There are a number of natural blood thinners (anticoagulants) that will help prevent blood clots. Many of these natural remedies will provide other health benefits as well. Treating an existing blood clot, however, is a medical emergency requiring a doctor’s treatment and supervision.
What Is a Blood Clot?
A blood clot is a buildup of blood and tissue inside one of your veins or arteries, a natural bodily function that can quickly become a deadly killer. When blood fails to circulate properly, blood clots form. When you are wounded, blood naturally clots to stop bleeding. However, blood clots can also create a blockage in your veins or arteries, break loose and travel to the heart, lungs or brain, causing life-threatening heart attacks, strokes, embolisms or other health emergencies.
Natural Blood Thinners
Sunshine, Water and Exercise
- Vitamin D from sunshine has long been recognized by Ayurvedic medicine as a natural blood thinner.
- Water is a very effective blood thinner. Drinking about 1/2 ounce of water per pound of body weight (50 oz. if you weigh 100 lbs.) every day will help keep the blood from thickening and clumping.
- Moderate daily exercise will also help thin the blood. Remaining stationary for long periods of time (a long trip or hours on the couch) will increase the risk of a blood clot.
Natural Salicylates Block Vitamin K and Thin the Blood
These will all help to increase blood circulation as well as to naturally thin the blood. (The daily baby aspirin often recommended for heart attack patients is a salicylate.) Some natural salicylates are:
- Apple cider vinegar, blackstrap molasses and cayenne pepper are very popular natural blood thinners.
- ‘Warming spices’ such as curry powder, ginger and cinnamon, turmeric, oregano, dill, licorice and mint also have blood thinning properties.
- Many fruits will help to aid in thinning the blood. Oranges and tangerines, prunes, grapes and many berries (especially strawberries, cranberries and blueberries) are beneficial.
Vitamin E Helps Prevent Over-oxidization
- Green, leafy vegetables such as swiss chard, kale and spinach are rich in Vitamin E.
- Other foods containing Vitamin E include red bell peppers, broccoli, wheat and kiwi.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids Help Lower Cholesterol and Prevent Clots
- Fish, walnuts and pumpkin seeds are some of the foods high in omega-3 fatty acids.
Natural Antibiotics Aid in Blood Thinning
- Foods with natural antibiotic properties include garlic, olive oil and onions.
Medical Treatment for Blood Clots
Initial treatment for blood clots (thrombosis) should be done in a hospital. Treatment goals focus on reducing the blood clot and preventing the formation of new clots. Blood thinners are given and monitored closely; they prevent the clot from getting bigger but do not dissolve the clot. In time, the body will naturally reabsorb it. Arterial blood clots may require surgery to remove the clot and/or medications may be used to try to dissolve the clot.
If a clot breaks loose, it immediately becomes a life-threatening medical emergency. Survival chances improve dramatically with immediate medical treatment.
Natural blood thinners are useful in helping to prevent blood clots, but should not be taken at the same time as medications (such as Coumadin) without consulting with a physician. Some natural blood thinners interact with medications and could either decrease or increase the blood thinning effect. This could be dangerous, especially in the early stages of treatment for a blood clot.