Blood thinners lower the blood’s capacity to clot. Blood clotting is important to heal wounds, but dangerous complications can arise if the blood starts to clot a lot.
Blood thinners operate in two ways. The first is that anticoagulants slow down the clotting rate.
The second is that antiplatelets prevent clots by stopping blood cells from adhering to each other.
Individuals that have specific medical conditions, like congenital heart issues, may take blood thinning medication to lower the risk of strokes or heart attacks.
You may be prescribed these if you are at risk of experiencing blood clots.
There are also natural blood thinners, like spices, foods, and herbs, that might prevent clots from occurring.
You’ll learn some examples of natural blood-thinning vitamins and supplements in this article.
Remember to talk to your medical provider before using natural remedies, as these may interfere with the effectiveness of your current medication, and won’t work as well as prescription drugs.
Vitamin E helps prevent blood clotting in several ways, but the results vary depending on how much of the vitamin a person takes.
It’s recommended that anyone on blood-thinning medications avoid consuming large amounts of vitamin E.
We still don’t exactly know what quantities of vitamin E are needed to thin the blood, though it’s probable that over 400 IU (international units) are required each day.
Consuming large amounts of vitamin E supplements, for instance, over 1500 IU per day, may have adverse effects when continued long-term.
For this reason, it may be a better idea to get vitamin E from foods instead of supplements. Some foods that are high in vitamin E are:
- Whole grains
- Sunflower oil
- Peanut butter
- Safflower oil
- Sunflower seeds
Additionally to adding taste to recipes, garlic has antimicrobial and antibiotic qualities.
A 2015 study noted that supplements, like garlic, can have effects on coagulation and platelets, so people having surgery should avoid taking them.
One study in 2018 looked at rats and found that garlic powder had antithrombotic effects in them. Antithrombotic substances help prevent blood clots from forming.
A 2020 review looked at several studies to find that garlic supplements had light antithrombotic properties and also helped to lower blood pressure.
You can add garlic cloves, powder, or paste to your cooking, or find garlic extract supplements at health food stores.
Turmeric is a spice that has long since been used in certain cuisines, but it is also a popular medicinal remedy.
Turmeric contains curcumin, an active substance that may have blood-thinning and anti-inflammatory effects.
Turmeric may aid in preventing blood clots, which is why people should use caution when taking turmeric alongside blood-thinning medication.
You drink a mixture of turmeric, honey, and hot water for a soothing cup of tea, or simply add turmeric to your soups and curries.
Ginger is an anti-inflammatory ingredient that may prevent blood clots. Salicylate, a natural acid, is present in ginger.
Acetylsalicylic acid, known more commonly as aspirin, is an artificial by-product of salicylate. It’s also an effective blood thinner.
You can get the anticoagulant effects from ginger by adding it to your juices, baked cooks, and recipes. Both dried and fresh ginger will work for this.
Remember that natural salicylates won’t be as potent as prescribed blood thinners.
We still don’t have a full picture of how ginger affects blood clotting, so more studies are needed to further understand this.
Cayenne pepper is another ingredient that contains a lot of salicylates, so it may have noticeable blood-thinning effects.
One study in 2019 looked at blood type O+ samples and found that cayenne pepper extract slowed down blood clotting in them.
Cayenne pepper is spicy, so some people may not be able to consume a lot of it.
If you aren’t a fan of spice, you can purchase cayenne pepper capsules online and in health food stores. Some other advantages of cayenne pepper are:
- Improving circulation
- Decreasing painful feelings
- Lower blood pressure
A substance called coumarin, a strong blood-thinner is present within cinnamon. Warfarin, a popular blood-thinning medication, is sourced from coumarin.
Chinese cassia cinnamon has more coumarin compared to Ceylon cinnamon.
Despite this, you should take caution when taking cinnamon that’s high in coumarin, as it may lead to liver damage when taken long-term.
For this reason, it’s better to add small quantities of cinnamon to your diet and take other natural blood thinners instead of relying on supplements.
A substance taken from pineapples, the enzyme bromelain may have anti-inflammatory effects, making it a suitable remedy for cardiovascular disorders.
A study in 2016 found that adding bromelain to blood samples increased the prothrombin time, which is the time blood takes to clot.
Despite these findings, the same effect did not appear when mice were injected with bromelain, so more studies need to look into its blood clotting effects.
You can find bromelain health supplements at most drugstores and health stores.
The leaves from the Ginkgo Biloba tree have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries.
Ginkgo has become a very popular supplement in Europe and the United States, as it’s often taken to relieve memory issues and blood disorders.
A 2019 study found that some of the compounds present in Ginkgo biloba may hinder thrombin, an enzyme responsible for blood clots.
This sounds promising, but bear in mind that the research was carried out in a laboratory instead of on animal or human participants.
More studies are needed to see if these effects will also occur in humans.
People have been applying aloe topically and taking it as a supplement for centuries. Aloe may help certain conditions, like diabetes, inflammation, and constipation (see also “Is There A Potential Link Between Constipation And Chest Pain?“).
Similarly to cayenne pepper and ginger, aloe contains salicylates that may have blood-thinning properties.
A study in 2020 found that when aloe vera gel was added to blood samples, the result was an antiplatelet effect, like that of aspirin.
More studies are needed to look into how aloe supplements affect humans.
Aloe is available in soft gels and capsules. As it may potentially affect bleeding, you should stop taking aloe a minimum of two weeks before surgery.
Grape Seed Extract
Grape seed extract might have possible benefits that can help blood and heart conditions.
Studies have also suggested that the extract might improve high blood pressure, but these findings are mixed.
Grape seed extract might also be an organic blood thinner. The NCCIH recommends that specific groups shouldn’t consume grape seed extract, which are:
- People who are about to have surgery
- People who take blood-thinning drugs
- People with blood disorders
There is no established grape seed extract dosage, though doses between 100 and 400 mg have been used in studies.
Your particular dose will depend on your medical history, including your age, weight, and gender.
This traditional Chinese herb, which is also called female ginseng, may prevent blood clots from forming.
This may be the result of coumarin, the agent that also makes cinnamon an effective anticoagulant.
Despite this, a 2015 study found that consuming 1000 mg of Dong Quai per day didn’t have major effects on blood clots, though more studies are needed to confirm this.
You can mix Dong Quai in soups and herbal teas, or simply take it orally.
This medicinal herb comes from the Asteraceae family. Feverfew is normally taken to improve fever, migraines, and rheumatoid arthritis.
A case report in 2020 found that women who took feverfew had a longer menstrual cycle afterward.
Once they stopped taking the herb, their blood coagulation went back to normal. More studies with larger participant groups are required to confirm these findings.
The authors advise avoiding feverfew supplements before an operation and alongside prescription blood thinners. You can find feverfew available in liquid and capsule forms.
The Bottom Line
A lot of natural remedies may reduce blood clotting, but in most cases, these remedies won’t work as well as prescribed blood thinning medication.
Never substitute your prescription medication for natural remedies if you are at risk of blood clots.
If you do take blood thinners, don’t start taking natural remedies unless you have discussed this with your doctors.