Finding Natural Remedies & Diet Changes With Sickle Cell
It is quite rare that we get told of alternative therapies or natural ways of managing sickle cell.
Medications are the only solution?
All of my life, I have been told that the only way to manage my sickle cell is to take the medicines, which have been prescribed to me. I have always found it quite difficult to use medications as I have never really been good at taking them consistently. I have also been told to drink lots of fluids and eat lots of greens, which I have also never really been great at as I’m not much of a huge drinker. And I have always been quite a fussy eater.
Taking better care of my health
As I have gotten older and faced certain battles with my health, I have learned to be less stubborn and to be more mindful whilst making adjustments where necessary. I have also learned to value my health a lot more by taking more control and doing more research into different methods and ways in which I can manage my health better in order to live an increased quality of life and to prevent me from having as much crisis outbreaks.
Making the switch to natural remedies
During the pandemic, I made more of a switch from prescribed drugs to natural medicines and remedies as I wanted to find new ways to combat my fatigue as this tends to be the worst symptom that I suffer from. In addition, I wanted to build back up my immune system after going through a really bad crisis whilst battling COVID-19 so I started taking regular multivitamin tablets daily and extra vitamin D.
Rhodiola and ashwgandha
I found this to be very beneficial as my body started to get certain nutrients that it was lacking. I also started to take Rhodiola root and ashwagandha, two natural liquid food supplements/herbs which are really good for helping with anxiety and stress and helping to battle and combat depression, when taken together they help to balance each other out as ashwagandha is more calming while Rhodiola root is more energizing.
Continuing to use prescription medications
I have definitely felt a difference within myself physically since making this switch, and I try to take less prescribed drugs. However, if I am beginning to feel the onset of a crisis, I will still revert back to my old ways and take paracetamol or codeine to help suppress and manage the pain as I am yet to find a natural herb that does so.
Changing my diet
I also increased my fluid and fruit intake by canceling out so much English breakfast tea from my diet, which I used to drink at least 2-3 cups a day and replacing it with drinking more fruit Herbal teas and making my own fruit-infused blends. I have found these to have a lot more hydrating qualities and health benefits.
I have really enjoyed doing it as I find it very refreshing and creative. I find myself experimenting a lot more in the kitchen, even when it comes to cooking with vegetables and stuff that I used to dislike, such as spinach and broccoli. I have tried to find new ways to incorporate them into my diet that make them more enjoyable to consume, such as in stir fry dishes.
An ongoing process
I'm still on the journey of transitioning and finding new ways of navigating my relationship with sickle cell, but these are just a few of my key highlights so far. I try to remind myself that there is no one right way of managing your health as everybody’s bodies will be different and will react in their own unique way, so it's important to find an approach that works best for you.
Editor's note: Be sure to talk with a healthcare provider before making changes to your medication.
What alternative or natural remedies do you use?
Have you had a special caregiver in your life?