Natural blood thinners can help to prevent your blood from becoming too thick and keep blood clots from forming or getting larger. Some blood-thinning foods and supplements include turmeric, garlic, Ginkgo biloba, cinnamon, and omega-3. Also, some vitamins such as vitamin E and vitamin C help to improve your blood circulation and are good for your heart.
Blood clotting is essential to prevent too much bleeding when you have an injury. However, if your blood coagulates too much, clots can form and may travel through your arteries and affect your heart, lungs, or brain. Blood-thinning foods, vitamins, and supplements can help to reduce the risk of serious clotting.
It is important to know that natural blood thinners may not work as well as medication prescribed by your doctor. So, before you think about changing your blood thinner medication such as warfarin (coumadin) or Xarelto, you should consult with your physician.
In this article, you will learn about foods, supplements, and vitamins that have blood thinning properties. You will also find out about any precautions when using natural blood thinning supplements.
What are Natural Blood Thinners?
Natural blood thinners help to prevent blood platelets from clumping together easily to form clots.
Although the term “blood thinners” is commonly used, it is more correct to refer to them as anti-clotting substances. There are two types of “blood thinning” substances – anticoagulants and antiplatelets. Some natural compounds act as anticoagulants and slow down the time blood takes to clot. Other natural substances stop platelets sticking to each other to have a “blood thinning” effect.
Blood thinners affect the fibrinolytic system which is connected to blood coagulation. Fibrinolysis describes the process in the blood that prevents blood clots from forming and causing complications.
For example, one naturally-occurring anti-clotting compound is coumarin. This anticoagulant compound occurs naturally in some types of cinnamon. Coumarin is also synthesized and used in anticoagulants such as warfarin.
Who Needs Blood Thinners?
Doctors from the National Health Service say that medication to prevent blood clots helps to prevent blood vessels from becoming blocked. A blocked artery can stop blood flow to essential organs that may cause serious health consequences.
Other reasons for taking blood thinners can include being overweight, recovering from surgery, or have any kind of blood vessel disease.
Even though there are a number of natural substances that have anticoagulant activity, you shouldn’t view these as natural alternatives to blood thinner medication. Prescription anticoagulants or antiplatelet medication is usually required if you are at risk from blood clots.
At the end of the article, you can find out about precautions you should take if you use blood thinning medication along with blood-thinning foods.
The Best Natural Blood Thinners
Let’s look in more detail at natural anticoagulants that can help to improve your circulation and keep your blood healthy.
Turmeric is a Natural Blood Thinner
Turmeric contains compounds that have an anticoagulant effect and can help to thin the blood. The compound in turmeric with anticoagulant properties is curcumin. Curcumin is a well-known anti-inflammatory substance that has many health benefits.
Studies have shown that curcumin inhibits coagulant enzymes in the blood that cause clotting. Scientists found that curcumin has anti-thrombotic properties and taking curcumin daily can help to thin the blood.
A 2018 study found that curcumin acts as an herbal blood thinner because of its anticoagulation properties and fibrinolytic effect. Taking curcumin regularly can help to prevent certain cardiovascular diseases and support blood health.
Learn more about taking curcumin for its medicinal benefits and why you should avoid using turmeric if you take blood-thinning medication.
Ginger is an Herbal Blood Thinner
Ginger helps to “thin the blood” by helping to prevent platelets from sticking together to form clots.
A 2015 review of studies into the blood-thinning effect of ginger found that the spice can affect platelet aggregation (clumping together). One clinical trial found that taking 5 g of ginger powder twice a day helped to reduce platelets clumping together. However, some trials didn’t show any anti-clotting effect of ginger.
Other studies have found that herbal supplements such as ginger may affect blood clotting after surgery and increase the risk of bleeding. Researchers also advised that taking ginger and blood thinners such as warfarin together is not a good idea.
Garlic is a Natural Blood Thinning Food
Garlic can help to prevent clotting because it helps to lower clotting enzymes in the blood. One study on rats found that fresh garlic has an anti-thrombotic effect and can help improve blood health. The study also showed that onions can help thin the blood, although they weren’t as effective as garlic.
A review into the medicinal properties of garlic also found that garlic supplements can help to prevent thrombosis. Taking aged garlic can help to prevent clots from forming and boost blood vessel health.
Other studies have shown that garlic can help to prevent cardiovascular disease and lower high blood pressure naturally. Find out more reasons why you should add garlic to your diet and how this herb has powerful antibiotic properties.
Vitamin E Helps Thin the Blood
Taking vitamin E supplements can help to improve blood circulation and prevent clotting.
One study involving nearly 40,000 women found that taking 600 IU of vitamin E on alternate days may help prevent venous thromboembolism. This condition can cause blood clots to form in the deep veins of the arm, leg, or groin.
The anti-clotting properties of vitamin E can also help to prevent heart attacks and stroke in people at risk of these conditions.
Other studies have suggested that taking vitamin E for your blood health can also prevent heart disease. However, it seems that too much vitamin E could be detrimental to your cardiovascular health.
Cayenne Pepper is a Natural Anticoagulant
Taking cayenne pepper may be a natural way to help treat thick blood and prevent platelets from clumping together.
Cayenne pepper contains the spicy compound capsaicin that has blood thinning properties. Studies have found that capsaicin has both an anticoagulant and antiplatelet effect on the blood and can help prevent clotting.
