Sharing is caring!

Best Herbs for Anemia: Natural Remedies to Boost & Support

This post will discuss the best herbs for anemia, define anemia, types of anemia, symptoms, supplements, and natural remedies to boost and support your body. I have recipes below for using the best herbs for anemia and a little bonus recipe for fun!

While I am a registered nurse (RN, BSN), I am not a medical doctor. Please take this education and speak with your healthcare provider before taking these herbs. 

healthy iron rich foods and Fe sign

This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission at no extra cost to you. You can view our privacy policy here. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. 

What is anemia?

Anemia is a medical condition in which the human body lacks enough healthy red blood cells (RBCs), or hemoglobin, to carry oxygen throughout your body to oxygenate properly. Hemoglobin is a protein found in red cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to all other parts of the body. 

Anemia can come on suddenly or over time, and may be caused by your diet, medicines you take, or another medical condition. It can also be chronic, meaning it has lasted a long time and may never go away completely. Some types of anemia are inherited. 

Anemia is the most common blood condition in the United States. It affects almost 6% of the population. Women, young children, and people with chronic diseases are more likely to be diagnosed with anemia.

A simple blood test can diagnose anemia. In men, anemia is when the hemoglobin level is below 12.5 grams/100ml, and in women is a hemoglobin less than 12 grams/100ml. Some labs may have slightly different parameters but should be relatively close. If your lab says that you are within normal limits (WNL) but you are symptomatic, speak with your healthcare professional about your condition. 

pinterest pin for herbs for anemia

Types and causes of anemia

There are many different types of anemia. Each has its own specific cause. Anemia can be short-term (acute) or long-term (chronic). It can range from mild to severe. Anemia can be a warning sign of serious illness.

Some possible types of anemia are:

  • Aplastic anemia
  • Iron deficiency anemia (most common)
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Thalassemia
  • Vitamin deficiency anemia
  • Pregnancy induced anemia
red blood cells in a vessel

Aplastic anemia

Aplastic anemia is a medical condition that occurs when your body stops producing enough new red blood cells (RBCs). The condition leaves you fatigued and more prone to infections and uncontrolled bleeding. This can become life-threatening if left untreated. 

Iron deficiency anemia

Iron deficiency anemia is the most common type of anemia. It’s a condition where blood lacks adequate healthy red blood cells (RBCs). This is due to a lack of iron. Without enough iron, your body can’t produce enough hemoglobin which enables them to carry oxygen throughout your body. As a result, iron deficiency anemia may leave you tired and short of breath.

Sickle cell anemia

Sickle cell anemia is an inherited disorder known as sickle cell disease. It affects the shape of red blood cells. RBCs are usually round and flexible, so they can move easily throughout the bloodstream. In sickle cell anemia, some RBCs are shaped like sickles or crescent moons. These sickle cells also become rigid and sticky, which can slow or block blood flow. This is generally a painful disease when you have flare-ups. Sometimes it can require hospitalization and pain management. 


Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder that causes your body to have less hemoglobin than normal. This can leave you feeling fatigued. 

Vitamin deficiency anemia

Vitamin deficiency anemia is a lack of healthy RBCs caused by lower-than-normal amounts of vitamin B-12 and folate. This can happen if you don’t eat enough foods containing vitamin B-12 and folate, or if your body has trouble absorbing or processing these vitamins. Without these vitamins, the body produces RBCs that are too large and won’t work properly. This drastically reduces their ability to carry oxygen throughout the body. Some symptoms can include fatigue, shortness of breath, and dizziness. 

Pregnancy-related anemia

Pregnancy-related anemia has several types of anemia that can develop during pregnancy. These include:

  • Iron-deficiency anemia
  • Folic acid deficient anemia
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency (not common)

Anemia can leave a pregnant and postpartum woman feeling fatigued, and weak, nausea and appetite loss, shortness of breath, and heart palpitations. If it is severe and goes untreated, it can increase your risk of serious complications like preterm delivery.

Symptoms of anemia

The type of anemia you have will better predict the possible symptoms you may experience. 

Possible symptoms of anemia include:

  • Fatigue.
  • Generalized weakness.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Pale or yellowish skin.
  • Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia).
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness (vertigo).
  • Chest pain (angina).
  • Cold hands and feet.
  • Headaches.
  • Poor appetite. 
woman against white wall

Why is anemia a concern?

Low oxygen levels are a main cause of concern with anemia. When your hemoglobin levels are lower than they should be, your body is not being oxygenated properly. 

The cause of the anemia is the ultimate concern, however, and should always be investigated further with labs and other diagnostic tests as needed. 

The best herbs for anemia

Using medicinal herbs to help treat your anemia is one of the various ways to do so naturally. If you know the cause of your anemia and want to help your body recover using natural home remedies with herbs, these are the best herbs for anemia that I have tried myself. 

  • Nettle leaf
  • Yellow Dock root
  • Dandelion root

Check out my resource page for best places to buy herbs and equipment.


Nettle (Urtica dioica) leaf is a very versatile and amazing herb. I keep a very large amount of this herb on hand for many different uses in my home. One of which is during pregnancy I need extra boosts of iron or I become symptomatic of being anemic. 

Nettle is a very nourishing herbal food that is rich in iron, calcium, magnesium, protein, and other nutrients. This herb can you build healthy blood, bones, joints, and skin. It not only helps with anemia but also low blood pressure (hypotension), and general weakness. I know of several women who have stated that drinking nettle-leaf tea is the same as a caffeinated beverage. Their energy levels rise with nettle. 

stinging nettle plant herb

The only warning with nettle is when harvesting it make sure to wear gloves or you will get stung from it. It is called Stinging Nettle after all.  

stinging nettle plant herb

Nettle Tea

Nettle Tea is a great herbal remedy for many different ailments. It is a very safe herb and can be taken while pregnant and breastfeeding.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Course Herbal Tea


  • 1 Saucepan


  • 1 cup Nettle leaf about 1 large handful or can make a weaker version with adding only 3-4 tablespoons.
  • 1 quart Water


  • Add water and desired amount of herbs to saucepan.
  • Bring to a simmer over low heat for approximately 2 hours*. Can simmer longer if desired.
  • Strain herbs and drink as a tea.
  • Can add sweetener of choice if desired.


