Natural anticoagulants are blood thinners that occur in nature. Instead of thinning one’s blood, as the name suggests, a blood thinner makes it harder for the blood to clot. Anticoagulants are typically prescribed to patients who are at risk for certain conditions, such as heart attacks and strokes. Among the many natural anticoagulants are some vitamins, herbs, and substances derived from animal sources. Though such substance do have blood thinning properties, a person can avoid dangerous consequences by speaking with his doctor before using them as anticoagulants.
Garlic, vitamin E, willow bark, and fish oil are among the substances known for their natural blood thinning properties. Some others include ginger, red clover, ginkgo biloba, chamomile, and cayenne pepper. Many people find them useful because they not only help prevent abnormal clotting, but also deliver other benefits. For instance, some of these natural anticoagulants are used in seasoning food, promoting overall health, relieving tension, and even treating symptoms of depression.
Although many natural substances do have anticoagulant properties, they are usually not taken to replace doctor-prescribed blood thinning medications. Usually, people are advised to take anticoagulant medications for serious conditions, such as heart disease. Taking a proven-effective dose of medication in such a situation is critical, and health experts usually advise that the reliability of natural blood thinners is too low to take the place of proven medications.
An exception to the general avoidance of natural anticoagulants for primary treatment is a substance called heparin. This substance naturally occurs in the bodies of human beings as well as some other mammals and helps prevent abnormal blood clotting. Heparin is often used in treatments for blood clots and can be delivered to a patient via an intravenous (IV) line or injection. IV doses, however, are known to work faster than injections and may be used for the more critical cases.
If a person is interested in using natural blood thinners to supplement his treatment, he may do well to consult with a doctor first. Most experts recommend avoiding the overuse of natural substances with anticoagulant properties while a person is also taking pharmaceutical blood thinners. In such a case, the combination of natural anticoagulants and prescription medication can increase the patient's risk of treatment side effects or complications. For example, a high level of natural anticoagulant use in combination with prescribed medication can cause abnormal bleeding, nosebleeds, and bruising. Some people might also note blood in their urine as a result.