Managing Iron Deficiency with Ayurveda

Managing Iron Deficiency with Ayurveda

by Kottakkal Support December 21, 2023


When a person has iron deficiency, it means their blood has low or poor quality hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the main protein in red blood cells, and it transports oxygen to all cells in the body. When iron is deficient there is less oxygen circulating in the blood and therefore less oxygen reaching the cells. This condition causes symptoms of depletion like fatigue and weakness. Iron deficiency is a common disorder that affects approximately 5.6% of the US population with 1.5% having moderate to severe deficiency (1).

Ayurveda recognizes iron deficiency as a condition called pandu which is a Sanskrit word that means pale white or yellow skin. According to Ayurveda, iron deficiency affects the rasa (lymph) and rakta (blood) dhatus (tissues) which directly affects the color of skin. The texture of skin is maintained by mamsa dhatu (muscle tissue) and suppleness of skin is maintained by meda dhatu (fat tissue). Together these four dhatus or tissues are important for maintaining the healthy appearance of skin.

Pandu is a disorder caused by an aggravated pitta dosha. Due to the aggravation of pitta’s hot and sharp qualities, digestion is impaired. The sequential digestion and nourishment of rasa, rakta, mamsa and meda dhatus produces poor quality tissues. The first step in Ayurveda to correct iron deficiency is to improve digestion and balance pitta dosha. 

General Symptoms of Pandu

  • Heavy and weak muscles
  • Pale white or yellow complexion
  • Physical weakness and fatigue
  • Body dryness and lack of sweating
  • Low vitality and immunity
  • Impaired or dull senses

Symptoms of Pandu by Dosha

  1. Vata related pandu is caused by indulging in a vata increasing diet and lifestyle that aggravates vata dosha. The symptoms include a grey or drawn complexion, dry skin, generalized fatigue, body ache, pricking pain, cramping muscles on the sides of the chest, thighs or calves, headache, tinnitus, tremor, dry stool, and loss of body hair. There will be a distaste in the mouth along with bloating and gas distention of the abdomen.
  2. Pitta related pandu is caused by indulging in a pitta aggravating diet and lifestyle that aggravates pitta dosha. The symptoms include a yellowish complexion, fever, burning sensation, excessive thirst and sweating, fainting, loss of body hair and luster, and longing for cooling things. The person does not have a strong appetite and has no desire for spicy or sour foods because they are prone to sour acid reflux with a burning sensation. This is caused by weak digestive fire and the stools also becomes yellow and loose.
  3. Kapha related pandu is caused by indulging in a kapha increasing diet and lifestyle that aggravates kapha dosha. The symptoms include a feeling of heaviness, exhaustion, nausea, pale white complexion, excess saliva, edema or fluid retention, fainting, dizziness, mental fatigue, shortness of breath, coughing, obstructed speech and voice, whitish eyes with fluid retention around the socket of the eyes. The person will have an aversion to food but desires spicy, moist warm foods and will have a sweet taste in the mouth.

Ayurvedic Protocol for Pandu

Ayurvedic therapy for Pandu should begin with panchakarma to balance the aggravated pitta dosha. The administration of snehana with bitter ghee followed by shodhana or cleansing. For snehana oleation the person should be given Mahatikta Ghritam or Kalyanaka Ghritam. After shodhana there are various Ayurvedic products recommended along with honey, ghee and loha (iron). Iron rich products include Lohasinduram (7) Capsules or Loha Asavam.

Ayurvedic Diet for Pandu

Each person’s appropriate Ayurvedic diet will be according to their level of dosha aggravation. Also, it is important to include iron rich foods like raisins, beets, molasses, cooked spinach and kale, soybeans, kidney beans, and lentils. Foods that increase strength and energy should also be included like wheat, almonds, pumpkin seeds, cow milk, ghee, tofu, apples, grapes, pomegranate, dates, and honey.

Foods and Activities that Aggravate Pitta Dosha

Avoid foods that are sour, salty, spicy, fermented foods like yogurt, curd, pickles, and alcohol as they aggravate pitta dosha. Activities that aggravate pitta dosha include exposure to the hot sun, over exercising, and unresolved anger or jealousy. All of these will further aggravate pitta dosha.

Ayurvedic Products for Pandu

Loha Asavam contains loha which is a Sanskrit word for iron and helps to balance kapha dosha. It also supports healthy weight and skin, and eases swelling and inflammation.  

Ayaskriti contains ayas which is another Sanskrit word for iron and helps to balance kapha dosha. It also supports healthy blood, blood sugar balance, skin complexion and weight loss by removing ama and meda.

Punarnava Manduram balances both kapha and pitta dosha, the main herb is punarnava and also contains iron. It supports healthy blood, removes ama from the liver and spleen, improves digestion and bowel movements, and reduces swelling and inflammation.

Annabhedisinduram Capsules balances both vata and pitta dosha, the main ingredient is iron which supports healthy blood and low iron. It can also help balance an irregular menstrual cycle and boost physical strength.

Lohasinduram (7) Capsules contains loha which is a Sanskrit word for iron. It helps to balance vata and pitta dosha, supports healthy blood, and is cooling and strengthening to the body.


    Kottakkal is committed to offering the highest quality Ayurvedic Healthcare. We offer two ways to have an Ayurvedic consultation. 1. Free 15-minute Consultation with our Ayurvedic practitioner, Julie Wardwell, for when you need a product recommendation for a basic health problem. 2. In-depth Consultation with our Ayurvedic doctor, Vaidya Vishwanath Guddadar for when your condition is chronic with multiple symptoms.


    1. Le CH. The Prevalence of Anemia and Moderate-Severe Anemia in the US Population (NHANES 2003-2012). PLoS One. 2016 Nov 15;11(11): e0166635. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0166635. PMID: 27846276; PMCID: PMC5112924.

    Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Kottakkal Ayurveda products and information are not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of any disease. If you have serious, acute, or chronic health problems, please consult a trained health professional. If you are seeking the advice of a trained Ayurvedic professional, call (800) 215-9934 or email us at We will provide you with information to consult with Ayurvedic professionals. Always check with your doctor before taking herbs when pregnant or nursing.


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