What Are Natural Anticoagulants?

Natural anticoagulants help prevent blood clot formation.
Article Details
  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Rachel Catherine Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 28 October 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article

Natural anticoagulants are blood thinners that occur in nature. Instead of thinning one’s blood, as the name suggests, a blood thinner makes it harder for the blood to clot. Anticoagulants are typically prescribed to patients who are at risk for certain conditions, such as heart attacks and strokes. Among the many natural anticoagulants are some vitamins, herbs, and substances derived from animal sources. Though such substance do have blood thinning properties, a person can avoid dangerous consequences by speaking with his doctor before using them as anticoagulants.

Garlic, vitamin E, willow bark, and fish oil are among the substances known for their natural blood thinning properties. Some others include ginger, red clover, ginkgo biloba, chamomile, and cayenne pepper. Many people find them useful because they not only help prevent abnormal clotting, but also deliver other benefits. For instance, some of these natural anticoagulants are used in seasoning food, promoting overall health, relieving tension, and even treating symptoms of depression.

Although many natural substances do have anticoagulant properties, they are usually not taken to replace doctor-prescribed blood thinning medications. Usually, people are advised to take anticoagulant medications for serious conditions, such as heart disease. Taking a proven-effective dose of medication in such a situation is critical, and health experts usually advise that the reliability of natural blood thinners is too low to take the place of proven medications.

Ad

An exception to the general avoidance of natural anticoagulants for primary treatment is a substance called heparin. This substance naturally occurs in the bodies of human beings as well as some other mammals and helps prevent abnormal blood clotting. Heparin is often used in treatments for blood clots and can be delivered to a patient via an intravenous (IV) line or injection. IV doses, however, are known to work faster than injections and may be used for the more critical cases.

If a person is interested in using natural blood thinners to supplement his treatment, he may do well to consult with a doctor first. Most experts recommend avoiding the overuse of natural substances with anticoagulant properties while a person is also taking pharmaceutical blood thinners. In such a case, the combination of natural anticoagulants and prescription medication can increase the patient's risk of treatment side effects or complications. For example, a high level of natural anticoagulant use in combination with prescribed medication can cause abnormal bleeding, nosebleeds, and bruising. Some people might also note blood in their urine as a result.

Ad

More from Wisegeek

You might also Like

Discuss this Article

donasmrs
Post 3

@burcidi1-- I try to include cayenne pepper, ginger, garlic and cloves in recipes in small amounts. These are not meant to treat a condition though. It's a part of healthy living. You shouldn't stop taking your blood thinner, talk to your doctor about the side effects.

burcidi
Post 2

How much of these natural anticoagulants do we need to consume to experience its effects?

I have high blood pressure and my doctor has advised me to take a low dose blood thinner every day (I already take high blood pressure medication. But I experience a lot of side effects from blood thinners like stomach cramps and acidity. I'm scared of developing a stomach ulcer.

If possible, I would prefer to take natural foods and herbs because they won't be hard on my stomach. I just don't know how much I need to consume.

ysmina
Post 1

I learned that fish oil is a natural anticoagulant when I made the mistake of taking an aspirin the same day as my fish oil supplement. I started feeling unwell and developed a blister on my stomach. I'm not sure if the blister was caused by the interaction of these two but it made me do some reading online about fish oil's interactions with other supplements and drugs.

I read that fish oil should never be taken with aspirin or anticoagulants because it is a natural anticoagulant and blood thinner. This apparently could lead to internal bleeding.

Ever since this incident, I've been very careful. If I need to take an aspirin, I don't take fish oil and vice versa.

Post your comments

Post Anonymously

Login

username
password
forgot password?

Register

username
password
confirm
email