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10 Proven Herbs For Sickle Cell With Decades Of Traditional Use

Sickle cell disease (SCD), a genetic disorder characterized by abnormal hemoglobin in red blood cells, poses significant health risks due to its chronic nature and associated complications.

While treatments like bone marrow transplants and gene therapy exist, they come with high risks and costs, making them inaccessible to many. However, there’s a ray of hope in the form of herbs used for decades by Nigerians, even before scientists recognized their potential in treating SCD. 

These herbs for sickle cell form the basis of certain medications and, when prepared and dosed correctly, can help manage SCD more affordably and accessibly. In this article, we’ll explore ten remarkable herbs and how they benefit SCD patients.

African pepper (Fagara zanthoxyloides) root

Fagara zanthoxyloides, commonly known as African pepper or “Uda” in Nigeria, contain potent bioactive compounds like divanilloylquinic acids, believed to possess antisickling properties. These compounds may help inhibit the polymerization of hemoglobin S, thus preventing the characteristic sickling of red blood cells. 

Incorporating African pepper into the diet can be achieved by brewing it as tea or as a seasoning.

Papaya (Carica papaya) unripe fruit or leaf

Carica papaya, or papaya, has been studied for its potential antisickling effects, attributed to compounds like phenylalanine, tyrosine, and glycine found in its unripe fruit. These compounds may help inhibit or reverse the sickling process, relieving SCD patients. 

Papaya can be consumed in various forms, including fresh fruit, smoothies, or tea from its leaves. Its versatility makes it a convenient option for incorporating into the diets of individuals seeking a natural cure for sickle cell.

Garlic (Allium sativum) bulb

Garlic, known for its culinary and medicinal properties, contains allicin, a bioactive compound believed to stimulate the transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) channel. Activation of TRPV1 channels may help modulate pain perception and inflammation associated with SCD. 

Including garlic in cooking or consuming it raw may provide SCD patients with potential relief from pain and inflammation, offering a natural complement to conventional therapies.

Dong quai (Angelica sinensis) extract

Dong Quai, scientifically known as Angelica sinensis, is renowned for its blood-tonifying properties, making it beneficial for individuals with sickle cell disease. Additionally, it has calming effects on the nerves and has traditionally been used to reduce pain associated with SCD. 

You can use Dong Quai by making teas or decoctions from its roots. Plus, Dong Quai is part of EvenFlo, a supplement proven to manage sickle cell crises more effectively.

Pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan) seed

Cajanus cajan, commonly known as pigeon pea, contains phenylalanine, a bioactive compound considered the most active principle in Cajanus cajan seed. This compound is a component of Ciklavit, an antisickling phytomedicine developed in Nigeria. 

Pigeon pea seeds can be added to the diet by cooking them as a legume dish or grinding them into flour for baking. 


Corydalis offers analgesic and antispasmodic effects, making it valuable for managing pain and muscle spasms associated with sickle cell disease. Its active compounds, including dehydrocorybulbine (DHCB), have been studied for their potential to relieve pain by acting on neurotransmitter pathways. 

Including Corydalis in the sickle cell disease regimen can be accomplished by brewing its roots into teas or incorporating them into herbal formulations to alleviate SCD symptoms. The best way to take corydalis for sickle cell disease is by taking EvenFlo as it is one of the main ingredients.

Clove (Eugenia caryophyllata

Eugenia caryophyllata, commonly known as clove, contains principles that impact SCD crises. Clove is rich in bioactive compounds, including vanilloids, which may help modulate pain perception and inflammation associated with SCD. It can be used as a spice in cooking or brewed as a tea. 

Rehmannia (Rehmannia glutinosa) root

Rehmannia is recognized for its antioxidant properties, which help manage inflammation associated with sickle cell disease. The antioxidants in Rehmannia root also neutralize free radicals, reducing oxidative stress and inflammation in the body. 

Integrating Rehmannia root into the SCD diet can be incorporated into decoctions, tinctures, or herbal supplements like EvenFlo.

Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) 

Sorghum bicolor, rich in brightly colored red/orange flavonoids, is believed to act as a hematinic, potentially mitigating or reducing the frequency of SCD crises.

Sorghum can be consumed in various forms, including whole grain, flour, or as a beverage like sorghum tea. It can also be used in cooking traditional dishes or incorporated into baked goods.

Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza glabra)

Licorice root, or Glycyrrhiza glabra, contains glycyrrhizin, an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compound. Traditionally used to support adrenal function, reduce inflammation, regulate immune function, and improve circulation, it’s also known for soothing digestive issues, making it beneficial for managing symptoms of sickle cell disease.

This herb can be incorporated into the SCD diet through teas, tinctures, or as an ingredient in herbal formulations like EvenFlo.


These ten herbs hold promise as alternatives for managing sickle cell disease. Their traditional use and emerging scientific evidence highlight their efficacy in easing SCD symptoms and enhancing quality of life. 

By weaving these herbs for sickle cell into your diet and exploring herbal supplements containing them, you’re taking proactive steps toward more affordable and effective SCD management.

For personalized guidance on incorporating these herbs into your routine, book a session with Dr. Charlie Ware, our sickle cell expert. He’s here to support you on your journey to optimal health.


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