Coumadin, also known as warfarin, is an anti-coagulant that thins the blood. Coumadin is prescribed to reduce blood clots and prevent heart attack and strokes. When you take Coumadin, you must pay attention to the amount of vitamin K-containing foods you eat. It also has the potential to interact seriously with a number of medications and herbs. Consult your physician before taking any herbal supplements if you are taking Coumadin.
Herbs for Healing
Many people take herbal supplements for overall health or a particular condition. Two popular healing herbs, goldenseal and echinacea, can be taken with Coumadin. Goldenseal is native to America and believed to have antiseptic properties. It is often used for colds, along with echinacea, and is used to soothe inflamed nasal passages. Echinacea is used to treat colds and the flu and strengthen the immune system. According to Drugs.com, an independent medical website powered by four medical-information suppliers, no interactions between these herbs and Coumadin have been reported.
Herbs for Cardiovascular Health
Some herbs are believed to help the cardiovascular system. Hawthorn is a popular herb used to treat angina, atherosclerosis, congestive heart failure and high blood pressure, along with traditional medication. Evening primrose oil is also used to relieve symptoms of cardiovascular disease, as well arthritis and premenstrual syndrome. The Drugs.com interaction checker notes no reported interactions between these herbs and Coumadin.
Other popular herbs that can be taken with Coumadin are black cohosh and saw palmetto. Black cohosh is used to treat female conditions including symptoms of menopause. It is also used to treat painful menstruation, uterine spasms and vaginitis. Men sometimes use saw palmetto to alleviate symptoms of prostate enlargement. No interactions between Coumadin and these herbs have been reported to the Food and Drug Administration, according to the Drugs.com interaction checker.
Herbs to Avoid
St. John’s wort, an herb used to treat depression and anxiety, can reduce the effectiveness of Coumadin. Gingko is another herb to avoid while you're taking Coumadin. Gingko can worsen bleeding disorders and slow blood clotting. Ginseng also slows blood clotting and should be avoided. Other herbs that may interfere with Coumadin include bromelains, coenzyme Q10, cranberry, danshen, dong quai and garlic, according to Drugs.com. This is not a complete list, so talk to your doctor before taking an herbal supplement.
- Drugs.com: Coumadin
- The University of Maryland Medical Center; Possible Interactions with: St. John's Wort; Steven D. Ehrlich; May 2007
- Holistic Health Library; Common Herbal Supplements - Uses and Tips; Wendy Tran; June 2008
- Medline Plus; Ginseng, Panax; July 2011
- Drugs.com: Drug Interaction Checker