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What Is Anaemia?
Anaemia (anemia) is the name given to the condition in which the circulation is unable to deliver sufficient oxygen to the tissues.
Red blood cells contain an iron based compound called haemoglobin. The oxygen binds to the haemoglobin and is transported via the blood stream to the tissues.
Anthing impacting the level of haemoglobin in the blood stream will affect the ability of the
blood to transport oxygen to the tissues.
Crataegus Oxyacanthoides (Hawthorn), also known as the may bush or thorn-apple tree, is highly regarded as a tonic to support healthy circulation and can be used to counteract the symptoms of anaemia. Studies have demonstrated the ability of Crataegus to positively assist with cardiac function by stimulating the heart action and simultaneously dilating the blood vessels, resulting in improved circulation.
Hawthorn contains SOD (superoxide dismutase), an enzyme, which the body uses to stabilize the structure of cells. SOD is an effective anti-oxidant, and is therefore useful for fighting age related complaints. Hawthorn also contains Vit. A, C, B-group, E, F and Calcium, Potassium, Phosphorus, Copper, Iron, Sodium and Zinc.
The German Commission E confirmed usefulness of Hawthorn berries in treating coronary circulation problems, hypotension and arteriosclerosis.
Dose: Half a teaspoon of powdered berries; 3 times daily.
Both the leaves and the seeds of this useful herb are believed to help in treating anaemia. The leaves of fenugreek help in blood formation. The seeds of fenugreek are also a valuable cure for anaemia, being rich in iron. Add leaves or sprouts to a fresh, green salad, or try 1 teaspoon of ground seeds with 1 glass of water; 3 times daily.
Spinach is rich in iron and several vitamins. Many people don't like the spinach, either due to its taste or the consistency when cooked. However it can be delicious if served creatively. Use it raw in a salad instead of lettuce, with sprouts, tomato and feta cheese. The rich green colour provides a very appetising looking dish. Or serve it cooked with a cheese sauce. My favourite is creamed spinach topped with breadcrumbs and cheese and then grilled until crispy.
Beets are very helpful in curing anaemia. Beet juice contains multiple essential minerals including iron, and vitamins B1 B2, B6, niacin, and vitamin P. With their high iron content, beets help 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 anaemia, especially for children and teenagers, where other blood-forming remedies have failed.
Other foods useful in the treatment of anaemia include lettuce, almonds,sesame seeds, black grapes, raisins and honey. Almonds contain copper, a catalyst promoting the formation of haemoglobin. Lettuce, sesame seeds and black grapes are rich in iron, whilst honey contains both iron and copper. Eggs and cheese are rich in folate.
What better way to address the condition of anaemia then with a crispy, fresh salad made up of lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, fenugreek sprouts, chopped almonds and grape halves (or raisins), tossed with sliced egg or cheese, served with a dressing made from olive oil with a dash of apple cider vinegar, sweetened with natural honey. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and wash down with a glass of red wine (not only rich in iron but beneficial for your heart as well).
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Disclaimer: The material on this website is not intended for diagnosing, prescribing or for the treatment of any disease. If you require diagnosing, prescribing or treatment of any disease you are advised to consult your doctor or a health care professional.
Causes of Anaemia
Anaemia due to a lack of iron in the diet is the most common form of this ailment. Those with a primarily vegetarian diet are most at risk for this type of anaemia as red meat is a rich source of iron. There are however a number of iron rich vegetables, and it is quite possible to meet the body's requirement for iron on a vegetarian diet if one is careful. Deficiencies in vitamin B12 and folic acid can also affect the production of haemoglobin in the body as these substances are vital in the formation of haemoglobin.
Bleeding can cause anaemia due to the decreased number of red blood cells. Woman are particularly prone to becoming anaemic due to regular blood loss as part of the menstrual cycle. People with conditions leading to gastric or intestinal bleeding are also often anaemic. In fact, this is often the first symptom of the disorder.
certain illnesses cause the destruction of the red blood cells even in the absence of actual blood loss. Sickle cell anaemia, most common in southern Africa, is one such condition, in which the frail red blood cells have an increased rate of destruction. Other diseases, such as malaria and septicaemia, shorten the life span of the red blood cell and can also lead to anaemia. Certain chemicals too can cause more rapid destruction of red blood cells, leading to anaemia.
Impaired Cell Formation
Just as certain diseases can lead to the increased destruction of red blood cells, other conditions can also impact the body's ability to produce red blood cells. Red blood cells are formed in the bone marrow, so any condition affecting the action of the bone marrow, such as leukaemia, can compromise red blood cell production.
The symptoms of anaemia are often vague and non-specific to start with. Fatigue plus lack of energy is a common presentation of the condition as the oxygen depleted tissues struggle to produce the energy requirement of the body. Breathlessness following exercise such as climbing stairs is common. The nails and gums may appear pale, but this is difficult to detect if one is used to their appearance. The best way to confirm anaemia is a simple blood test performed by your doctor.
The treatment for anaemia needs to be targeted towards the cause. However, in all cases it is important to eat a diet rich in iron, folate (meat and dairy) and vitamin B12 such as red meat, liver, spinach, beets and lettuce.
Herbs: Fenugreek is another rich source of iron, and hawthorn is commonly used to improve circulation.
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