Sickle cell disease is a genetic disorder, and occurs as a result of mutation in hemoglobin structure. This mutation occurs when couples with blood genotype As and As, As and SS, or SS and SS, mate and produce offspring of the blood hemoglobin SS (HbSS).
In a normal person, the red blood cell is disk, oval in shape. But in a sickle cell individual, the red blood cell is abnormally sickle-shaped. This sickle shaped red blood cell is rigid, unlike the flexible normal red blood cells, sticky and usually block blood flow. When blood flow is blocked it results into sickle cell crisis and pains.
Presently, there is no cure, yet, for sickle cell anemia. However, sickle cell diseases can be managed with some medications, and some good herbal remedies. In this article, we shall discuss extensively most of the herbal home remedies for sickle cell diseases.
Sickle cell occurs in three ways. At the first, the sickle cells are stalked at the junction of the tiny blood capillaries, thereby blocking the normal flow of blood. Thus causing pains and an inflammatory response commonly referred to as vaso-occulusion. In the second way, there ate frequent occurrence of sickle cell lysis without an equal replacement by new cells. This depletion of sickle cell without the younger ones replacing them leads to anemia and loss of vital organs.
In the third way, the red blood cells accumulate in the spleen and be causing disruption of its functions, especially among children.
How do you prevent sickle cell diseases?
Since you know that sickle cell anemia isn’t curable, how would you prevent it? The only preventive measure is to be aware of yours and your partner’s blood genotype. If you are As, or SS, do not by any means marry a As or SS partner. You would surely give birth to an SS kid or kids. And this is just not for you, but for your child, or children’s health.
What are the herbal remedies for sickle cell anemia?
There are some herbal remedies for managing sickle cell anemia, which have proven to be effective, and without any side as much side effects as orthodox medicines. Some drugs have been formulated from bioactive compounds extracted from some of the herbal remedies for sickle cell diseases.
Steculia setigera for sickle cell diseases
Steculia setigera is a deciduous herbal plant that is widely distributed across the sub Saharan African regions. In Nigeria, Steculia setigera is commonly found around the Northern regions. Aside its antisickling effects, this wonderful plant is also used to boost blood production, treat diarrhea, laxative, diuretic, and tranquillizer. The cold decoction of the stem bark is used for the treatment of bronchitis, wound, diarrhea, gingivitis sore and abscess.
Steculia setigera possess strong antisickling compounds such as flavonoids, tannins, and saponins, which are believed to exhibit antisickling effect through the capacity to build cations, thereby stabilizing erythrocyte membranes.
According to a study conducted by Baraka Abdullahi, of the department of biochemistry, Amadu Bello University, Zaria, the stem bark extract of Steculia setigera exhibited antisickling effect in different extracting solvents. According to his findings, the methanolic extract exhibited the highest sickle cell reversal while the aqueous extract showed the list antisickling effect.
This study has validated the traditional use of Steculia setigera, by traditional healers to treat symptoms of sickle cell anemia. The ability of the stem bark of S. Setigera to reverse sickle cell is of great benefit as a home remedy for managing sickle cell disease. The decoction can be made by infusing the stem bark on a 60% alcoholic aqueous solution.
Cow pea leaves and seeds reverses sickled red blood cells
Cow pea (Cajanus cajan) is a nutritional and medicinal leguminous plant. The seeds are eaten for its high protein content. However, besides nutritional benefits, Cow pea seeds as well as the leaves, and roots are also beneficial for the treatment of several health diseases such as cancer, diabetes, hepatic- and nephro-protective effects and as antimicrobial agent.
Our focus however is on the antisickling effects of cow pea leaves and seeds. They possess potential antisickling agents that may serve as novel drugs for suppressing hemoglobin polymerization, and reduce the osmotic fragility of human sickled red blood cells. The leaves and seeds of Cajanus cajan can also reduce the percentage of sickled cells.
The great news is that this effectiveness of Cow pea to ameliorate the sickling in human HbSS containing red blood cells can be comparable to the effectiveness of hydroxyurea.
Cowpea is rich in Phenylalanine. It is a well known antisickling agent, and may be, among others one of the reason Cajanus cajan is a good antisickling herb.
Paw paw leaves for sickle cell anemia
Paw paw (Carica papaya) leaves have been employed in the treatment of several illness. It has been said to possess antiulcer effect, can protect the lever from toxicity, can protect against bacterial infections, and a host of other diseases. In hepatitis B virus infection, paw paw leaf juice can prevent the onset of CCl4 induced hepatocarcinoma.
Like Cajanus cajan, the leaves of paw paw also possess strong antisickling properties. It also inhibits hemoglobin polymerization, suppresses osmotic fragility of human sickled red blood cells, and reduces the percentage of sickled cells in the circulatory system.
You can squeeze or blend a handful of the fresh leaves with clean water, filter and drink the juice.
