Postpartum anemia is a medical condition characterized by a significant decrease in red blood cell count following childbirth. This condition can result in a range of symptoms including fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, and pallor. The drop in hemoglobin levels typically occurs due to blood loss during delivery or a decrease in the production of red blood cells. It's a common postnatal issue, affecting a significant number of women after giving birth. Understanding and addressing postpartum anemia is crucial for the recovery and overall health of new mothers.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), postpartum anemia is seen through the lens of energy and Blood Deficiency. Childbirth is understood to be a major event that consumes Qi (vital energy) and Blood.
TCM views this condition as a deficiency primarily of Blood, but also potentially of Qi, particularly in the spleen and kidney systems. This perspective differs from Western medicine by focusing on the balance and flow of Qi and Blood in the body, rather than solely on hemoglobin levels and red blood cells.
TCM attributes postpartum anemia primarily to Blood Deficiency, which can be caused by excessive blood loss during childbirth or insufficient postnatal care. This Deficiency is often linked to the Spleen, which in TCM is responsible for producing Blood and Qi from the food we eat.
Another common cause is Kidney Essence Deficiency, where the body's fundamental vitality is weakened. This can be exacerbated by pre-existing conditions, poor diet, or overexertion during the postpartum period. The aim of treatment in TCM is to nourish and replenish the Blood and Qi, addressing the root cause of the anemia.
TCM recommends specific herbs to treat postpartum anemia, focusing on those that nourish Blood and Qi. One such herb is Japanese Catnip (Jing Jie), known for its ability to harmonize the body and release the Exterior. It is used in the context of Wind-Cold and Wind-Heat patterns, often in combination with other herbs that directly nourish Blood and support the Spleen and Kidney.
Additionally, herbs like Dang Gui (Angelica Sinensis) and Long Yan Rou (Longan Fruit) are commonly used in formulations to replenish blood and improve overall vitality. These herbs are selected based on individual symptoms and constitution to provide a tailored treatment that supports recovery and replenishes the body's essential energies post-childbirth.
Postpartum anemia can be treated by these herbs when there is a need to dispel external cold and warm the body, especially in cases where there is insufficient Yang energy internally.
One such herb is Japanese Catnip (Jing Jie), which is directly recommended for postpartum anemia.