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  • Writer's pictureJackie Koenig, L.Ac.

So Your Acupuncturist Says You Have a Blood Deficiency....

Let's explore what that means and how you can build and nourish blood with food and activity!

a full moon moving across the sky getting increasingly red

What IS a blood deficiency anyway?

The simplest way to translate a Traditional Chinese Medicine blood deficiency into Western Medical terms is to think of anemia symptoms. You may experience symptoms like:

  • Pale face, lips, tongue, or nails

  • Dizziness upon standing or even when at rest

  • Dry skin, dry hair, thinning hair

  • Vision complaints like blurry vision, floaters, poor night vision, dislikes driving at night

  • General fatigue, especially during or after your menstrual cycle

  • Scanty or very light periods

  • Easy bruising

  • Anxiety, panic attacks

  • Migraines or headaches, often felt behind the eyes or with an "empty" feeling

  • Fainting episodes or feeling the room go black as if about to faint

  • Poor memory, poor concentration, poor and restless sleep

  • A lack of vitality, feeling dull about life, undernourished in mind and spirit

Even if your blood work shows your iron, hemoglobin, etc are all within normal range but you are still experiencing symptoms like these, you can still be blood deficient!

It is possible to experience these "pre-anemic" signs when blood counts are normal (or on the lower end of normal) before they would trigger concern from your Western doctor. This doesn't mean we can't improve the blood deficiency and help you feel better!


How can I improve a blood deficiency?

  • Eat more blood building foods (see below!)

  • Eat 3 meals a day on a regular schedule and never skip meals (read more on this post)

  • Improve sleep and emotional grounding through meditation, therapy, light exercise

  • REST- we often create a blood deficiency by overexerting our minds and bodies

What foods can help build blood?

Dietary changes can be the best way to start building blood to help alleviate these symptoms.

In general, foods that are "blood colored" or have deep, dark colors help build blood, like:

  • Dark colored berries like blackberries, mulberries, cherries, grapes, dates, figs

  • Dark green leafy vegetables, especially spinach

  • Seaweed and algae, especially chlorella

  • Black beans, dark red beans, black sesame seed

  • Beets

  • Pomegranates

  • Molasses, Coconut milk

  • All red meat especially bone marrow, liver, bone broth

  • Eggs!

Additional vegetables: Alfalfa sprout, artichoke, button and shiitake mushroom, carrot, cabbage, celery, dandelion leaf, kelp, watercress, wheatgrass

Additional fruit: Apple, apricot, avocado, longan

Grains: Barley, corn, oat, rice, wheat, bran

Fish: Mussels, octopus, oyster, sardine, tuna


What other supplements and recommendations can help improve a blood deficiency?

  • A wonderful blood building herb, Moringa, has a ton of iron (and vitamin c which helps with absorption! Nature is amazing!) I love this particular one from Organic India.

  • The liquid, vegetarian-based iron supplementation product called "Floradix" (often in stock at Whole Foods) can quickly build blood. The bottle should be refrigerated and used within a few weeks as it does not contain preservatives.

  • Acupuncture can support blood building by aiding in digestive support, nervous system regulation, and by improving sleep.

  • Many Chinese herbal formulas are excellent at building blood. Some of them include Xiao Yao San, Gui Pi Tang, Si Wu Tang, and Jia Wei Gui Shao Di Huang Wan. Make an appointment with a licensed Chinese Herbalist in order to find out which formula might work best for you!

When can I expect to feel better?

Building blood takes time and it may take several weeks to feel a drastic difference. It is important to be consistent with your dietary changes and to add more time to rest in your daily routine. Results may come faster when paired with herbal formulas and acupuncture.


If you're in the New Orleans area, book a treatment at Hidden Root Acupuncture for more personalized recommendations from your acupuncturist along your blood building journey!




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