Bitter kola is a great home remedy for sickle cell disease
Another important home remedy for treating sickle cell disease is bitter kola, also known as garcinia kola. Bitter kola is a very important herbal medicine; the leaves, seeds, roots, and stem barks are of great importance in traditional medicine. One important benefit of garcinia kola is in the treatment of whooping cough, tuberculosis, viral infections, and cancers.
According to the study conducted by Elekwa, I; bitter kola seed extract exhibited strong antisickling agent. But the mechanism of action of garcinia kola seems to be quite different from that of others discussed so far. According to Elekwa, the seed extract of bitter kola exhibited an activating effect on Na+, K+, and Ca2+ – ATPase but inhibited Mg2+-ATPase from the three genotypes: HbAA, HbAS, and HbSS.
Na+, K+, and Ca2+- ATPases play important roles in keeping the cations at normal concentration. But the consequence of hemoglobin polymerization in sickled sickled red blood cells does not only manifest in rigidity and shape of the red blood cells; it also resulted in uncontrolled membrane permeability to cations and other molecules. This then leads to a disturbance in the cellular homeostasis, as the Ca2+ content of sickle cells is raised above normal concentration in sickle cells compared to what is obtainable in normal red blood cells.
By restoring the cations gradients in sickle cells to normal, garcinia kola suppresses the complications of sickle cell diseases. Garcinia kola holds the promise as an important home remedy for sickle cell, and as a pharmaceutical agent for treating sickle cell disease.
Apple fruits is a strong antisickling agent
Apple is relatively the most nutritional fruit or one of the most. It is fortified with strong antioxidants, some of which are antisickling agents. The antisickling properties of apple fruits (Malus domestica) are well researched and documented. And so, when next you are considering foods that would help in managing sickle cell disease, think of apple as the fastest and easy to prepare home remedy for sickle cell. Of course, you do not need to make a decoction or infusion of the apple fruit. By eaten one apple fruit each day, you would likely reduce the recurrence of sickle cell crisis.
Eremomastax polysperma for sickle cell disease
Eremomastax polysperma, popularly called Edem-ididuot among the Ibibio people of Akwa-ibom state in Nigeria, is a herbal remedy, usually found in the southern parts of Nigeria. The plant have been used in traditional medicines to treat various health challenges, including diabetes, diarrhea, anemia, and sickle cell disease.
The leaves of this antisickling herb can be infused in alcohol for a day or two before use, blend to extract the juice or taken in form of an enema with or without additives.
Eremomastax polysperma is another home remedy for sickle cell disease that you can easily found around your gardens. Its effectiveness in boosting blood production is another advantage to it. By combining its antisickling activity, and blood boosting, Edem-ididuot would be a great antisickling herb to consider.
Other herbs that are effective for sickle cell anemia
There are several herbs that can cure sickle cell diseases, but space may not permit us to discuss them in details. However, we shall mention some of this amazing herbs for your benefits. Some of the herbs for sickle cell anemia include Piper guineense, Pterocarpus osun Eugenia caryophyllata, and Sorghum bicolor. Extracts of these herbs have been isolated and used in new drug formulation by the Nigerian Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD).
How to prepare herbal home remedies for sickle cell (Recipe)
If you are considering preparing a herbal home remedy for treating sickle cell anemia, then here is best place to look into. However, you should bear in mind that some active components may work best in alcoholic solvent, while some do just best in cold water extraction. For some herbs like bitter kola and Eremomastax, alcohol infusion may be the best.
In these recipe, the focus would be on Piper guineense, Pterocarpus osun, Eugenia caryophyllata, and Sorghum bicolor.
Wash the leaves of the aforementioned herbs with clean water
Spread them under a shade and allow to dry
Infused the combined leaves in a cold pot of water
Cover and allow to sit for 24 hrs. (the longer the better).
Drink a cup of the herbal infusion, morning and night till the crisis stop.
Eat more of apple and bitter kola seed for daily healthy red blood cells.
Baraka, Abdullahi. (2018) IN VITRO ANTI-SICKLING EFFECT OF CRUDE AND PARTIALLY PURIFIED FRACTIONS OF METHANOLIC EXTRACT OF STECULIA SETIGERA LEAF ON HUMAN SICKLED RED BLOOD CELLS. Science World Journal Vol 13(No 4) 2018.
Nurain, I. O., Bewaji, C. O., Johnson, J. S., Davenport, R. D., & Zhang, Y. (2017). Potential of Three Ethnomedicinal Plants as Antisickling Agents. Molecular pharmaceutics, 14(1), 172–182. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.molpharmaceut.6b00767.
Iba, Innocent. (2015). ANTISICKLING ACTIVITY OF EREMOMASTAX POLYSPERMA AND ITS EFFECTS ON SERUM LIPID AND PROTEIN PROFILES OF ALBINO WISTAR RATS. European Journal of Biology and Medical Science Research. 3. 57 -65.
Nurain, Ismaila. (2018). 110-Article Text-2437-1-10-20181120.
Ameh, S. J., Tarfa, F. D., & Ebeshi, B. U. (2012). Traditional herbal management of sickle cell anemia: lessons from Nigeria. Anemia, 2012, 607436. https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/607436