Natural treatments for sickle cell disease – Spinach, beet roots and blackstrap molasses

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Home remedies for sickle cell disease

This is a name which is used to describe a group of inherited conditions which are affecting the red blood cells.

Sickle cell anemia is the most serious of them. Sickle cell disease is causing many different symptoms.

The main symptoms of this condition are anemia; an increased risk of serious infections; painful episodes known as sickle cell crises which can be very severe and they can last up to a week. Also, some people can experience other problems, such as lung problems, strokes, and delayed growth. This condition is caused by a faulty gene that affects how red blood cells develop. If both parents have this faulty gene, then there is a 25% chance of each child they have it, to have sickle cell disease.

In many cases, parents do not have this condition because they are only carriers of the sickle cell trait. Sickle cell disease is detected soon after birth or during pregnancy. The sickle cell disease varies from one child to another, but most children will have normal and happy lives. But also there are chances that sickle cell disease can be a serious condition that can have a significant impact on a person’s life. Sickle cell disease can lead to problems, such as lung problems, serious infections, and strokes which occasionally can be fatal. You need to talk with your doctor if you suffer from sickle cell disease before you start using some of the below-mentioned home remedies for this condition.

13 Home remedies for sickle cell disease

Essential oils

Essential oils will help you to reduce the pain naturally. Sickle cell anemia can cause pains, such as chest pain, abdominal pain, bone pain, muscle weakness, and joint stiffness. It is not recommended using over the counter pain killers because they can negatively affect liver/kidney function [1].  It is recommended to manage the pain in a natural way and this means that you should apply warm compresses to the painful areas for fifteen minutes at a time and do it two to three times per day. It is known that stretching, massage therapy, sitting in a hot tub/Jacuzzi, taking warm baths, or seeing a physical therapist can help you to keep the physical symptoms from becoming overwhelming.

It is known that essential oils are one of the best natural ways which can help you to reduce your pain. Also, they will promote relaxation, improve immunity and treat irritated skin. You can apply peppermint essential oil over your skin to reduce sore muscles or joints. Also, there are other essential oils which can help you with the symptoms of sickle cell disease, such as orange and grapefruit essential oils which can help to decrease fatigue; lavender essential oil to help manage stress, and frankincense essential oil to reduce inflammation.

Spinach

This home remedy is rich in iron which can help in building red blood cells. Also, this is an alkaline food that can regulate the body’s pH. It can rejuvenate the existing blood cells but also it can produce new healthy red blood cells which the sickle cell anemia patients need. You should eat spinach in any form. Also, you should be sure that you are consuming enough spinach on a daily basis if you have low hemoglobin levels or you suffer from sickle cell anemia.

Prevent overexertion or dehydration

It is very important for people who suffer from sickle cell anemia to prevent the amount of oxygen in their blood from dropping to very low levels by avoiding overexertion and very physically stressful situations. There are rare cases when sickle cell disease is ending with death. But there are some cases when someone who suffers from this disease becomes dehydrated or fatigued due to strenuous activity (such as military training or athletic training) and this is causing the symptoms suddenly to get worse and life-threatening.

The term which is used for a severe reaction due to reduced oxygen supply is sickle cell crisis. The sickle cell crisis can be caused by anything which is very physically stressful and demanding for the body to handle, such as recovering from an illness, vigorous exercise, and spending time at very high altitudes (such as flying or mountain climbing). Any physical activity which you do can make you dehydrated soon. This is a reason why you should drink a lot of water before and after exercise if you suffer from sickle cell anemia. Also, you should never expose yourself to extreme weather conditions. You need to wear appropriate clothing to save extreme climate exposure.

Home remedies for sickle cell disease

Beet roots

This natural cure is rich in folate, Vitamin C, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B1, and Vitamin A. This natural cure is considered a superfood because it helps in building red blood cells [2]. You should eat beetroot by boiling it because otherwise will be difficult for you to digest and in another way you may not get its health benefits.

