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J Altern Complement Med. 2013 Jun;19(6):588-92. doi: 10.1089/acm.2012.0567. Epub 2013 Jan 28.

Influence of lime juice on the severity of sickle cell anemia.

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Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria.



The pain in sickle cell anemia (SCA) is often triggered by dehydration, acidosis, and fever that are usually due to malaria. Intake of lime juice was recently demonstrated to facilitate clearance of the malaria parasite. It was therefore sought to determine whether regular intake of lime juice will ameliorate crisis, especially recurrent bone pain.


In this preliminary, open-labeled, randomized study, the effects of lime juice on the clinical and some laboratory characteristics of children with SCA were tested.


Among the 113 children with SCA studied in two hospitals, the 58 receiving lime treatment had lower rates of significant painful episodes than the 55 without lime (37 versus 83 crises in 6 months, and 0.64±0.11 versus 1.51±0.34 average rates per child, p<0.001). Also, fewer subjects than the controls had significant painful episodes (50.0% versus 92.7%); febrile illness (46.6% versus 87.3%) and admission rate (3.4% versus 34.5%) (p<0.001). The mean hematocrit of the subjects (26.23±2.03%) at the end of the study was also higher, p<0.001. However, transfusion rate, presence of hepatomegaly, splenomegaly, and jaundice was similar. Treatment with lime did not cause any significant side-effect.


Regular intake of lime juice may be of great therapeutic and nutritional relevance in children with SCA.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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