Spleen problems range from mild to severe and life-threatening. One of the most common spleen-related problems is splenomegaly, or an enlarged spleen. According to MerckManuals.com, an enlarged spleen is indicative of an underlying health problem, such as infection, anemia or cancer. If you are considering using herbs to help treat your spleen problems, first review the risks, benefits and limitations associated with herbs with your family doctor.
An enlarged spleen -- the most common spleen-related problem -- may be caused by numerous factors, states MayoClinic.com, including mononucleosis, bacterial infections, malaria, liver cirrhosis, destruction of red blood cells or hemolytic anemia, blood cancers, pressure on your spleen veins and certain metabolic disorders. In some cases, people with an enlarged spleen may experience no or few symptoms, although other people with this condition may experience abdominal pain or fullness, fatigue and anemia.
Several herbal remedies have historically been used in treating spleen problems, especially spleen enlargement. Dr. William A. Mitchell Jr., a naturopathic doctor and author of "Plant Medicine in Practice," reports that some of the most helpful herbs for this health purpose include dandelion, New Jersey tea, barberry and iris. Other helpful herbs for your spleen problems may include white oak acorn kernels and yellow leaf cup. Further scientific testing may be necessary to determine these herbs' true efficacy.
Iris, also known as blue flag, is an herbal remedy that may be helpful in treating your spleen problems. In her book "Herbal Medicine From the Heart of the Earth," naturopathic physician Sharol Tilgner reports that the rhizome, or underground stem, of the plant contains numerous medicinal ingredients -- including triterpenoids -- that may be helpful in treating your spleen ailments. This herb, which possesses an acrid taste, may be particularly helpful in treating spleen and lymphatic congestion.
If you are diagnosed with a spleen problem, meet with your family physician to discuss the most helpful and effective treatment strategies. Herbs, though largely safe and effective, may best be used as an adjunct treatment measure in addressing your spleen problem. Always review proper dosage, herb-related procedures, potential side effects and possible drug interactions with your doctor before using herbal remedies to help support your spleen health and function.
- Merck Manuals: Enlarged Spleen
- "Plant Medicine in Practice"; William A. Mitchell Jr., N.D.; 2003
- "Herbal Medicine From the Heart of the Earth"; Sharol Tilgner, N.D.; 1999
Martin Hughes is a chiropractic physician, health writer and the co-owner of a website devoted to natural footgear. He writes about health, fitness, diet and lifestyle. Hughes earned his Bachelor of Science in kinesiology at the University of Waterloo and his doctoral degree from Western States Chiropractic College in Portland, Ore.