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Treating side effects of haemochromatosis


I wondered if anyone has treated a patient with haemochromatosis? Their iron overload is being successfully treated by phlebotomy, however the patient suffers from some of the side effects of too much iron in the body, namely depression, fatigue insomnia. Haemochromotosis affects many of the body's organs and glands - mainly liver, gallbladder, heart. adrenal, thyroid, pituitary. I would be interested in any advice on how to best treat a patient with this diagnosis and these side effects.

Many thanks



Hi Mary,

I have had experience of treating women who have been given iron supplementation and who have then had really bad reactions to it, similar to the symptoms you described. Just for the fun of it, let&#39s say I have had experience in iatrogenic haematochromatosis.

At the time, I asked my teachers the same kind of questions you did. Their reply was very useful. The following is taken from the notes I took as I spoke to my prof on the &#39phone:

1) Don&#39t get bogged down in the medical definition of what is happening in the patient. Unless you are trained as a Western doctor, you should not try to grapple with this problem with tools, language and definitions in which you are not trained. Instead:

2) Look at the signs and symptons as they appear, and analyse them according to way you know.

3) Keep it simple. Very often in these cases, the complex signs are little pieces of the same puzzle.

Once I had taken this on board, I found that many of the signs and symptoms pointed to variations on a theme of Blood deficiency, such as:

1) Blood deficiency with Qi deficiency;

2) Blood and Qi deficiency complicated with dampness;

3) Blood and Qi deficiency complicated with phlegm.

In one case in which the iron was given after a pregnancy, there were clear signs of Kidney deficiency or even Jing deficiency.

When looking at the tongue I found it useful to look at the organs related to Blood production, for example, if the tip was peeled or had red spots, I knew the Heart needed attention. If the sides were red, peeled or whatever, I knew I had to do things for the Liver.

I found that excess iron seemed to damage the quality of Blood, and also, that Coldness seemed to be present, either because there is something cold about having too much metal in the system, or because the quality and quantity of Blood is diminished so that circulation is less warming, However, I found that moxa was really useful. I used it a lot. I used those Korean Tae Yang adhesive moxa cones on lots of the points I used after needling, like Sp 6, Sp 10, etc. Needle with moxa on Ren 4 was very useful. Also, using LI 10 and St 36 with moxa, and in those who were game, direct moxa, was also very good for energy levels, mood and body aches.

It also took time for improvements to stabilize, a good few months.

This has been my experience.


Hi Simon,

Thank you very much for taking the time to reply to my post. Sound advice from your Professor! I have been concentrating on using acupoints that nourish the Blood and the patient has shown some improvement. I appreciate that the side effects of treatment for this chronic, congenital illness will take some time to treat and hopefully my patient will perservere.

Thank you again for the advice.


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