Blood thinning herbs are generally used to treat conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart diseases and some forms of cancer. Such herbs slow blood clotting by increasing water content in the blood.
In general, if you are already taking blood thinner medications, you should avoid blood thinning herbs, as they can interfere with the medications and cause severe side effects that may include bleeding. Also, considering the very fact that these herbs, as anticoagulants, are used to treat conditions that can sometimes be life threatening, you must use it in proper dosage as prescribed by your doctor only. Following are some of the most common herbs that are used as natural blood thinners.
Top Blood Thinning Herbs
Gingko contains terpene lactones, isorhamnetin, kaemferol and quercetin. The combined effect of all these components have been found to be very helpful in dilating small blood vessels, making the blood cells more flexible and in inhibiting blood clotting.
You can prepare a herbal tea using gingko leaves or take it in supplement form.
Medically termed as Gaultheria Procumbens, wintergreen carries analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. It also contains methyl salicylate that makes this herb act like an anticoagulant when used as a part of blood thinning herbal medication. The essential oil extracted from its leaves is used for medicinal purposes.
White Willow Bark
White willow bark contains salicylic acid that inhibits prostaglandins, prevents blood clotting and thins blood. It does so by interfering with the platelet aggregation. Since this herb also acts as a natural analgesic, you should not take it with over-the-counter aspirin or other such medications.
It is generally taken in the form of herbal tea, which you can prepare by steeping the herb in boiling water. Also, willow bark is generally used in combination with other herbs, such as cayenne peppers and ginger.
Ginger carries powerful anti-inflammatory as well as antioxidant properties, which have also been found to be very helpful in removing plaque accumulation from blood. It does so mainly by thinning the blood. Due to this reason, it is one of the most popular herbs used to reduce the levels of bad cholesterol and blood pressure. However, if you are taking warfarin or other such medications, consuming excessive ginger should strictly be avoided, as it can cause bleeding.
Turmeric contains a natural substance called curcumin that carries anti-coagulant, anti-platelet and cardio-protective features. Turmeric also has natural antioxidant properties.
All these factors make it a very useful herb to treat conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease. It improves blood circulation in the body by thinning the blood, which also helps in removal of plaques from artery walls. You can use turmeric in your foods as a spice. Alternatively, turmeric supplements are also available. If you are already taking medications for high blood pressure or high cholesterol, you should avoid this herb.
Garlic is anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and it is also a powerful natural antioxidant. But, the main reason why it is used as a natural blood thinner is its potent anticoagulant and plasma lipid-lowering properties.
Due to the natural ability of garlic to thin blood, it is popularly used to lower blood cholesterol, reduce high blood pressure and also to minimize the risks of atherosclerosis. You can use garlic liberally in your foods or take it in supplement form.
Blood thinning herbs can be very effective in relieving clogged arteries, but excessive use of it can prove to be fatal, especially when a vein or artery gets injured – it may start bleeding uncontrollably. Therefore, you should avoid excessive dosage of the above herbs. Those who are suffering from heart diseases, high blood pressure and high cholesterol must strictly follow the dosage recommended by their doctors. For healthy people (who are not affected with any serious disease and are not taking any medications), herbs like ginger, garlic and turmeric are generally safe. But, excessive use should still be avoided.