There are certain medical situations that require blood thinners, such as high blood pressure and heart disease, but natural blood thinners are also an option to consider before taking pharmaceuticals.
Blood thinners are needed at times to help the blood flow more freely throughout the body and to prevent blood clots in the veins and arteries by slowing down how long it takes for a clot to form.
A blood clot can cause a traffic jam of sorts in the body, leading to arterial or venous congestion and potentially causing strokes and heart attacks. The main goal of blood thinners is to prevent pulmonary embolism and pulmonary thrombosis.
Why Does Blood Clot?
The clotting of blood is a necessary function of the human body. When a blood vessel is injured, the body works to seal up the wound to prevent bleeding out; obviously, loss of blood can be life-threatening.
Platelets and proteins in the blood bond together to stop bleeding by forming a clot over the site of the injury; clots can happen in both veins and arteries. Some people make clots too readily, and this can be a problem if the clots break off and travel through the bloodstream to the lungs, brain, or heart, which can cause pulmonary embolism, stroke, or heart attack, respectively—all of which can be deadly.
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that forms in a major vein in the leg (this is less likely to occur in an arm), which then detaches and travels through the heart to the lungs where it can become stuck, causing inadequate blood flow, that is, a pulmonary embolism.
Best Natural Blood Thinners
It may be worthwhile to consider options from a natural blood thinners list than taking a blood-thinning drug, but always consult with your doctor first before opting for a natural remedy. All blood thinners, natural or not, come with side effects—for example, you might find that wounds are taking longer to heal and that you bruise more easily than you used to, so take them with caution.
Four natural blood thinners are:
1. Ginger: In the same family as turmeric and loaded with salicylates (aspirin is derived from this), ginger can be consumed as a tea, or you can take a more concentrated form in a capsule.
2. Cinnamon: Cinnamon contains coumarin, which is a powerful anticoagulant that can lower blood pressure. Some studies have suggested that long-term use of cinnamon can cause liver damage, so discuss with a naturopath how much is enough to be effective. (Note: Coumadin is a pharmaceutical version. It’s a brand name with a one-letter difference, but remember: coumarin is natural; Coumadin is man-made.)
3. Turmeric: Used in Indian cooking for thousands of years and is the spice that gives curry its yellow color, turmeric contains curcumin, which prevents platelets from forming clots.
4. Cayenne peppers: These peppers have high levels of salicylates in them. They thin the blood, lower blood pressure, and increase circulation.
The above four spices can be taken as natural blood thinner supplements, and you can find them in your local pharmacy or health food store. Just be sure to follow the recommended doses and have a discussion with a health practitioner before taking them, as they can interact with other medications. Also, don’t take all four every day—the results could be disastrous and the blood may be thinned far more than is healthy. Use caution and common sense.
Two other sources of natural anticoagulants are foods abundant in vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids. Using the natural blood thinners in food can be a good alternative to conventional medications.
Food sources for vitamin E include:
- Dark leafy greens, such as Swiss chard and spinach;
- Red peppers; and
Food sources for omega-3 fatty acids include:
- Pumpkin seeds;
- Salmon; and
|Natural blood thinner||Description|
|Ginger||High in salicylates. Use as a capsule or grate the root to
make a tea.
|Cinnamon||Powerful anticoagulant, thanks to its coumarin content.
Use in foods regularly or buy in a stronger concentration
as a capsule.
|Turmeric||Has curcumin, which prevents platelets from forming clots.
Found in curries, but can be used on its own in a drink with
warm milk and honey. Take every night.
|Cayenne pepper||High in salicylates. Be careful with how much you use,
because it can cause flushing and gastrointestinal discomfort.
|Vitamin E||Natural anticoagulant found in many foods, such as spinach
|Omega-3 fatty acids||Makes blood less prone to clotting. Eat sources rich in
omega-3s such as salmon and other fatty fish, and nuts
How Much Blood Thinner Consumption Is Safe?
If you are taking a well-known medication like Coumadin, which is the best on the market for thinning blood, you need to be careful about supplementing it with natural remedies because that can lead to thinning the blood too much, which can in turn lead to other health issues. If you’re taking a blood thinner, you can supplement it with no more than 400 IU of vitamin E per day. Do not take aspirin or Ginkgo biloba, and be sure to consult with your doctor before using any blood-thinning supplements.
For other natural or organic blood thinners, here are some recommended dosages:
- Fish oil (two to three grams every day)
- Garlic (one to two grams every day)
- Vitamin E as mixed tocopherols (200 to 300 IU every day)
- Bromelain (an enzyme from pineapple) (600 milligrams every day)
Sources for Todays’ Article:
“Best Natural Blood Thinners,” Healthline web site; http://www.healthline.com/health/high-blood-pressure/best-natural-blood-thinners#Overview1, last accessed March 30, 2016.
“Blood Clots,” Hematology web site; http://www.hematology.org/Patients/Clots/, last accessed March 30, 2016.
“7 Types of Natural Blood Thinners to Improve Circulation and Reduce Inflammation,” The Science of Eating web site; http://thescienceofeating.com/2015/01/30/natural-blood-thinners/, last accessed March 30, 2016.
“The Most Common Blood Thinners,” Dr. Sinatra web site; http://www.drsinatra.com/the-most-common-blood-thinners/, last accessed March 30, 2016.