The Chinese medical diagnosis of Blood Deficiency is commonly encountered among women and is at the root of many gynecological disorders and other physical issues. Blood Deficiency is not necessarily the same thing as clinical anemia, though many of the same symptoms can be present in each of these conditions. Blood Deficiency in the Chinese medical sense means that the Blood is not nourishing important organs and systems, which can soon lead to serious metabolic problems.
Signs of blood deficiency include vertigo, blurred vision or spots before the eyes (‘floaters’), fatigue and lassitude, insomnia, poor muscle tone, muscle tightness and cramping, numbness in the extremities, pallor, dry skin and hair, pale tongue (also lips and nailbeds), poor memory, PMS, scanty, difficult or no menstrual periods, a persistent feeling of cold, heart palpitations, and anxiety/nervousness. Note that not all of these symptoms need to be present for the diagnosis of Blood Deficiency to be accurate; often, groups of these symptoms will appear simultaneously.
The most common causes of Blood Deficiency include inherited tendencies (genetic issues); poor diet as a child; poor diet as an adult; vegetarianism/veganism; hormonal imbalance leading to excessive menstrual blood loss; excessive blood loss while birthing a child, or due to an accident; faulty digestion including malabsorption (e.g. colitis); mineral, trace element and vitamin deficiencies; abnormal gut flora; and parasites (flukes, pinworms, roundworms are most common).
Useful Supplements Vitamin C Spirulina Sea Plasma Raw Liver Extract or Liver Glandulars Floradix liquid herbal iron tonic
Useful Foods Kelp/seaweed Dried Apricots Red Meats, including beef, lamb, tuna and swordfish Organic beef liver
Green Leafy Vegetables, especially Watercress
Foods which tonify the blood: liver, whole grains, dark green leafy vegetables, home made chicken soup, roast chicken (esp. the legs), sweet rice, molasses, dried apricots, egg yolk.
Foods which are rich in Vitamin C and which help the absorption of iron: black currants, dark green leafy vegetables (spinach, cabbage, kale, chard, Chinese greens, bok choi etc.), orange juice, broccoli, kiwi fruit. Eat some of these with iron rich foods. Iron rich foods include Blackstrap Molasses, eggs, lentils, watercress, lean meat liver and kidneys, black treacle, blackcurrants.
This pattern is often a result of Spleen Qi deficiency and concurrently poor absorption and processing of nutrients. The following foods can help you build up blood and relieve these symptoms.
Warming foods include: chives, leeks, dates, currants, cherries, raspberries, blackberries, butter, shrimp, mussels, salmon, trout, anchovy, chicken, chicken liver, turkey, lamb, marrow bones, pine nuts, walnuts, chestnuts, reishi mushrooms, lychee fruit, dried peaches
Neutral temperature foods include: carrots, beets, raisins, milk, oyster, eggs, black beans, sardines, herring, kidney beans, aduki beans, beef, pork, beef liver, sesame seeds, peanuts, grapes, turnips, pinto, beans, lima beans, prune juice, lentils
Steer clear of caffeine as it inhibits absorption of iron. It also promotes poor blood sugar regulation and cravings for simple sugars which reduce blood quality.
The production of blood is governed by the Spleen. Spleen Qi/energy is weakened by: dieting, eating too much cold and/or raw food, irregular eating patterns, mental strain while eating, poor study and work habits, worrying about things you can do nothing about, poor time management, and eating on the run or while standing up.
Habits which support the digestion: *All foods should be easy to digest and cooked *No raw foods or salads. No cold foods. This means not just ice cream but salads, chilled foods, drinks straight from the fridge and excess fruit in winter *Regular meals, regular pace of daily life, regular sleep, regular rest and relaxation. Enroll friends and family in your supporting you in ‘regularizing’ your habits! *Soup made with chicken stock *Add warming spices to foods: cardamom, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon *Orange and yellow root and ground vegetables, e.g. carrot, pumpkin, parsnip, turnips, squashes and pumpkins are sources of natural sweetness, especially when chewed well. They provide the best nourishment for the spleen and help reduce cravings for *Foods to avoid: excess milk and cheese, refined sugar, chemicals in food, liquids with meals, junk food, bananas, peanuts
These are all helpful suggestions for anyone suspicious of Blood deficiencies. To address your particular deficiencies, and the stress factors that lie behind them, please consult Lawrence Miller, L.Ac. for a personalized consultation and treatment.
written by Lawrence Miller, L.Ac.
Connie’s comments: Check your inner eye lid if pale, which means your body needs iron. Take only iron from food, 35% absorption from meat and only 15% absorption from greens. Fluradix, liquid iron supplement including 1 tsp of molasses in the morning is best taken with Vit C and calcium+magnesium also with Vit C and D are best taken in the afternoon for iron and calcium cancels each other. Salt like iodine and chloride containing foods such as avocado are cleansing and helps kill bugs. Vit D and C are important in many chemical processes in the body including the absorption of nutrients and strengthening of the immune system. See a naturopathic or holistic doctor.
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