From the Studio of Dr. Toni Harrison: Blood Thinners and Common Supplements – What You Should Know.

I want to go through a quick list of some of the herbs that are known to have blood thinning properties. If you are already on a blood thinner, you definitely want to be more cautious of those herbs and you might want to mention it to your provider to make sure that they’re aware of what you’re taking, including supplements so your prescription dose can be decreased if needed.You also want to use caution if you are combining several of these because different herbs or supplements can interact with other medications or complicate procedures. Let’s go over the herbal medications that can cause blood thinning. I also want to stress that whatever vitamins, herbs, supplements that you’re taking, please be sure to include all of that in your list of medications to your healthcare providers because there are interactions and complications. Ask for specific clarification on specific supplements, they should have the complete information.

One night I was on trauma call at the hospital and the trauma surgeon came up to me and he said, “I don’t know what to tell you. I need to take this lady to surgery. I can’t explain it, but I’m going to have to take her spleen out. I can’t get control of her bleeding and she’s not on any blood thinners.” So I went down to the ER and did a pre-anesthetic interview and she was an elderly lady and she had tripped in her living room and hit her left flank on her coffee table. So I went back up to the operating room and I said to the trauma surgeon, I said, “She’s on three blood thinners.” And he says, “What do you mean she’s on three blood thinners?” And I said, “She’s on fish oil, garlic and ginkgo. She’s on three blood thinners.” And he said, “Are you kidding me? I didn’t think that stuff really worked.” And I said, “Yes, of course it works!” Fish oil has long been known to be a blood thinner, and typically that’s the one that we want discontinued for four weeks before surgery. It impacts the ability of the platelets to stick. Let me explain: when you first need to make a blood clot, there are protein strings that get laid down and then the platelets get stuck in these protein strings and then the platelets all start to stick to each other. And there’s white blood cells that get in there to fight any potential infection. So that whole blob ends up becoming a scab, what we think of as a scab, but it needs to have “stickiness” to it. After fish oil, you want to turn your attention to turmeric, it’s anti-inflammatory and it also has some anticoagulant properties to it.

Ginger, has salicylate in it and acetylsalicylic acid is in aspirin. Ginger has a chemical that is in the aspirin family and it will act as a blood thinner. I guess you could say ginger is the “bioidentical” and aspirin is the “synthetic” derivative. Cayenne peppers are also high in salicylates. Vitamin E has long been known to be a blood thinner, as well as garlic and cinnamon. Cinnamon has coumarin in it; Warfarin or Coumadin is a “coumarin”. So cinnamon is the “bioidentical” or natural product and Warfarin is the “synthetic”, the product that’s derived from the chemical in cinnamon. I always find it humorous the way that traditional doctors don’t think the herbal medicines work, but a lot of our traditional prescriptions started from an herbal medication.

Next is ginkgo biloba, which thins the blood and it acts similar to a ‘strepto kinase’ and is used to break down blood clots. Grape seed extract has blood thinning qualities. Dong quai also has coumarin in it. Feverfew makes the platelets less sticky, therefore it prevents the blood clotting. Bromelain is a chemical in pineapple and it’s an enzyme. It breaks down protein. So with blood clots it would break down those protein strings and break down the blood clot and prevents the body from being able to form a clot or scab.

If you have any questions about blood thinners and supplements, please reach out and let me know. There are many safe and natural products that contribute to Healthy and Strong living. Do something today to feel healthier tomorrow! Have a great day!

If you are interested in having a consultation with Dr. Toni Harrison, please call us at 480-418-3678.

 

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