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Fall, 2001

Traditional Food - Still the Best Medicine
Dealing with Sickle Cell Anemia

by Maureen Henry

My son Osita was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia. According to Western medicine, it is an incurable, life-threatening disease, discovered in 1910 in the United Sates. At present, Western science has very little understanding of it.

Sickle cell anemia is an inherited anemia in which large numbers or most of the blood cells are crescent-shaped rather than the normal kidney shape. The sickled cells tend to clog narrow blood vessels because of their shape. The clogging prevents blood and oxygen getting to vital organs, causing excruciating pain in various parts of the body.

Osita's father and I both have traces of sickle cell anemia. I have a trait of thalassaemia, another type of anemia most commonly found among people of Mediterranean descent. Osita's father is Nigerian and I am Jamaican. Medical science claims that genetically there is a one in four chance that any child born to us would have anemia.

The major treatments for this condition under the Western medical system are the administration of morphine or other pain killers, liquids for dehydration, blood transfusion, hydroxy urea, chemotherapy, antibiotics, flu shot, hepatitis B shot and, in extreme cases, bone marrow transplants. Considering the toxicity and side effects of these treatments, an informed mind would definitely seek other, less toxic methods of treatment and control, especially for children and infants!

Contrary to the view in Western science that sickle cell anemia is mostly a black people's problem, Dr. Oji Agbai, a Nigerian researcher living in the United States, has shown that sickle cell anemia is found in all races. On a per capita basis, it is most prevalent in Greece.

Once it was confirmed that Osita did have sickle cell anemia, we consulted homeopath Peter Quenter and herbalist Kathleen Leeson. We explained to both practitioners what Osita had, and we began to treat all underlying aspects of this condition that would result in complications, like an enlarged spleen, jaundice, a lack of appetite and low hemoglobin.

We acquired the herb prickly ash bark, which has been successfully used by the Nigerian health services. This herb is commonly known as Fagara in Nigeria. Prickly ash bark reduces the length and the frequency of the pain crises by up to 75 per cent. Osita drinks this herb as tea.

Dr. Agbai's thesis is that certain people are genetically disposed to thiocynate deficiency (a deficiency of vitamin B12-- a necessary component to healthy blood cells). This deficiency causes blood cells to "sickle," and is the root cause of sickle cell anemia and its resulting complications. But once this thiocynate was present in sufficient quantity in the blood system, there is an immediate unsickling of the blood cells and a consequent abatement of the complications that may arise.

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