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In Ayurveda, Blood is Considered Life Itself

by Charlotte Bech(more info)

listed in ayurveda, originally published in issue 246 - May 2018

 

The Red River of Life

Do you feel tired for no reason?

Do you have difficulty sleeping and do you suffer from heart palpitations?

Perhaps you suffer from anaemia due to iron deficiency. Other symptoms may be headache, loss of appetite, dyspnoea and a pale complexion.

If you suspect you have anaemia, go to the mirror and pull every so carefully, slightly and gently down in one of your lower eye lids. Then look at the mucous membrane at the lower edge of the eye. If the mucous membrane appears pale, pink or pale-reddish, then you may have anaemia. If the mucous membrane is bright and lush red, then most likely you do not have anaemia.

The Red River of Life

Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Symptoms_of_anemia.png

Anaemia is a blood disorder and it may be a symptom of a number of various diseases. Hence, it should always be examined by a doctor. In modern medicine, we treat this disorder with iron tablets, iron as injections or blood transfusions, and sometimes we give stronger drugs.

In Ayurvedic medicine, blood disorder in general is called Panduroga, meaning ‘the pale disease’ because the patient tends to get a pale complexion.

 

Charlotte Bech Red River of Life

In Ayurveda, blood is considered to be the sap of the human body, the river of life

Blood is Life Itself

In Ayurveda, blood is considered life itself in the human body. Blood is considered to be the sap of the human body, the river of life, the underlying flow of intelligence, upholding life in the body. Thus, the blood is the sap of the body, the essence of the body, in the same way as the essence of a flower, a tree and other plants is found in the colourless transparent sap which is the underlying flow of intelligence, the all-pervading source of life at the deepest level of the flower, tree or plant.

Blood is an important tissue category, which includes not only the red coloured fluid of blood but also the blood related organs, i.e. the blood producing and the blood transforming organs such as the liver, spleen, thymus and bone marrow.

Blood carries oxygen and other nutrients to the cells, tissues and organs. Thus, blood is the carrier of life energy. Blood also carries antibodies to fight and destroy infections and foreign elements. Hence, the blood stream represents the stream of intelligence, the river of life, the underlying flow of intelligence, which is all pervading, constantly flowing throughout the entire physiology.

Examples of imbalance of the blood tissue (Rakta) in Ayurveda

According to Ayurveda, all imbalances of any type can be classified as either 1. The too much type, 2. The too little type or 3. The wrong type. Imbalances can occur in all the different components of the blood, such as in the red blood cells, blood platelets, white blood cells, plasma or other components of the blood.

Let us look at some of the most common examples of imbalance of the blood tissue (Rakta) in Ayurveda:

Examples of imbalance of the red blood cells

Regarding the red blood cells: We can have too many red blood cells (as in polycytemia) or too few red blood cells (as in anaemia) or the wrong type of red blood cells (as in sickle cell disease).

Examples of Imbalance of the White Blood Cells

We can have too many white blood cells (as in leukemia) or too few white blood cells (as in leukopenia) or the wrong type of white blood cells (as in some rare disorders).

Examples of Imbalance of the Blood Platelets

We can have too many blood platelets (as in thrombocytosis) or too little blood platelets (as in thrombocytopenia) or the wrong type of blood platelets (as in some rare disorders).

Iron Deficiency Anaemia

Let us look a little closer at one of these example, the example of too few red blood cells as we see in iron deficiency anaemia:

According to Ayurveda, iron deficiency anaemia is primarily caused by improper diet and loss of blood - just as we know from modern medicine. However, Ayurveda also views that iron deficiency anaemia may be caused by problems with digestion, especially the liver. When digestion is weak or imbalanced then we cannot absorb nutrients - such as iron - from the food.

Cover The Female Monthly Cycle

Treatment of Iron Deficiency Anaemia

First of all, follow the standard care recommendations and treatment as advised by your family physician or hospital specialist. In addition, you may benefit from the following advice, using this advice as a supplement to standard care treatment:

When we treat iron deficiency anaemia we have to avoid the causative factors

  • Avoid bleeding. For women, the monthly flow should be normalized in order that the flow of the menstrual fluid becomes balanced and flows in proper amounts. In order to normalize the Female monthly cycle, girls and women can benefit from following the Female Monthly Cycle Programme from Classical Ayurveda (read the full programme in the book: the Female Monthly Cycle - how to lose weight and be happier all the time, by Dr Charlotte Bech);
  • Avoid hot spicy food. Avoid food with chili, pepper, white horse radish, cinnamon and cayenne. Ginger is acceptable but only in very small amounts;
  • Avoid fried foods. Avoid fried foods, especially deep fried foods;
  • Avoid heavy foods: Avoid or reduce foods that are heavy and difficult to digest, such as meat, poultry and fish;
  • Avoid blocking the absorption of iron:  Avoid food and drink that may block the absorption of iron, e.g. cold milk, or wine, coffee, tea and cocoa. Drink warm milk, coffee and tea between meals, and not at the same time as fermented food or iron tablets.

