be caused by conditions that make it difficult for the body to absorb nutrients into the blood.

Chronic diseases like kidney disease and cancer can decrease the body’s ability to produce enough RBCs. Infections, medicines, or radiation used to treat another disease or condition may damage the bone marrow, making it unable to produce RBCs fast enough to replace those that die or are destroyed.

During pregnancy, the fetus needs additional blood cells to develop. The mother may not be able to produce enough RBCs for herself and the fetus, which can result in anemia.

High Rates of RBC Destruction

Higher than normal rates of RBC destruction can be the result of inherited blood disorders like sickle cell anemia, thalassemia, and certain enzyme deficiencies. These disorders create abnormalities in the RBCs that cause them to die off in a shorter period of time than healthy RBCs. In people with hemolytic anemia, the immune system mistakenly attacks RBCs. This destroys the RBCs faster than the body can replace them.

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Home Remedies

1 Cup beetroot juice, 1 cup of apple juice, mixed with either sugar or honey once a day. 

Consume a ripe banana with 1 tbsp of honey 2 times a day.

Drink a mixture of apple and tomato juice.  

Eat a lot of green leafy vegetables. 

Honey-It is very good for an anemic person because it helps increase the haemoglobin in the blood. It is rich in iron, copper and manganese.

Vitamin B12 is needed for preventing or curing anemia. This vitamin is usually found in animal protein, especially in meats such as kidney and liver. There are however other equally good sources of Vitamin B12 such as dairy products which also contain some B12.

Beets are very helpful in curing anemia. Beet juice contains potassium, phosphorus, calcium, sulpher, iodine, iron, copper, carbohydrates, proteins,fat, Vitamin B1, B2, B6, Niacin and vitamin P. with there high iron content, beets helps in the formation of red blood cells. The juice of red beet strengthens the body's powers of resistance and has proved to be an excellent remedy for anemia, especially for children and teenagers, where other blood- forming remedies have failed.

Lettuce is another effective remedy for this ailment as it contains a considerable amount of iron. It can therefore, be used as a good tonic food for anemia. The body easily absorbs the iron in it.

Spinach is a valuable source of high-grade iron. After its absorption, it helps in the formation of hemoglobin and red blood cells. It is thus beneficial in building up the blood, and in the prevention and treatment of anemia.

Soybean is rich in iron and also has a high protein value. As most anemic patients usually also suffer from a weak digestion, it should be given to them in a very light form, preferably in a form of milk, which can be easily digested.

Black Sesame seeds, as a rich source of iron, are valuable in anemia. After soaking one teaspoon of the seeds in warm water for a couple of hours, they should be ground and strained, and mixed with a cup of milk and sweetened with jaggery or sugar. This emulsion should be given to patients suffering from anemia.

Honey is remarkable for building hemoglobin in the body. This is largely due to the iron, copper and manganese contained in it.

There are several other foods, which are rich sources of Iron and can be used beneficially in the treatment of anemia. The more important of these are bananas, black grapes, plums, strawberries, raisins, onions, squash, radish, celery and tomatoes.

If you have suggestions or know of a proven home remedy add it here in the comment area.

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Herbal Remedies

The leaves of fenugreek help in blood formation. The cooked leaves should be taken by adolescent girls to prevent anemia, which may occur due to the onset of puberty and menstruation. The seed of fenugreek are also a valuable cure for anemia, being rich in iron.

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Wellness Program

Diet is of utmost importance in the treatment of anemia. Redefined foods like white bread, polished rice, sugar desserts rob the body of its much- needed iron. Iron should preferably be taken in its natural organic form in food. The emphasis in the diet should be on raw vegetables and fresh fruits, which are rich in iron. Also, bear in mind that some elements enhance your body's absorption of iron, while others suppress it. Taking iron with something rich in vitamin C, for instance, means you'll get the mineral's maximum benefit.

The patient should commence a therapeutic treatment with an exclusive fruit diet for 5 days, taking three meals a day of fresh juicy fruit. A fruit and milk diet may follow this for about fifteen days. Thereafter the patient may gradually embark upon a well - balanced diet, consisting of seeds, nuts, grains, vegetables, and fruits.

If the patient is constipated, purgatives are indicated because anemia is born of pitta which can be corrected through purgation.Triphala is the best remedy for such constipation.

Finally, don't drink coffee or tea when eating meals or taking your supplements; these can also make it more difficult for your body to absorb iron.

Other Measures:

Cold-water baths are recommended in anemia. The patient should be given a cold bath carefully twice daily, the coldness of the water being increased gradually. A hot salt bath for five to ten minutes once a week and an occasional steam bath are also useful. Sunbaths are especially beneficial as the sunlight stimulates the production of red cells. Other important factors that help in curing anemia are deep breathing and light exercises like walking.

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