Hemolysis is the premature destruction of red blood cells (erythrocytes) and it leads to hemolytic anemia, when bone marrow activity cannot compensate for the erythrocyte loss. This condition can be caused by a large number of hereditary and acquired disorders, which number more than 200. Symptoms include anemia, breathlessness, leg ulcers and in severe cases, angina and heart failure. Treatment consists of blood transfusions for severe acute anemia, and avoiding known causes. This includes drugs, chemicals and known offending food products. Folic acid, steroids, immunoglobin, and iron therapy are commonly used, while surgical splenectomy is required rarely.
Ayurvedic treatment is aimed at treating the cause of hemolysis, reducing the anemia and treating the associated symptoms. Medicines like Punarnavadi Mandur, Tapyadi Loh, Arogya Vardhini and Lohasav are used to increase the red blood cell count. Medicines which act on the “Rakta” and “Majja” dhatus (tissues) of the body are used for this condition. These medicines include Manjishtha (Rubia cordifolia), Patol (Tricosanthe dioica), Saariva (Hemidesmus indicus), Patha (Cissampelos pareira), Musta (Cyperus rotundus), Kutki (Picrorrhiza kurroa), Guduchi (Tinosporia cordifolia) and Amalaki (Emblica officinalis).
In addition, medicines which act on the bone marrow are given in an attempt to improve the production of healthy red blood cells and also to reduce the tendency for hemolysis. These medicines include Guduchi, Amalaki, Musta, Laxadi Guggulu, Suvarna-Malini-Vasant, Heerak Bhasma and Panch -Tikta -Ghrut -Guggulu.
Additional treatment needs to be given for associated symptoms. Triphala Guggulu and Mandukparni (Centella asiatica) are used for leg ulcers. Arjuna (Terminalia arjuna) and Laxmi Vilas Ras are used for angina and heart disease.
The overall results of treatment in this condition depend upon the cause of hemolysis. However, in most of the conditions related to hemolytic anemia, the outcome is usually quite good. Acute or emergency cases need to be treated by a Hematologist.