A Perspective on Anemia

Posted to Subscribers on 4 October 2011


Dear Subscribers,

After hitting the mother lode of all proof reading oversights, I decided to take a little time to let my space catch up with my source! The illustrated and corrected version of the last post is here:


Each of us lives daily with the risk of becoming so overwhelmed by "life" that we forget the purpose of life. I know I dodge that web constantly but I am going to take a magnifying glass into my space and share a perspective few of you have.

As about 250 products were transferred to Centre 29, I had a moment of emptiness in which to examine my space. Obviously, reorganization would follow emptiness so I had to think of what is the most logical and aesthetic way to organize and this precipitated a journey through my many years of herbalism.

When I pick up a bottle, I have to think about what is inside, not just the label. My "system" has varied over the years. In my clinic days, I had ceiling to floor or floor to ceiling shelves the full length of the wall and the herbs were organized by chakras, but I was the only one who instinctively knew on which self each bottle could be found and sometimes an employee would have fun changing things around. I have occasionally had a little help here and then I can't find black walnut because I put the inventory with other parasite remedies and my helper alphabetized everything. Ho, hum, you say, but there is so much more to herbs than labels.

I have just reorganized all the herbs from Banyan Botanicals and Vadik Herbs. There are around 200 products here for those two lines alone and another hundred or so others that I am still organizing. Once the shelves were organized, I tackled the web site and its navigation. Then, very late last night, my friend in Sri Lanka came onto skype and she took a look and we began to discuss some case histories and what is missing in my product line and I just want to share parts of the discussion because there was a touchy-feely quality to it.

My friend recently graduated and became an Ayurvedic doctor. She is now on her internship program and I find the program fascinating, maybe not on a day-to-day basis but as a comparison to other programs in other countries. The internship is divided into four tours and they can be in any sequence, but they must include work in a modern urban hospital, a rural Ayurvedic hospital, a research institute, and a stint with a practitioner of indigenous medicine. She is now at the rural hospital and we were talking last night about anemia, which is often associated with rheumatoid arthritis.

I said we always have to consider the cause of anemia. Of course, nutritional deficiencies can be a factor, but in darkfield microscopy, we see why a person might have symptoms of anemia. For instance, there are parasites that virtually suction up erythrocytes. Blood parasites come in countless varieties so let me describe some of their eating habits. There are very picky ones that are only interested in specific menus. They may squeeze a red blood cell so that the hemoglobin spatters into the plasma but they only eat the membrane. Sometimes one sees little "blobs" of orangish-red speckles in the sample and if you keep looking, you may find one of these parasites with crunching jaws. For the record, the hemoglobin belongs inside the cell and can be quite irritating when circulating in the plasma.

Then, there are parasites that allow this red blood cell and that one to pass by but they suddenly eat one crenated cell. These parasites have learned to coexist with the host — that's a euphemism for you and me — and they are less dangerous but they are still raiding the smörgåsbord. In textbooks, this might be called commensural but I doubt it is ideal. Then, there are vacuum cleaners that eat 25-30 cells at a gulp. They can contribute to massive anemia, but there is a worse and much more dangerous type that encircles its prey and sprays something on them that decomposes them before digestion. People with this type of parasite are really sick and have lots of neurological complaints. I suspect the chemistry of the plasma is very toxic to nerve sheaths. It might even erode the myelin.

This is just one problem but where our skype discussion went was towards famous herbs and I mentioned that many excellent vermicides are also blood builders. Among the Ayurvedic ones, manjistha came to mind because it is a beautiful reddish color, excellent blood purifier and builder, and parasiticide. Now, to take this story up a notch, the way I studied herbal medicine was probably a bit irregular but "why" has always been the operative word in my life. If you read about an herb and its traditional uses, you will find new ways to connect dots. Sticking with manjistha for a moment, we see that there is a connection between the blood and skin. Ayurveda is pretty firm on this topic: if you clean the blood, discolorations of the skin vanish and the skin recovers luster. That is the actual word used in most texts. The closest we might come in our culture to a concept like this is "liver spots" because while many people do not really believe there is a relationship between the liver and the spots, the reality is that a relationship does exist. Because, among its many functions, the liver is a filter for blood, any herbal alterative (blood purifier) is also a liver cleanser and skin rejuvenator.

Color is always a matter of taste, but I think manjistha has the most beautiful color of all my bulk herbs. That's saying a lot because turmeric can be mighty beautiful and well . . .

Okay manjistha, Indian Madder, is not just a blood purifier and vermifuge but it has some anti-cancer properties as well so what does this suggest? I am not on Hulda Clark's "All" train because "all" is a very big word, but I have no doubt but that some cancers as well as a lot of joint pain and neurological complaints might be due to parasites, blood and/or intestinal.

