Natural Blood Thinners – Introduction
The human body is an evergreen machine. From the time that it starts working, it never stops completely until the person ceases to live.
To ensure that our body keeps on working healthily and effectively, it is our duty to make sure that we do not do anything intentionally that risks its functioning or makes it compromised in any way possible.
One of the major risks or threats that our body faces is due to the formation of thrombi or blood clots within the otherwise smoothly-flowing bloodstream. These blood clots, although small in size, are capable of causing lethal consequences such as stroke, heart attacks, venous thromboembolism, and so on.
Blood clots may form silently, and a person only gets to know about their occurrence until it becomes too late. Some people become predisposed to form blood clots due to some pre-existing health conditions or due to the usage of some medications.
In these people, it is better to employ the usage of blood thinners, also known as ‘anticoagulants’, that help to keep the blood free from all sorts of blood clots and, thus, the development of deadly diseases. (1)
Natural Blood Thinners – An Overview
Gone are the days when people used to rely upon remedies or over-the-counter tips or tricks to take care of their pain in a hassle-free manner. It is not because of the lack of scientific evidence that makes people depend upon medicines but rather the ease of use and faster action that makes people adhere to their pharmacological treatments only.
However, there also exists a downside to using these medications, and that is the side effect profile. There could be several side effects that may vary from individual to individual, but the end result is common in all such patients – them leaving their medicines or not following the prescription as per the advised schedule.
For such people, specifically, the ones who are on blood thinners but are unable to adhere to them, either due to their side effect profile or because of some other reason, natural blood thinners might be a good option to try. Because, at the end of the day, nothing could replace the mechanism of action of drugs that are created solely for the purpose of treating a particular condition.
Natural blood thinners, as the name suggests, are organic substances that, more or less, perform the same job as a blood thinner. They reduce the blood’s capability of forming clots and, thus, serve as anticoagulants. (2)
Some Popular Natural Blood Thinners
Natural blood thinners include a wide range of spices, herbs, and other natural supplements that are commonly used in our daily life. Some of the popular blood thinners that are fully natural and organic are briefed as follows:
Turmeric, also known as the ‘golden spice,’ has been utilized for several medicinal purposes apart from culinary ones for a long time now. The most important component that is present in turmeric is ‘curcumin’, which gives it a lot of its useful properties.
This curcumin has significant antiplatelet properties that help in reducing the formation of clots in individuals. It does so by altering or inhibiting the coagulation cascade, which further helps in the treatment and prevention of diseases such as venous thromboembolism and other cardiovascular disorders. (3)
However, turmeric should not be considered as a treatment for people with significant bleeding disorders as it would do nothing better in such individuals. (4)
Moreover, people who are already taking blood thinners are advised to use turmeric with caution so as not to exacerbate bleeding risk under any circumstances.
Garlic is another of those popularly used vegetables that are added to almost every other food dish across the world. Garlic is also seen to have significant blood-thinning properties.
In the case of garlic, it is ‘Ajoene,’ a sulfur-containing component that possesses antiplatelet properties. Ajoene is seen to have an irreversible mechanism of action, where it works to inhibit the aggregation of platelets, thus letting the blood flow smoothly and without the formation of any clots. (5)
Any oil-based macerates of garlic are seen to contain the most content of Ajoene and hence, are considered to be the most potent forms of blood thinners present. Garlic is also known better for both its properties of antiplatelet aggregation and controlling hypertension. (6)
However, using garlic in large amounts regularly may cause you to develop heartburn and other stomach issues, so it is better not to make it a regular part of your diet.
3. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is a popularly used plant for skin care. It is seen to have several beneficial properties for human beings. When it comes to talking about its blood thinning or antiplatelet properties, it is seen to be a clear winner here as well.
Aloe vera contains salicylates that impart its anticoagulant properties. These properties help prevent the formation of blood clots to the extent that its function is considered to be somewhat similar to aspirin. However, due to the probable risks of adverse effects such as hypokalemia, hypertensive emergencies, and kidney failure, it is advised to be used with great care and caution. (7)
Ginger is another popular spice that is commonly added to dishes. Ginger also has a similar mechanism of action to Aloe vera because it also contains salicylates. Salicylates work to impart antiplatelet properties just like Aspirin, which contains acetyl acetic acid. (8)
Although on a large scale, it is said that the anticoagulant properties of ginger are not clear and that they need to be studied more in detail to elucidate its mechanism of working properly.
Are There Any Side Effects Of Using Natural Blood Thinners?
With a wide range of benefits comes a more or less equal side effect profile. The same is the case with using natural blood thinners as well.
Firstly, they are not meant to be substituted as pharmacological agents. For people who indeed have a significant risk of thrombosis, it is better to get a proper treatment done rather than opting for these slow-acting blood thinning agents to do the job.
Secondly, using a bit too much of these natural blood thinners might do more harm than good. This applies especially in the case of those people who are already taking antiplatelet or blood thinning medications. Moreover, with natural substances, you can never know what dosage might become too toxic for your body and end up harming its metabolism in the long run.
In case people take too much of both natural and pharmacological blood thinners, it is obvious that they might develop a bleeding risk in extreme cases.
To summarize it all, there are several options available that work as blood thinners. Natural blood thinners include a wide range of popularly used spices, vegetables, and plants. Their mechanism of action varies, but in the majority of all cases, it is seen that the blood thinning properties exist due to the presence of certain components in the specified spices or vegetables.
Natural blood thinners include a wide range of popularly used spices, vegetables, and plants. Their mechanism of action varies, but in the majority of all cases, it is seen that the blood thinning properties exist due to the presence of certain components in the specified spices or vegetables.
However, it is also advised that these natural blood thinning agents should be used with extreme caution as an excess of anything never did any good to anyone. These natural blood thinners should never be used in place of pharmaceutical blood thinners that were created especially to deal with bleeding and clotting risks.
At the end of the day, it is all up to your physician to decide what works best for you while looking at your health condition. Although natural blood thinners might appear to have fewer side effects than their pharmaceutical counterparts, it is best if they are used in moderation and not as a strict part of your routine.
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3. Keihanian F, Saeidinia A, Bagheri RK, Johnston TP, Sahebkar A. Curcumin, hemostasis, thrombosis, and coagulation. J Cell Physiol. 2018 Jun;233(6):4497–511.
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5. Effect of the Garlic Pill in comparison with Plavix on Platelet Aggregation and Bleeding Time – PMC [Internet]. [cited 2023 Apr 9]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3915434/
6. Lawn A, Sains P. Not just a vampire repellent: the adverse effects of garlic supplements in surgery. Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 2012 Sep;94(6):451.
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