Many people feel that because something is natural, it is automatically safe. Supplements such as ginger are often used as food, or for seasonings. Those who take herbal supplements often overlook that they can have negative side effects. This is especially true for people that take anticoagulant or blood thinner medications such as Plavix, Coumadin, Heparin. Some supplements change the way anticoagulants work. Herbal supplements and food can be natural blood thinners that can impact prescribed medication.

Bleeding injuryCredit: Public domain couresy Sumaisa

If a person is already taking an anticoagulant medicine such as Plavix or other blood thinners, could be especially dangerous by reducing the blood’s ability to clot even further. Several herbal and dietary supplements fall into this category of side effects. In other instances, the supplement will promote clotting and remove the effect of the medicine.

Salicylates is a substance found in food and herbal supplements that thins blood by blocking vitamin K. Salicylates are found in many fruits and vegetables. Perhaps the most common item that falls into this group is aspirin. Ginger, Dong Quai (angelica), ginkgo biloba, ginseng, and Saint John’s wort are all anticoagulants. Foods that contain salicylates, such as garlic, fish and fish oil supplements, raisins, grapes, strawberries, olives, olive oil, olive leaf and olive leaf extract and oranges thin blood. Vitamin E can also thin the blood. It is relatively uncommon, but it is possible.

It is possible for these foods, vitamins, and herbal supplements to reduce the bloods ability to clot in addition to the anticoagulant medication. These foods, supplements and vitamins can be the cause of trace amounts of blood in urine.

Vitamin K is a supplement that is a natural coagulant. This vitamin plays a big role in keeping the blood from becoming too thin. Foods high in vitamin K increase the bloods natural clotting capabilities. Greens, such as spinach, kale, collard greens, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, parsley, and Romaine lettuce contain high amounts of Vitamin K. These foods can partially override the effectiveness of blood thinning medication.

Omega 3 fatty acids are high in salicylates and is a natural anticoagulant. It may also effect blood sugar and may increase fasting blood sugar levels. Patients with diabetes should discuss this possibility with their doctor.

Herbal supplements, vitamins and foods all have an effect on the body. A person should discuss with a physician natural blood thinner supplements and vitamins, and how they interact with a prescription blood thinner or other prescriptions. The foods, herbal supplements listed are a few of the ones that are anticoagulants, and many more supplements and vitamins influence a prescription blood thinners. These supplements may cause the prescription thinner to work more effectively and make the blood thinner, or change the way the prescribed medicine works. Even though they may be natural, they are capable of causing harm. Herbal supplements will influence prescription medicine, and should be researched and discussed with a physician.