Anemia which means "lacking in blood", is among the most common diseases affecting humans. It denotes a shortage of rich red blood cells and coloring matter and usually results from consumption of refined foods.

The blood flowing in our veins and arteries is living tissue. Nearly half of it consists of red blood cells which carry oxygen to the tissues. Approximately one trillion new blood cells are formed in the bone marrow daily. The raw materials required in the production of these cells are iron, proteins, and vitamins, especially folic acid and B12.

The red coloring matter, called hemoglobin is a protein which is composed of an organic iron-compound called "heme". The globin is a sulfur bearing protein which makes up 96% of the molecule. The formation of hemoglobin thus depends on adequate dietary supplies of iron and protein. Red cells have a lifespan of approximately 120 days and are destroyed and replaced daily. Each person should have 100% hemoglobin or about 15 grams to 100 cc of blood, and a blood count of five million red cells per millimeter. A drop in the hemoglobin content results in anemia and a consequent decreased ability of the blood to carry oxygen to the tissues.

A haggard look, with lines of strain, premature wrinkles, grayish skin, and dull and tired looking eyes are the main symptoms of anemia. Other symptoms include poor memory, weakness, dizziness, fatigue, lack of energy, shortness of breath on exertion; slow healing of wounds, headaches, mental depression, pale fingers, lips and ear lobes. The patient usually complaints of weakness, easy fatigue, lack of energy and dizziness.

There are two principal causes of anemia. It can result from reduced or low formation of red blood cells either due to defects in the bone marrow or an inadequate intake of iron vitamins, and protein. Heavy loss of blood due to injury, bleeding piles and heavy menstruation may also cause anemia. A lack of digestive acid of hydrochloric acid needed for digestion of iron and proteins may also result in anemia. Emotional strain, anxiety and worry usually interfere with the manufacture of hydrochloric acid in the body. Anemia can also be caused by a variety of drugs which destroy vitamin E or by others which inactivate the nutrients needed for building blood cells. Chronic diseases such as tuberculosis, when accompanied by hemorrhage, may also result in anemia.

Other causes can be intestinal parasites or worms. Hookworm, pinworms, roundworms and tapeworms feed on the blood supply as well as on the vitamins. Twenty-five hookworms can consume fifteen grams of blood every 24 hours; a tapeworm can cause an acute shortage of vitamin B12. Symptoms of intestinal worms are itching at the rectum, restlessness at night with bad dreams, diarrhea, foul breath, dark circles under the eyes and a constant desire for food. Garlic can help get rid of some types of intestinal parasites. Fresh papaya and grated raw carrot are also effective. After successful treatment for intestinal worms, perfect cleanliness should be observed to prevent recurrence.