Drink 1-4 cups of this infusion daily depending upon your specific needs.
*To make a milder version only use about 3-4 tablespoons of nettle per quart of water and only simmer on the stove for about 30 minutes.
Keyword herbs

Yellow dock

Yellow dock (Rumex crispus) root is high in iron compounds and seems to free iron stored in the liver. It is recommended to combine yellow dock root with alfalfa (see chlorophyll below). Yellow dock should be avoided during pregnancy and while breastfeeding because of its potential detoxifying properties. 

Take yellow dock root as a standard decoction of 2-4 oz twice a day, tincture 10 drops – 2ml three times a day, or capsule 100mg three times a day (the looser the stool, the lower the dose).

yellow dock root herb


Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) have high levels of iron in their leafy greens and can be eaten in a salad form. Dandelion leaves have even more iron than spinach. Next time you want to make a salad, consider this wonderful herb that most would consider a pesky weed. 

dandelion herb

When using dandelion root with nettle, you will have a potassium-sparing diuretic as well. There are no warnings about dandelion leaves or roots. 

When you roast dandelion roots it will smell like coffee but be bitter. You will need to add a sweetener. This is a great way to cut back on caffeine, which will help you to absorb iron as well. 

dandelion herb root and leaf and flower

Roasted Dandelion and Chicory Tea

This is a great tea blend to help you cut back on caffeine but with the coffee taste. It is a bitter, dark and rich flavor just like coffee.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cooling Time 2 hours
Course Herbal Tea


  • 1 Baking sheet
  • 1 Electric coffee grinder or blender
  • 1 Small saucepan
  • 1 Strainer


  • Dandelion root
  • Chicory root
  • 1 quart Water


Preparing the herb roots

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Slice or chop equal portions of dandelion and chicory root.
  • Spread out evenly over the baking sheet.
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the roots are a dark brown.
  • Once cooled, grind in a coffee grinder or blender.

Making the decoction/tea

  • Place 4-6 T of herbs into a small saucepan.
  • Add 1 quart of water.
  • With the heat on low, bring to a simmer, cover, and continue to simmer for approximately 25-45 minutes.
  • Strain and drink 1/2-1 cup two or three times a day, or as desired.


Try adding some cream or half and half and some honey to sweeten. 
You can add 1/4 to 1/2 part each of raw chicory and dandelion root for added medicinal benefits. 
The length of simmering time and the amount of herb you use will affect the strength of the tea.
For a stronger decoction, simmer the herbs for 20-30 minutes and then pour the mixture into a quart jar and set aside to infuse overnight.
If you want to simmer this down to higher concentration, you will need to adjust the amount of herbs for a smaller dosage. 
Keyword herbs

Herbal remedies

Using nettle, make a very dark green and strong-tasting infusion. This is made by steeping a large handful of dried nettle in 1 quart of simmering water for 2 or more hours. You can make a milder version if you can’t stomach the stronger one. You would only use about 3-4 tablespoons of nettle per quart of water and only simmer on the stove for about 30 minutes. Drink 1-4 cups of this infusion daily depending upon your specific needs. This is a very safe and recommended way for women to maintain or increase their iron levels, while pregnant, postpartum, or during a heavy menstrual period. 

Supplements and dietary recommendations

The absorption of iron from iron-rich foods, herbal teas, and tinctures is optimal for increasing your iron levels. Iron supplements can be hard for the body to absorb. Eating enough iron-rich foods is the best way to intake your daily iron content. 

Specific foods I recommend everyone, especially pregnant women, to consume that are rich in iron are:

  • sunflower seeds
  • pumpkin seeds
  • raisins
  • prunes
  • black Mission figs
  • apricots
  • cherries
  • blackstrap molasses
  • beets
  • red beans
  • dark turkey meat
  • eggs
  • red meat (beef)
  • seaweeds, mainly kelp
  • leafy greens
health iron rich foods

Tips & tricks

If you do choose to take an iron supplement (make sure it’s a chelated one), or with your iron-rich foods/herbs, I recommend you take it with at least 250mg of vitamin C. Try not to consume dairy products for at least 30 minutes before or after the iron-rich foods or supplement. The dairy will inhibit iron absorption. 

Caffeine and phosphates in soda interfere with iron absorption. 

Try cooking in cast-iron skillets to increase the iron content in your food. I use my cast iron several times a day. This is an added benefit to my family because of it. 

Another supplement to try is liquid chlorophyll, which generally comes from the herb alfalfa. Take 1 tablespoon daily unless otherwise directed. 

Also using Floradix Iron + Herbs is a supplement made from iron and extracts of dried fruits and herbs. Many women have had good results from this when also increasing iron-rich foods in their diet and using herbal recommendations.

There are Chinese herbal medicines, but you should seek the assistance of someone well-trained in Chinese diagnosis and herbal prescriptions if you choose to go this route. 

Where to source the herbs

Check out my resources page for herb sourcing, books I recommend and more.

I highly recommend Mountain Rose Herbs for all herbal needs. I have been ordering from them for years. They have amazing products. 

Want more information on herbs?

Here is a previous post I did on The Best Medicinal Herbs to Always Have in Your Home. I have other herbal posts as well in the herbal section of this blog. 

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.