Years ago, I remember going to a naturopathic seminar on pain management. One of the participants mentioned cloves in passing, but I didn’t really pay attention to what she had said. Recently on the FB page, a reader mentioned Ruth Akiboye and the research that she has done concerning cloves and sickle cell. I went looking for more information, and it will surprise you to find out that although cloves are tiny, they have a HUGE impact and multiple healing effects on the body of a sickle cell patient.
- Antioxidant: Cloves are listed as the greatest natural antioxidant. Antioxidants are important to the body because they help slow damage to the cells caused by oxygen. When you cut an apple and leave it open, oxygen leaches into it, releasing free radicals and causing it to brown. This is called the oxidative process, and it can be harmful to cells, in or outside of your body. To prevent this, it’s recommended to include antioxidants into your diet (Vit. A, C, & E, selenium, beta carotene) that will prevent damage to your cells or repair damage that is already there.
- Anti Clotting: I know I don’t have to explain this to everyone, but cloves act as an anti-clot agent by increasing your body’s metabolism, improving circulation, thereby limiting clotting.
- Anti Inflammatory: Another great plus since the pain we experience is related to the inflammation of the tissues due to low oxygenation related to low hemoglobin delivery. So by reducing the inflammation, we reduce pain. It’s all connected!
- Pain-killer: Although the effect of cloves is not as strong as your favorite narc, cloves have been shown in Chinese medicine to act as an anesthetic and pain killer. For those of you going the natural route, this might be an alternate to whats already in your repertoire.
- Iron Reducer: I know that iron overload is always at the forefront of your minds (right?), so it will be interesting to note that cloves have been shown to decrease the amounts of iron in your body. I’m not saying get off Exjade or Desferal, but if you significantly increase the cloves in your diet (which can be used in salads, soups, teas and pretty much any cooked/stir fry dish, or chewed raw), you might notice a decline in your sodium ferritin values. It is worth a try!
There you have it. It’s hard to believe that these tiny, aromatic, flowery herbs have the potential to help out sickle cell patients in so many ways. The Mediterranean, Indian and Chinese populations have already been using cloves for centuries, but now, it’s up to us to catch up to what they already knew: That Cloves Are Good. Very, very good!