Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Natural Alternatives to Blood Thinners

Blood clots are beneficial when it comes to closing external wounds. However, they can also be the trigger of life threatening medical diseases like stroke and heart attack when they block blood vessels that are connected to vital organs.

Blood thinners are prescribed to patients who have problems with clotting, atrial fibrillation, and heart defects. These drugs minimize the occurrence of blood clots internally. However, the most notable side effect when using blood thinners is an excessive bleeding even from the most trivial of wounds.

Fortunately there are many natural ways to reduce blood clotting and improve overall cardiovascular health. From oriental herbs to the most common beverage known to man, here are some natural alternatives to blood thinners:

IMPORTANT: Seek the advice of a cardiologist before choosing an alternative to avoid potential side effects, considering that blood clots are a very serious medical condition.

Do not substitute this for actual advice from an expert as many cases require treatment that CAN NOT be remedied with natural options.  These natural options may only be helpful in addition to treatments, again consult with a medical professional before self treating or self diagnosing. Ignoring this may result in serious harm or possibly death.

1. Alcohol

It is said that moderation is always a good thing, and the same can be said when it comes to drinking alcoholic substances. Alcohol is found to enhance the amount of good cholesterols in the heart, or high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, and is also a mild blood thinner by reducing instances of cells clumping that lead to blockages in the veins. The saying “French paradox” states that the French have a low risk of heart disease despite having high-fat food as a major part of their diet, and their habit of regularly drinking red wine may be the reason why. Despite its alleged efficacy, drinking too much alcohol may actually put the body at risk.

2. Dong Quai

Dong Quai

Also known as the female ginseng, dong quai is an herb native to China’s high altitude regions and has earned a spot in their traditional medicine for its benefits. The herb is used for treating fatigue, inflammation, migraine, osteoarthritis, premenstrual syndrome, premature ejaculations, and many others. Dong quai contains the compound coumarin, a known anticoagulant that is also found in some drugs that act as blood thinners. Dried forms of the herb are found in capsules and tablets, and are sold in most oriental health stores. Some health care professionals administer dong quai via injections, which is not recommended to be performed alone at home.

3. Exercise

It is common knowledge that a lack of exercise is never good for one’s body, and those who remain stagnant for almost the whole day is at risk of many possible health conditions that may become life threatening in the long run. For those who are new to the world of exercise, a 30 minute walk on a daily basis is a good start, increasing the time spent every week afterwards. Going to the gym, swimming, running, and biking are among the most well-known exercise routines available. Try not to engage in more strenuous physical activities like freerunning, parkour, or hiking difficult mountains without proper conditioning and preparation, nor push the body too hard past its limits, as these habits may lead to more harm than good. When coupled with a healthy diet, exercise becomes more effective in keeping the body and all of its functions in top shape.

4. Garlic

From the time of ancient pharaohs and the great pyramids, up to the two world wars, garlic has been used as a powerful medicine and as part of food. Its cloves contain allicin, a compound that gives garlic its many medicinal properties. Garlic is best known as the go-to dietary supplement when it comes to maintaining optimum heart health, lowering blood pressure, eliminating blood clots and its possible formations, and preventing different kinds of heart disease with regular consumption. Diced raw garlic can be eaten as is, added to dishes as a flavor enhancer, and even used to make garlic oil extract. Also,a wide variety of garlic supplements in capsule form are easily available in the market nowadays.

5. Ginger

Renowned throughout the centuries as a spice, medicine, and a major part of the lucrative spice trade. Ginger treats a wide swath of ailments like inflammation, nausea, bloating, arthritis, diarrhea, headache, asthma, and many others. It also acts as a blood thinner by inhibiting the clumping of platelets and blood cells. Ginger’s powerful health benefits stem from its gingerol content, a compound that gives the spice its unique flavor. For those who seek to use ginger as a blood thinner, the natural forms such as capsule, extract, fresh and preserved, ground, and powdered supplement forms must be chosen. Brewing it into tea is believed to be the most effective way of making the most out of ginger’s benefits, followed by including raw slices on dishes. Ginger ale, despite its inclusion of ginger as a main ingredient, is not as effective as its natural counterparts as it is mixed with chemicals that give it an artificial flavor.

6. Nattokinase


Natto is a Japanese dish that consists of boiled soybeans fermented with Bacillus natto, a bacterium. An enzyme is extracted from the said dish, popularly known as nattokinase. It has been used for many years as a blood thinner, and it augments the body’s innate ability to ward off blood clots and destroying existing ones. Nattokinase also improves the creation of plasmin and urokinase, two enzymes that are responsible for dissolving blood clots such as thrombus and fibrin. Nattokinase is sold in capsule form at various health stores.

7. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega 3

These essential fats are famous for rendering benefits focused on cardiovascular health, and by essential it means that the body cannot produce them by itself and must rely on external sources for supply. Omega-3 fats trigger the creation of hormones that control the movement of artery walls, blood clotting, blood pressure, and reduce the risk of irregular heartbeat and inflammation. Regular consumption of foods rich in omega-3 have shown promising results in preventing stroke, heart disease, and even neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s and depression. Sources include:

a. Seeds – Chia, flaxseed, pumpkin, and sesame.
b. Cooked Fish – Anchovy, herring, mackerel, salmon, and sardine.
c. Fish Oils – Cod liver, herring, menhaden, salmon, and sardine.
d. Roe – Hake, lumpsucker, and salmon
e. Vegetable Oils – Canola, flaxseed oil, and soybean.
f. Nuts – Black walnut, beechnut, butternut, hickory, macadamia, pecan, pine nut, and pistachio.

8. Red Cayenne Pepper

red chilli peppers isolated on white background
red chilli peppers isolated on white background

The South American spice that’s famous for spiking meals with a fiery hot kick. Red cayenne peppers are packed with nutrients, vitamins, and minerals with a very low amount of calories. It is included as part of many detoxifying and cleansing routines for the neutralization of acidity and stimulation of blood flow. Capsaicin, one of the pepper’s main components, contributes to the prevention of heart attacks through topical application. It also has potassium, an important mineral that plays a role in many bodily functions, including the maintenance of blood pressure and heart rate. Additionally, red cayenne pepper helps the body dissolve blood clots that have already formed in the cardiovascular system. Aside from eating them raw or including on dishes, the pepper can be taken in flakes and powder forms, while supplements are sold under the name capsicum.

9. Salicylates

A naturally-occurring chemical found in many fruits and herbs. Salicylates act almost the same as aspirin in preventing cardiovascular conditions like heart attacks, and in relieving pain. The chemical also functions as a blood thinner. Here are several known sources of salicylates:

a. Fruits – Cherries, cranberries, grapes, oranges, prunes, raisins, strawberries, and tangerines are some fruits that contain salicylates. Eating these fruits, whether eaten as is or drank as juice, thins the blood and inhibits clotting caused by vitamin K. It is imperative that consumption must be monitored in order to avoid excessive thinning.

b. Herbs – Herbal sources of salicylates are aspen, dill, ocimum, oregano, patchouli, peppermint, securidaca, and thyme. These herbs are available in capsule, dried leaves for tea, extract, tincture, and tablet forms which are easily obtained in many local health stores.

10. Turmeric

A spice that has been used for more than 4,000 years in the realms of medicine and cuisine in many different cultures. An important ingredient of sweet and savory Southern Asian dishes, turmeric is also a potent anti-inflammatory, and an effective remedy for problems in the liver and stomach. Similar to ginger, turmeric also acts as a blood thinner by preventing the formation of blood clots through platelet clumping. One of its active ingredients, curcumin, is what gives turmeric its color and incredible health benefits as it is a very effective antiviral, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory. Turmeric can be taken as a capsule, extract, tincture, and powdered to be used as a cooking ingredient. It is also possible to make turmeric tea with either ground turmeric or an inch of its root for a warm and healthy drink.

11. Vitamin E

A study published in 2007 at the journal Circulation subjected a large number of participants to an alternating dosage of placebo and vitamin E. After a couple of years, those who had vitamin E had fewer occurrences of venous thromboembolism (blood clots that form in the veins) than those who had placebo. Vitamin E also widens blood vessels that minimize the risk of clotting, and aids in the body’s use of vitamin K and in the development of erythrocytes, or red blood cells. The vitamin is a well-known antioxidant that protects the body from free radicals, a major cause of many health problems, and repairs damage that’s already done. Rich sources of vitamin E are:

a. Nuts – Almond, hazelnut, pecan, pistachio, and walnut.
b. Seeds – Pumpkin, sesame, squash, and sunflower.
c. Seafood – Crayfish, herring, oyster, shrimp, salmon, and swordfish.
d. Fruits – Avocado, kiwi, pumpkin, mango, and tomato
e. Vegetables – Broccoli, collard, kale, spinach, turnip greens, and Swiss chard
f. Tofu

12. Water

Perhaps the most accessible natural alternative in this list. Water is readily available, virtually does no harm, and is overall good for the body. Dehydration makes the blood thicker, and rehydrating the body with soda or other sugary beverages is not the ideal choice to restore lost fluids. In fact, these kinds of drinks make matters worse by drawing out the water from the bloodstream, making blood a lot more thick. As for water, it helps maintain the proper flow of blood throughout the entire circulatory system by thinning it, reducing the risk of stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. Water’s benefits are without any drawbacks, provided that it is clean and safe to drink. The recommended amount of water per day should be based on: Half of the pounds in the body weight is the amount in ounces that should be drank. So if the weight is at 160lbs, the intake of water in a day should be at 80 ounces.

Bridget Rogers
Bridget Rogers
Bridget Rogers is an independent freelance writer based out of Madison, Wisconsin. Bridget's work can be found on a variety of sources in both online and print media.


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