Is this possible or even adviseable to try to do? I think it's common knowledge that Africans in general are very traditional and religious/spiritual people who look for alternative ways to treat illnesses and diseases either by prayer or traditional medicine. This they do possibly for one of two reasons:
1. They do not have the funds for the conventional medical treatments or;
2. They absolutely believe that certain ailments can or should only be treated with traditional medicine, natural herbs and possibly even prayers.
When I say 'prayers', I use the term loosely not to suggest the christian form of praying to the Supreme God but to deities that are believed to harness healing powers although praying to God for healing is also a very common practice.
Back in the day, when my brother was still very young, before my sister came along, I remember that my mom would always travel quite a distance into town to get a certain drink my brother had to take 1-3 times a day. It wasn't a doctor's prescription to the best of my knowledge because we never really knew what it was called and only ever referred to it as his "fridge medicine". If you asked me what taking it was supposed to do for his sickle cell, I couldn't tell you. He eventually stopped taking it as he grew older but till this day, I do not know what the point of his daily consumption of that drink was (maybe I should ask my mom).
Within the rural communities in Africa to be precise, there is a strong belief in the efficacy of natural herbs in the treatment of diseases like sickle cell but it is pertinent to mention here that African Traditional Medicine may deserve a a bit more credit in its diagnosis of more common ailments. For instance, they already knew that high fever was associated with mosquito bites and dysentry was caused by bad water. However, for more complex diseases like sickle cell and even cancer, these they would attribute to evil spirits and forbidden practices or misconduct. In Nigeria, tribes like the Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo believe that SCA is a paranormal disease and therefore strategies for its management necessarily include herbal or traditional treatment. Clinical research there has found that several herbs and a particular combination of herbal extracts provide a potential treatment for SCA. Niprosan aka Nicosan is a combination of herbal extracts found to be effective at significantly reducung sickle cell crisis. It is derived from the extracts of the following plants:
- West African pepper
- African timber
Needless to say that there is a ton of information online on this topic and you can google 'Alternative Treatments for Sickle Cell' or 'Natural Treatments for SCA' among others to learn more. Where conventional treatment of sickle cell like bone marrow transplants, hydroxurea and gene therapy are more costly and not readily available in African countries and possibly other nations, attempting to treat symptoms traditionally or naturally is a preferred option. Combined with healthy eating habits and good nutrition containing fruits, vegetables, lentils, grains and nuts, traditional treatment seems to have displayed the ability to significantly improve the quality of life for sickle cell sufferers when unrelated to any spiritual or superstitious beliefs. There is no evidence to suggest that any form of traditional medicine provides a permanent cure for sickle cell other than the bone marrow transplant which is medically the only known cure at present.
What are your thoughts on this mode of treatment for sickle cell anemia? Do you believe there is any truth to the claim that herbs and natural tratments reverse or alleviate pain and crisis? Interested in hearing your thoughts.
Thank you for stopping by today and hope you come back on Thursday.