In addition, when we treat iron deficiency anaemia it is beneficial to increase those factors that help to absorb more iron, improve haemoglobin levels and produce more red blood cells:

  • Eat fruits:  Eat pomegranate fruit and drink pomegranate juice which in Ayurveda is said to help produce more blood cells;
  • Eat digestible meals: Favour food that is easily digestible, such as rice, lentils, soups, vegetables and fruits. Favour foods with a high iron content - eg. sun-dried tomatoes, beans, peas, lentils, nuts, whole grains, dried fruits (such as raisins, dates and apricots) and dark green vegetables (such as parsley, kale, fennel and spinach);
  • Take C-VITAMIN. In addition to iron-rich food, be sure to get Vitamin C (like herbal remedy Hyben Vitale, potatoes, kiwi, orange and lemon) at the same meal as the iron-rich foods, as Vitamin C increases the absorption of iron. Meat contains more iron than plants, and it is more difficult to absorb iron from plants. Hence, it is important to enhance the absorption;
  • Use cast iron pots. Cooking in pots made of cast iron will provide a small amount of daily iron supplement naturally with the food;
  • Take juice. Take the following juice as a snack, twice a day, during the midmorning hours and sometime during the afternoon. Take half a cup of apple juice and half cup of beet root juice. Mix apple juice with beetroot juice. Add honey to this and stir well to mix;
  • Take sesame milk.  Late afternoon, take sesame milk:  Soak one teaspoon of black sesame seeds in warm water for at least two hours. Then grind it to get a paste. Strain it and mix it with a cup of boiled warm whole full fat organic unhomogenized milk (1 cup).  Then add coconut sugar, cane sugar or jaggery (-1-2 tsp) and mix well;
  • Turmeric juice. Take 1 teaspoon of turmeric juice mixed with 1/4 tsp. unheated honey daily;
  • Triphala supplement. Take the Ayurvedic fruit supplement called Triphala Rose. This consists of three different fruits that have been dried and ground to a fine powder. Follow the directions on the package. All these three fruits have properties to strengthen, balance and normalize the blood. According to Ayurveda;
  • Take natural iron supplement: Take an Ayurvedic iron supplement produced from natural sources that are sold in the UK, such as classical Iron bhasma and Cowry Shell blended with classical Ayurvedic spices and herbs that work synergistically to enhance the absorption of iron, such as Shilajit, Liquorice, Cardamom, Amla, Date Palm, Bhumiamla, Clove flower, Gulancha Tinospora, Cassia Lignae, Cobra's Saffron and Trailing Eclipta.

Research Studies

Several studies, including reviews, have demonstrated a beneficial effect of several Ayurvedic formulations for the management of Iron Deficiency Anaemia (IDA).[1] The studies present the  striking finding that most of the Ayurvedic formulations worked significantly better than standard allopathic formulations to improve the haemoglobin levels in test subjects. Furthermore, no negative side effects were seen from the Ayurvedic formulas, as opposed to standard treatment in allopathic medicine. Statistically significant results were obtained in favour of most of the Ayurvedic formulations, both in subjective parameters (feeling of well-being, energy) and objective haematological parameters.

References

  1. Janmejaya Samal. Ayurvedic preparations for the management of Iron Deficiency Anemia: A systematic review. Ayu. 37(3-4): 163–169. Jul-Dec 2016. doi:  10.4103/ayu.AYU_47_16  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5822980/

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About Charlotte Bech

Charlotte Bech MD is an allopathic medical doctor from Copenhagen Denmark. She graduated from medical school at Copenhagen University and For several years has been teaching at a medical school in Copenhagen. She worked as a surgeon in Gentofte Amtssygehus in gastrointestinal surgery and worked as a medical doctor in the area of hematology at the most renowned referral hospital in Denmark (Rigshospitalet). She went through all the medical exams and board exams for the USA, and worked in the field of internal medicine/obstetrics in Tennessee, USA.

Since 2001, Dr Bech has been running a private clinic in Copenhagen Denmark, where supplementing modern medicine with those treatment modalities that have been documented, such as diet, exercise, lifestyle, meditation, yoga and the tradition of yoga - which has a vast knowledge of health promotion and prevention of disease. She is the author of several books on health and a columnist with a weekly column. Since 2012, Dr Bech been teaching courses, mainly training other medical doctors how to supplement their standard care clinical practice with natural approaches, and also online courses for patients on how you get peace of mind and improve your health. She may be contacted via  cb@ceba.dk   www.charlottebech.dk

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