Another way that cayenne pepper may help as a natural blood thinner is that it contains salicylates. Salicylic acid is a compound that is a major component in aspirin that is often used for its blood thinning and anti-clotting properties.
In fact, some researchers have found that spicy curries containing turmeric, chili powder, and paprika may contain “pharmacological amounts” of salicylic acid. Some researchers advise against taking capsaicin supplements along with antiplatelet or anticoagulant drugs.
Cinnamon is an Herbal Blood Thinner
Cinnamon has a compound that thins blood similar to popular pharmacological blood thinners.
Certain types of cinnamon have powerful anticoagulants properties similar to warfarin. Researchers have found that Cassia cinnamon contains coumarin that can help to prevent clotting. However, studies have also shown that high doses of Cassia cinnamon may negatively impact on liver health.
Because high levels of coumarin in Cassia cinnamon can pose a number of health risks, you should stick to Ceylon cinnamon as a health supplement. However, Ceylon cinnamon may not have enough coumarin to effectively thin blood.
Find out how to use this delicious spice for its numerous health benefits and how to tell the difference between a stick of Cassia cinnamon and Ceylon cinnamon.
Ginkgo Biloba Can Help to Thin Your Blood
Taking Ginkgo biloba may help to get rid of blood clots naturally due to its anticoagulation properties.
The journal Experimental & Clinical Cardiology reported that Ginkgo biloba is an herbal blood thinner. Scientists used Ginkgo biloba extracts to help resolve blood clots, however, more research on humans needs to be carried out.
Because Ginkgo biloba reduces clotting, it may not be suitable to take along with anticoagulant medication. Researchers have also found that Ginkgo biloba may increase the risk of bleeding in elderly people.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids Supplements Can Help Thin the Blood
Taking omega-3 supplements can boost your cardiovascular health and help prevent blood from becoming too thick.
Researchers have found that, in animal studies, omega-3 fish oil prevents blood from coagulating too quickly. At the same time, omega-3 supplements help to lower cholesterol and improve blood health.
One case report found that omega-3 could interact and increase the anticoagulation potential of warfarin. Researchers suggested that patients who take warfarin and omega-3 should be regularly monitored to check their blood health.
Find out more about the many reasons to supplement your diet with omega-3 fish oil.
Green Tea as a Natural Blood Thinning Drink
One way to treat thick blood is to regularly consume green tea. Green tea contains a compound called epigallocatechin (EGC) that has an antiplatelet and anticoagulation effect. One study on mice found that green tea catechins helped prevent platelet aggregation.
Another study found that green tea compounds have the potential to help reduce the risk of blood clots. This study showed that green tea has antiplatelet activities to benefit blood health.
Although green tea is very healthy for you, care should be taken if you have to take anticoagulant medication. Studies have shown that green tea is a potential source of vitamin K that can affect the effectiveness of warfarin.
Consuming green tea every day not only benefits your heart health but can help you lose weight and boost your cognitive function.
Red Wine Helps to Thin Blood Naturally
When consumed in moderation, alcohol can thin the blood and benefit your coagulation system.
The journal Nutrients reported that moderate amounts of wine and beer have anticoagulant, anti-inflammatory, and hypotensive properties. Consuming alcohol in moderation can help to protect against myocardial infarction (heart attack).
Studies into the benefits of the Mediterranean diet have found that red wine helps to prevent platelet aggregation and also balance coagulation in the blood.
Of course, drinking too much alcohol has a negative effect on your health and vascular system. Studies have shown that alcohol intoxication can increase the risk of venous thromboembolism and stroke.
Drinking too much wine, beer, or spirits is also one of the bad habits that can damage your liver.
Other Natural Blood Thinners
There are other blood thinning foods that can benefit your health and help prevent blood from becoming too thick. Here are a few:
Grape seed extract. Taking grape seed extract is useful to help address issues related to blood circulation. Researchers say that the anticoagulant properties of grape seed extract can cause your blood to thin too much if you are taking warfarin or aspirin as blood thinners.
Feverfew. Researchers have found that the medicinal plant feverfew can inhibit the activity of platelets. Feverfew can reduce blood clotting and should be avoided if you take blood thinners.
Dong quai. This herb is traditionally used in Chinese medicine and helps prevent platelets from clumping together to form clots. Bromelain. Bromelain is an enzyme found in pineapples that has antithrombotic activities. Bromelain affects blood coagulation and can help to reduce clotting.
Precautions When Taking Natural Blood Thinners
There are many foods, supplements, and vitamins that help thin the blood to some extent. However, it is important to remember that it is difficult to dissolve blood clots naturally. Natural remedies to thin the blood may not be as effective as prescription medication.
If you take blood-thinning medication to prevent a stroke, thick blood, or clots, you should take into consideration that natural substances can interact with drugs. Taking medicinal amounts of natural substances such as turmeric, garlic, or ginger along with prescription blood thinners can cause the blood to thin too much. This can increase your risk of bleeding.
For example, research has shown that too much garlic can affect platelet function and increase the risk of bleeding. Garlic may also interact with prescription anticoagulants and increase their effectiveness.
Other studies have found that many herbal remedies can have a negative impact on warfarin.
Usually, including foods such as garlic, turmeric, or cinnamon in your diet as a flavoring or spice will not affect prescription medications to thin blood. However, it is essential to consult with your doctor before taking herbal supplements while taking blood thinners.