Blood thinners are substances that help prevent blood from clotting. Various pharmacological drugs are focused on blood thinning, including over-the-counter products such as Tylenol, Aspirin, warfarin, and heparin.
Doctors prescribe blood thinners in various medical conditions such as thrombotic disorders in which blood clots are formed easily, leading to further medical complications. However, long-term use of these drugs has its own set of side effects.
Thus, most people tend to shift towards alternatives that act as natural blood thinners and have no side effects at all.
This article will highlight some of the common foods that can act as natural blood thinners and help people suffering from medical conditions that rely on artificial blood-thinning medicines.
Edibles That Act as Natural Blood Thinners
Mushrooms have been used over the years to add flavor to salads and different cuisines around the world. These can be consumed fresh, directly from the stores, or can be refrigerated in canned or dried form. What more? Mushrooms also have a distinct role as medicinal mushroom supplements.
Research has shown that the anti-oxidative properties of mushrooms are responsible for the antiplatelet effect. This is enabled by the presence of polysaccharides and ergosterol in them.
Mushroom supplement complex is an excellent source of shiitake mushrooms that can help maintain healthy blood and cardiovascular system. Reishi mushrooms are also known to slow down the process of blood clotting.
However, you need to be very careful when using it alongside other blood thinners. Always consult a professional healthcare provider before using them together.
Honey is a brown-colored, viscous liquid produced by bees using the nectar of plants. It has a concentrated consistency with a very sweet taste. While it is commonly used as a sweetener for different types of food, it is also widely used as a medicine.
Honey has natural antibacterial properties that prevent it from contamination with germs during collection and processing. However, some bacteria like botulinum can still be found in the honey. This is the reason why doctors recommend not to give honey to infants under a year. Medical-grade honey, which is treated to inactive bacterial spores, can be used for infants.
Honey has been widely used for various medicinal purposes, including the treatment of cough, high cholesterol levels, hay fever, and asthma.
A study has shown that honey has moderate inhibitory effects on platelet aggregation and blood coagulation; thereby, it has been used as a natural blood thinner.
Honey is considered to have synergistic effects with anticoagulant medicines like Aspirin, warfarin, heparin, etc. Thus, it is advised to use honey with caution when taking these drugs; otherwise, there is a potential risk of bruising or bleeding.
Always consult your doctor before using honey along with any other blood-thinning drugs that you typically use.
People use honey as a topical agent, applied directly on the skin to treat wound healing, burns, gangrene, diabetic foot ulcers, etc. A spoonful or two of honey can also be eaten raw or added to milk or other desserts as a sweetener.
Almonds are very common healthy snacks that are actually the seeds of a previous plant Prunus dulcis.
Almonds are considered to have a highly meritorious nutritional profile. They are abundant in fiber, protein, and fats.
A handful of almonds contain only about 161 calories, providing an adequate supply of nutrients without you gaining weight.
It is a rich magnesium source that comprises 20% of its RDI and gives almonds its muscle relaxing potential.
Magnesium is an essential nutrition element as it not only maintains muscle activity, but its adequate levels play a key role in optimal healthy cardiac activity. It offers an inhibitory effect on the blood clotting phenomenon and is known to reduce the risk of bruising and bleeding. Thus, magnesium-rich foods can be used as natural blood thinners.
Other food items rich in magnesium include brown rice, bananas, legumes. Magnesium can also be replenished with oral supplements like Beherbal’s Magnesium Glycinate 400 mg. However, don’t go overboard when taking magnesium pills and follow your physician’s advice for optimal dosing.
4. Garlic (Allium sativum)
Despite its unusual taste, not liked by many, Garlic is an essential ingredient in most cuisines worldwide. Garlic is highly respected among the masses for its colossal health benefits.
The pungent odor of Garlic comes from the sulfur-containing compound called Alison. The potential anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties of allicin result in a reduced inflammatory response, platelet aggregation, and blood clotting.
A study has reported that odorless garlic powder can be effective in showing antithrombotic properties. This property allows Garlic to serve as a substance that decreases blood clot formation.
Another research demonstrated that Garlic also plays a role in thinning the blood, even though this effect is very small and short-lived.
Hence, it is recommended by the American Academy of Family Physicians that people who are scheduled for surgery should avoid eating high amounts of Garlic 7 to 10 days before the surgery to stay protected from its antithrombotic properties.
Turmeric is a flowering plant whose roots are used as a spice in meals and is famous for its tremendous health benefits.
With the scientific name Curcuma longa, its active compound is curcumin, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These properties resonate with turmeric’s blood-thinning or anticoagulant activity.
According to a 2012 study, if you take turmeric spice daily in your diet, it can help you maintain the anticoagulant status in your blood. This can be helpful in conditions such as the current pandemic of COVID-19, in which researchers have found that there is a risk of disseminated coagulation in the blood vessels.
Turmeric is widely used to add flavor to various foods such as curry. You can also consume turmeric in soups and vegetable dishes. It can also be added to hot water to make a comforting tea.
