Herbal Anticoagulants or Blood Thinners

Homeopathic medicine can be extremely effective. But mixing herbal remedies with prescribed medications can be dangerous. It pays to know your ingredients.

Several herbal remedies are used as anticoagulants, or blood thinners, to help guard against stroke, clogged arteries, and other circulatory complaints.  Some are extremely effective, while others still belong in the folklore category – not necessarily because they don’t work, but because not enough testing has been done as yet to be sure of proper dosage or possible side effects.  A holistic practitioner, herbalist, or naturopathic doctor can help you plan a regimen that is safe and effective for you.  No matter what expert advice you seek, it is critical that they know all medications and herbal remedies or supplements you are taking.

A documented story is told of a 70 year old woman who was taking warfarin to combat stroke.  Warfarin is an anticoagulant that thins the blood and helps prevent clotting.  This lady drank chamomile tea at night to help her sleep.  One night she was admitted to the emergency room with internal bleeding, and almost died.  She never thought to tell her doctor she drank herbal tea, or to research the herb thoroughly. 

 Listed here are several common herbs or herbal remedies that have an anticoagulant effect.  If used appropriately, they may help you reduce your high blood pressure and prevent stroke and other circulatory problems.  But if you are taking prescribed blood thinners, check with a physician before adding any of them to your diet.

Chamomile – has anti-inflammatory properties; calms spasms in the digestive tract; used as a sleep aid; and a powerful anticoagulant.  Also a relative of the ragweed family, allergic reactions are fairly common.

Danshen – Traditionally an important herb in Chinese medicine, it is related to culinary sage.  Used to treat bleeding, abnormal menstruation, miscarriage, insomnia, and hepatitis.  Anticoagulant properties.  Side effects are mild, including dizziness, headache, and mild GI symptoms.

Garlic - Effective for treating or preventing high blood pressure, arterial clogging, heart disease, and blood cholesterol.  Also thought to help prevent some cancers, though no evidence supports this.  Never take before or after surgery or dental work due to blood thinning properties.  Other side effects are bad breath or body odor, mild upset stomach.  Note:  Garlic interferes with the drug Saquinavir, a drug used to combat HIV infection.

Gingko - Used to effectively treat asthma, bronchitis, fatigue, tinnitus, narrowing of arteries, sexual dysfunction, and multiple sclerosis. A powerful blood thinner. Also promoted as a memory enhancer and possible aid for Alzheimer’s patients.  Side effects can include headache, nausea, diarrhea, GI upset. 

Devil’s Claw - Potent anti-inflammatory and pain reducer.  Used for relief of back and neck pain, arthritis and rheumatoid diseases, tendonitis. Should never be used if you have chronic or bleeding ulcers, gallstones, diabetes, or are pregnant.

Ginseng – Has many general health benefits. However, ginseng increases the effect of blood thinners, and of other herbs like Devil’s Claw that are blood thinners.

Fish Oil – While beneficial in lowering triglycerides, arterial plaque buildup, etc, high doses of fish oil may increase the risk of bleeding.

Willow Bark - Contains natural salicin, a fever reducer, pain reliever and anti-inflammatory.  The ingredient in aspirin is the synthetic copy of salicin.  Willow bark is a blood thinner.

Feverfew – also called bachelor’s buttons.  Has been used to treat and prevent migraines, headaches, toothaches, stomachaches, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.  Side effects can include mild nervousness or sleeplessness.  It has mild anticoagulant properties.

Goji berries – Also known as wolfbarries, are high in antioxidents and considered the new ‘superfood’.  There is some risk of blood thinning with prolonged use.

Disclaimer:  Information included here is meant for educational purposes only, and not as a diagnosis or replacement for proper qualified medical help.  Herbal or homeopathic ingredients are like any medication; They must be quality ingredients, harvested and stored correctly, measured and prepared accurately, and used at the right times in the right way.  Mixing ingredients can be beneficial or harmful.  Be sure to do your research thoroughly, using qualified herbalists, nutritionists, and the medical community as sources for information. 

Part of self-treating any condition includes knowing when it is time to see the doctor.  Herbal or homeopathic remedies should not take the place of proper medical care, but compliment it.  If using such remedies when going to see a doctor, take a complete description of them with you.


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  1. This is a very informative article and and is worthy of taking note of if you are taking any of these remedies. Thank you for the information.


  2. a very interesting article and very informative.

  3. Very informative without getting wordy. Nice job. Thanks for this info – it is helpful!

  4. Great information and a well written article…Thanks for cluing us in!

  5. life-saving info you have here.. great share..

  6. is there any substitute that has been successful to taking warafin or cumadin? thanks. sandra

  7. You know, the more I read your blog, the more I like it. And I found it from the Atheists & Anger post, so I liked it a whole
    hell of a lot to begin with.

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