By Danisha Bogue, L.Ac. - September 5, 2022
Categories: General

Let’s talk about blood. (I know what you’re thinking, “Finally! Something I’ve at least heard of”. That or, “I’m woozy” but I promise not to include pictures.)

From a Western perspective, blood is the name for the fluid that is produced in the bone marrow, and flows through our veins. It’s comprised of red and white blood cells, platelets, nutrients, proteins, electrolytes, and water. The main functions are to distribute hormones, carry oxygen and glucose, and support the immune system. 

From a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective, blood is considered a Vital Substance. It originates from food essence and from Jing (the essence of life that we are born with and is associated with growth and development). The purpose of blood is to provide nutrients to the organs, tissues, and meridians, maintain healthy body movement and sensation, and aid the mind and mental activities. 

Sounds important. What happens when it’s out of balance?

Look at you, paying attention to my blog posts! You’re right, it’s all about balance. Deficiency in blood can cause a pretty wide variety of symptoms (just consider how many things it plays a role in!). Some symptoms include:

  • Dizziness
  • Vertigo
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Limb weakness
  • Poor memory
  • Insomnia
  • Mental disorders
  • Psychiatric diseases
  • Pale lips, tongue and/or nail beds
  • Dry skin
  • Hair loss
  • Headache
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Easy bruising
  • Always feeling cold

I don’t like any of that. What causes Blood to become deficient?

Since blood comes from the food we eat, having poor dietary habits can be the cause of blood deficiency. There’s a variety of dietary choices that can contribute; not eating enough blood building foods (more on that later), eating too many cold or damp foods (these slow down blood production), eating while stressed, or eating too fast. 

Additionally, worry and anxiety can stress out your system and decrease the spleen’s ability to transform blood into food. Likewise, stress from excessive work (both physical or mental) can consume qi and blood (think energy), causing a deficiency. Strong emotions can also affect the production of blood by causing stagnation in the liver, which causes it to supply less energy to the spleen, which can’t produce as much blood. And (of course) any physical blood loss can cause a deficiency (like from heavy menstruation, childbirth, external or internal bleeding). 

So, what can I do to fix it?

Acupuncture (of course) is a good place to start. With acupuncture, I can make sure that your blood is flowing properly, and that all the contributing organs are functioning at their highest levels. Additionally, B12 is a fantastic option for treating blood deficiency, and you can get those in injection form in our office. 

Like I mentioned before, diet plays a pretty significant role in the formation of blood. Some foods that support blood formation include:

  • Beans
  • Beef
  • Beets
  • Brown Rice
  • Carrots
  • Chicken
  • Dark leafy greens
  • Oatmeal
  • Pumpkin
  • Quinoa
  • Seeds & Nuts
  • Sweet potatoes

Some foods that can contribute to blood deficiency and should be avoided or limited include:

  • Alcohol
  • Greasy, heavy, fatty foods
  • Dairy products
  • Highly processed foods
  • Refined carbohydrates (sugar, white flour, processed grains)
  • Cold food (like ice cream)
  • Tofu/soymilk

And finally, there are some herb combinations that are really powerful in treating blood deficiency. Like always, make sure you consult with a licensed practitioner before starting an herbal regiment to ensure that you’re getting the right herbs in the right amounts for you. Some herbs that help build strong blood include:

  • Chinese Angelica Root – This is great for supporting the blood, and regulating menstruation. It’s considered building, nourishing, and invigorating. But you shouldn’t take it if you have excessive bleeding or are on blood thinning medications.
  • Goji Berry – more than just a superfood fad! Goji berry supports overall stamina and blood production.

Awesome. But what if I want to prevent it in the first place?

Good plan. You can probably guess some of the prevention techniques based on the treatment, but here are a few ideas that would be great to integrate into your daily life:

  • Eat healthy, nourishing foods. The foods that are good for treating blood deficiency are also great for preventing it in the first place. A great place to start is making sure you get B12 and iron in your diet. 
  • Eat slowly and with gratitude. Like I mentioned before, eating too quickly is one of the causes of blood deficiency. Slowing down to focus on what you eat is also a great way to practice mindfulness, which leads into our next tip…
  • If you’re feeling stressed, try meditation, yoga, or another activity that helps you feel more calm. Even something as simple as taking a walk around the block can do wonders for your stress levels. 
  • Try not to eat when you’re super stressed. When you get excessively stressed, it can bind up your digestive system, causing issues with all sorts of systems, not just your blood. Try to calm down before you grab a meal.
  • Get some rest. Take frequent breaks when you’re working (physically or mentally) to allow your body to rest and regenerate some of the energy you’re expending so you don’t end up in an energy deficit. 
  • Have an outlet for strong emotions. Exercise, hobbies, or even screaming into pillows can help you to release your emotions so they don’t end up clogging up your Liver.

Blood deficiency is surprisingly common in this day and age. If any of these symptoms sound familiar, or if you’re just not feeling your best, give me a call! We can work out the best treatment for your particular problems.

Be well. 




This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or illness. Please consult your healthcare provider prior to the use of this product if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medications or have a medical condition. Individual results may vary.