Turmeric has immense value in the form of gold milk as a potent healing agent used in traditional culture. It is made by adding a few pinches of turmeric powder to a cup of hot milk.
Cinnamon is also one of the most commonly consumed edible spices. It comes from the bark of a Cinnamomum tree, which has a very refreshing fragrance. It is widely used as a flavoring ingredient in baked items, sweets, and other dishes.
Adding cinnamon to food can give a characteristic sweet taste without the addition of sugar. This makes it a popular ingredient among diabetic people, but it also offers other health benefits.
Some benefits of cinnamon, as mentioned in a 2010 review reported that using cinnamon can improve:
- Glucose levels in the blood
- Blood insulin levels and insulin sensitivity
- Fat and lipid concentration in the blood
- Antioxidant status in the body
- Blood pressure
- Body mass and weight maintenance
The active ingredient of cinnamon, coumarin, is a natural anticoagulant. This is why it is advised to carefully eat cinnamon when taking other blood thinners.
However, there are some factors mentioned in research studies that affect the role of cinnamon in your body, one being the type of cinnamon used as it determines the quantity of active ingredients. For example, Ceylon cinnamon has a much lower coumarin content than cassia cinnamon, so it will have a comparatively lower risk of bleeding if taken with warfarin.
Other factors include the amount of cinnamon used, patient’s body response to cinnamon, and any other medicines being taken simultaneously. Cinnamon can be used as:
- An ingredient in various cooked dishes and baked stuff
- A component added to teas.
- A supplement, e.g., Ceylon Cinnamon Formula
You can talk to your doctor about the amount and type of cinnamon or supplement you should take for optimal results.
Ashwagandha is one of the ayurvedic plants used as alternative medicine, including others like Brahmi, Jatamansi, Jyotishmati, etc.
Murthy et al. have shown in the 2010 review that Ashwagandha also inhibits the formation of beta-amyloid plaques.
Ashwagandha is known as Indian ginseng, and its scientific name is Withania somnifera, WS. It is grown in dry regions of Africa, South Asia, and Central Asia, including Pakistan, India, and other areas.
Because of its anticoagulant property, Ashwagandha is said to interact with blood thinners and potentiate their effects. Thus, you should be cautious when taking the plant, its fruit, seeds, or shoots.
Although the effects are mild, you should consult your doctor for the amount you should consume, especially if you are using anticoagulant drugs.
Also called puncture Vine, Tribulus Terrestris is a Mediterranean plant covered with spines that produces fruit.
The fruit, leaves, and roots of this plant have been used as medicine since ancient times.
People have been using Tribulus Terrestris to enhance athletic performance and other health problems, including those of the heart and sexual performance.
Tribulus has also been found to help ease the symptoms of angina and help people suffering from infertility.
However, Tribulus possesses anticoagulant property and may interact with certain medicines like beta-blockers, digoxin, nitrates, and warfarin.
Research has shown that consuming Terrestris with warfarin has led to an increase in international normalized ratio (INR), elevating bleeding risk. Thus, it is critical to consult your doctor and work out the correct dose before taking this plant as a therapy.
You can use the supplement Tribulus Pure for better blood and heart health, fluid balance, blood sugar control, etc.
Another great supplement that improves cardiovascular and blood health is Chlorella - Clean Super Food.
Ginger, or scientifically known as Zingiber officinale, is another plant that has immense benefits on human health.
The ginger root is widely used as an additive to foods and offers anti-inflammatory properties. It serves as a natural blood thinner by inhibiting the process of blood clotting in your body.
The natural acid salicylate gives ginger its characteristic anticoagulant property. It is a precursor of the potent over-the-counter blood thinner, Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid).
Ginger is used as a natural blood thinner food, which is a source of salicylates, to maintain optimal blood health. However, ginger will not have a very strong and direct effect on your body like Aspirin.
10. Vitamin E
Vitamin E also has potential anticoagulant properties. However, these effects are based on the dose of vitamin E consumed.
According to the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements, high amounts of Vitamin E should be avoided when other blood-thinning drugs are being taken.
It is not clearly understood how much vitamin E would be needed for a blood-thinning effect. However, it is considered that more than 400 International Units (IU) per day are required for effect to take place. Supplements of vitamin E of more than 1,500 IU per day taken for the long-term would cause adverse health effects.
You can consume vitamin E in the form of supplements as well as natural blood thinner foods like almonds, sunflower oil, sunflower seeds, wheat germ oil, and whole grains.
Although many plants and herbs serve as potential natural blood thinners, they are not as strong and effective as prescription drugs. If your doctor has advised you to use anticoagulants for a clotting disorder, you shouldn’t replace your medication with natural remedies.
There has been ongoing research on the relationship between dosage and effects of the herbs and plants with anticoagulant potential. However, more research is needed for a clearer understanding.
If you want to opt for alternative remedies for your medical condition, consult your doctor about the type and quantity of the natural herbs you can take and gradually reduce the drug dependence over time, with your doctor’s consent to avoid complications.
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