If you have atherosclerosis, heart disease or another medical condition that causes your blood to clot excessively, you may need antiplatelet or anticoagulant medications. These drugs prevent your blood platelets from sticking together and forming too many clots. Several natural remedies produce the same effects in the body as antiplatelets. Discuss any natural herbal treatments with your doctor before taking them, however, because they may cause certain side effects or interact with other medications you’re taking.
Garlic is a popular natural remedy for preventing and treating atherosclerosis, or “hardening of the arteries,” and heart disease. Garlic contains the constituents allicin and ajoene, which act to prevent blood platelets from sticking together and forming clots, says the University of Michigan Health System. In addition to its antiplatelet actions, garlic also lowers cholesterol and blood pressure, which are all important to cardiovascular health, notes the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. A study published in 1991 found that garlic reduced platelet aggregation, or “stickiness,” in humans, the University of Michigan notes.
Ginger may also offer the same effects as antiplatelet medications, says the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. You’ll need to take a minimum of 1 tsp. of ginger each day for the herb to be effective, however, notes the University of Michigan Health System. Ginger can decrease platelet stickiness when you take it in this amount or more, according to a 1997 study of ginger’s effects on blood platelet aggregation, as well as blood sugar and lipids, in people with coronary artery disease.
Taking ginkgo biloba may help to thin your blood by preventing excessive blood platelet coagulation. Ginkgo appears to inhibit the platelet activating factor, or “PAF,” which is a chemical that encourages your blood to coagulate and form clots, explains the University of Michigan Health System. A 1990 controlled clinical trial in Germany found that ginkgo effectively reduced excessive blood platelet coagulation.
Turmeric can also act like antiplatelet medications and reduce your blood’s tendency to form clots. Several studies have suggested that turmeric may be effective in preventing atherosclerosis, notes the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. According to a report published in 1985, turmeric’s active constituent, curcumin, was shown in animal studies to have antiplatelet effects, says the University of Michigan Health System. A preliminary medical study published in 1995 found that curcumin stops platelet aggregation in humans as well. Peony and bilberry have also shown antiplatelet effects similar to turmeric, the University of Michigan adds.