However, let's go back to the anemia issue and take a look at a few other possible causes. One might be fungi. Fungi do not have stomachs which is why they are not considered members of the animal kingdom, however they vegetate which means they eat. When you eat, you chew food and mix it with saliva and then swallow. The food descends into a fiery cauldron with churning acids where it is further liquefied and processed before descending further. Fungi also need to liquefy their meals so they have acids inside the hyphal structures but also a mist that they spray (which you can sometimes see in darkfield microscopy) and this mist is a not just a mycotoxin but a formidable hemolysin and therefore a serious cause of anemia.

If someone's anemia were fungal in origin, one would obviously use completely different strategies than if parasitic but how would you know if you can't have a peek at your blood? You can deduce this rather easily according to several factors. If you spend a lot of time outdoors, especially in the tropics, odds greatly favor exposure to insect bites and therefore parasites, but the parasites can enter through the food chain as well. If your food has not been carefully cleaned and cooked, if you eat a lot of leftovers, and if your transit time from mouth to the other end exceeds 24 hours, odds favor fungi as a cause of anemia. You can be nearly 100% certain of a fungal problem if you have taken antibiotics or inadvertently ingested them when consuming animal products.

However, there are other possible causes of anemia. As you know, radiation is precipitating a virtual epidemic of hemorrhagic conditions in Japan and elsewhere downwind of Fukushima. I had my own rendezvous with this in April and was very, very weak until I figured out what the problem was.

Toxic chemicals, including fumes, can also contribute to anemia and it's possible this list is not complete, but if I shelve my herbs according to conditions such as anemia, I will be moving bottles around all day long and I am not that obsessive. Well, people might think so, but honestly, I'm not. You can however appreciate that when someone asks what to take for anemia, the answer is, "I won't know until we figure out the underlying cause."

Now, I am going to explain the new navigation on AyurvedicBazaar.com. Visually, the changes are modest and the vertical navigation on the left is very similar to what it was except that I added a section with links to products by brand. When orders come in, I really do look at them and I see "conditions" as well as some preferences so these links are for you:


There are 14 pages with the hundred or so products from Banyan Botanicals. Vadik Herbs got cheated. There are only 13 pages to its products. These indices contain their quality control statements.


I have been working with both of these companies for many, many years. Banyan has its roots in New Mexico where both my main Ayurvedic teacher and Dr. Vasant Lad were teaching. That was 30 years ago. The company was started with students of Dr. Lad and has grown into a very strong force in the world of Ayurveda. It is owned and operated by Americans who visit India often and who now grow some Ayurvedic herbs in the U.S. They started with tablets and still provide most of their formulas in tablets but they also have an increasingly comprehensive line of bulk herbs and oils. They have put a lot of attention on organic certification and are 99% complete with that process.

My relationship with Vadik Herbs goes back even further because I used to get Indian herbs and groceries from the father of man who runs the company now. There are literally millions of Indians living in the U.S. now and they want food and herbs that are familiar. This company caters both to Indians living and working abroad as well as Westerners who have embraced some of the Indian wisdom and life style. Though many of their herbs are certified organic, some are ethically wildcrafted.

For me, it is very interesting to compare products and I am in a better position than you to explore packaging and appearances and potency. Speaking for myself and completely out of school, I don't place too much stock in the word "organic". To be sure, when it comes to something like milk or ghee, I really want to see that word because it implies that no growth hormones were used to increase production. The word also means something when looking at items that might be genetically modified such as soy or corn, but when it comes to boswellia or amla, I actually prefer wildcrafted to organic because it implies less human modification of the plant kingdom and I feel that our return to Nature ought to involve less cultivation and more observation.

For some of you, this might come as a shock but I am being honest about my own preferences even though I know this tends to tilt sales. I work very, very hard to put out enough information for you to make wise choices because ultimately you are going to save a lot of money as well as be healthier when you connect more dots, but I want to continue this story by saying that over the years, I have also tried to introduce other brands of Ayurvedic products and most of these efforts have failed. There is one however that I recently introduced that I really hope will not fail and this is Organic India. I really love their tulsi tea. It is grown organically on large farms near Benares and it really has an elevating energy. There is also my own product line which I will discuss in another post, but I have quite a lot of Ayurvedic herbs in extract form as well as some essential oils. The herbs used in the extracts are sent by air when fresh so they are processed in the U.S. while still in their prime. Though alcohol extracts are not traditional, recent research in India suggests that the efficacy of extracts is very high.

So, that's my post for today!

Many blessings,




Dosha Balance





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