Sickle cell anemia is an inherited disorder of the blood caused by abnormal hemoglobin, which causes distorted (sickle shaped) red blood cells, which are fragile and prone to rupture. When the number of red blood cells decreases from rupture (hemolysis), the resultant condition is called as sickle cell anemia. Sickling can be exacerbated by injury to the body’s tissue, dehydration, and anesthesia.
The major symptoms of this disease are the direct result of the sickled red blood cells blocking the circulation to various tissues of the body. Treatment is designed according to the individual presentation of the disease. Severe anemia; migratory pain crises; joint pain and swelling; bacterial infection; spleen and liver congestion; lung and heart injury; leg necrosis; aseptic necrosis and bone infarcts; eye damage; weakening of the bones; and damage to important organs like the brain, kidney and nervous system; are common features of this disease.
Ayurvedic treatment of this condition is primarily aimed at treating the root cause of the disease and preventing serious complications. Medicines acting on the bone marrow are given in an attempt to minimize the production of defective cells. Guduchi (Tinosporia cordifolia), Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Musta (Cyperus rotundus), Laxadi Guggulu, Suvarna-Malini-Vasant, Heerak Bhasma and Panch-Tikta-Ghrut-Guggulu are used for this purpose.
Arogya Vardhini, Triphala Guggulu, Punarnavadi Guggulu, Gokshuradi Guggulu, Vata-Gajankush-Ras and Rasayan Vati are used for pain crises, joint pain and swelling. Medicines like Yashtimadhuk (Glycerrhiza glabra), Guduchi, Pippali (Piper Longum) and Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum) are used on a long term basis to prevent infections. Kutki (Picrorrhiza kurroa), Sharpunkha (Tephrosia purpuria), and Punarnava (Boerhaavia diffusa) are used to prevent liver and spleen congestion. Medicines like Arjuna (Terminalia arjuna) and Laxmi-Vilas-Ras are used to protect the heart, while Mandukparni (Centella asiatica) is used to prevent leg ulcers. Medicines like Laxadi Guggulu, Trayo-Dashang-Guggulu, Punarnavadi Guggulu, Gokshuradi Guggulu and Tapyadi-Loh Vati can be used to prevent damage to bones, eyes, kidneys and the brain.
Since this condition is a genetically inherited disorder, it may not be currently possible to completely cure this disease. However, a majority of the symptoms can be prevented or reduced with a judicious combination of Ayurvedic medicines. It should be remembered that all patients suffering from this condition should be under the regular supervision and treatment of a Hematologist.