Eat enough protein and healthy fats

You should consume foods that are rich in proteins, such as collagen protein, lentils, liver or organ meats, wild-caught fish like salmon or sardines, cage-free eggs, and grass-fed beef. Also, these foods are rich in iron which can help you to reduce the anemia symptoms, like weakness or fatigue. Also, you should consume foods that are rich in healthy fats, such as ghee, grass-fed butter, seeds, nuts, avocado, olive oil, and coconut oil or milk.

Nutrient – dense diet

You should eat a nutrient-dense diet that is including variety and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. You should try to include colorful fruits and vegetables with every meal to get enough antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. Bell peppers, tomatoes, asparagus, mushrooms, carrots, chard, and all green leafy veggies [3] are some of the best choices of food which you can consume for sickle cell disease.

Reduce stress and get enough rest

It depends on the person’s symptoms but it is still possible to stay active and exercise. But the exercise needs to be gentle or moderate rather than vigorous. You should balance the exercise with a lot of rest and sleep. You need to talk with your doctor about how much you should exercise. You should sleep for at least seven to nine hours per night because this will help your body to recover from exercise and other sources of stress, whether emotional or physical. Also, you should put aside time during your day to unwind and relax. Also, there are other relaxing ways that can help you to cope with stress, such as aromatherapy, massage therapy, acupuncture, breathing exercises, yoga, and meditation practice.

Heating pad

You should use heating pads because they will give you relief from the pain.

Folate

You should consume foods that are high in folate because this element can help in the production of red blood cells. Some of the foods which are rich in folate are asparagus, broccoli, beets, avocado, meat, liver and organ meat, spinach, lentils, pinto beans, and chickpeas. Also, your doctor can recommend you take folic acid or folate supplement to help you with sickle cell disease and prevent folate deficiency [4]. The best way to obtain folate is to eat a healthy diet.

What you should avoid

You need to avoid sweetened drinks, fast foods, refined grains, sugary foods, and processed/packaged foods.

B vitamins

You should consume animal sources of protein, legumes or beans (if your body tolerates them well), and 100% whole/ancient grains because they can help you to get enough B vitamins.

Supplements to reduce deficiencies

Experts are recommending eating a healthy and varied diet. Also, they are recommending taking several supplements which can protect bones, treat deficiencies, and provide other protective effects. But a lot more studies need to be done in the future to confirm which supplements might be most useful. It is recommended the take the following supplements in moderate dosages: Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12; Omega – 3 fatty acids; folate/folic acid; calcium; Vitamin D (also you should expose yourself to direct sunlight); multivitamins which include magnesium, zinc, and copper which also have been found to be beneficial.

Blackstrap molasses

This is a powerhouse of nutrients. This is an excellent source of Vitamin B and it has more potassium, iron, and calcium than any other food. Also, it is rich in phosphorus, magnesium, and copper [5]. It is good for all kinds of anemia because it is rich in iron. You should add one tablespoon of blackstrap molasses to one glass of milk. You should mix it well and then drink it. This will improve the production of red blood cells and it will reverse sickle cell disease.

References:

[1] Cook WB. Common adverse events and interactions with OTC pain medications. U.S. Pharmacist. 2008;33(5):44-56.

[2] Al-aboud NM. Effect of red beetroot (Beta vulgaris L.) intake on the level of some hematological tests in a group of female volunteers. Journal of Food and Agriculture Science. 2018;8(2):10-17.

[3] Patil SS, Thikare AA, Wadhva SK, et al. Knowledge, attitude and practice regarding sickle cell disease in adult sufferers and carriers in a rural area. International Journal of Community Medicine and Public Health. 2017;4(4):1075-80.

[4] Dixit R, Nettem S, Madan SS, et al. Folate supplementation in people with sickle cell disease. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2016;2.

[5] Jain R, Venkatasubramanian P. Sugarcane molasses – A potential dietary supplement in the management of iron deficiency anemia. Journal of Dietary Supplements. 2017;14(5):1-11.

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