Written by Divinity Nutra, Updated on April 3, 2022
Over the years, turmeric has shown incredible potential as a healing agent in natural medicine. Extracted from turmeric root is a potent rhizome known as curcumin, which provides the vast majority of its health benefits.
Those in search of a safe and well-tolerated anti-inflammatory often end their journey on curcumin, which has become a staple dietary supplement in houses around the world. But, is turmeric a blood thinner, and can it help prevent clotting?
Turmeric and Blood Thinners
We’ve seen studies demonstrating how turmeric can reduce inflammation and serve as an immune system booster in the body. This breakthrough in research shows how curcumin may help treat numerous chronic diseases such as cancer, arthritis, and even Alzheimer’s disease.
New evidence suggests curcumin may also be an excellent anticoagulant (blood thinner). If you want a natural way to prevent blood clots, turmeric may be able to help. (1)
Before we get into the studies, we need to discuss anticoagulants in a bit more detail.
What are Blood Thinners (Anticoagulants)?
Blood thinners, also known as anticoagulants or antiplatelet drugs, are medicines that prevent blood clots from developing. They also prevent preexisting blood clots from forming complete blockages, leading to heart attacks or strokes.
The word “anti” means against, and “coagulate” means to change into a semisolid or solid-state. Thus, an anticoagulant prevents blood clots.
A doctor may recommend blood thinners if you have:
- Specific blood vessel or heart diseases
- Atrial fibrillation, a condition characterized by abnormal heart rhythm
- A valve replacement in the heart
- Higher risk of blood clots post-surgery
- Congenital heart problems or defects
There are two principal blood thinners that differ based on their mechanism of action.
- Anticoagulants: Drugs that slow down the body’s process of clotting the blood, such as heparin or warfarin.
- Antiplatelet Drugs: These medications, such as aspirin, prevent blood clots by limiting the extent to which platelets clump together.
Platelets are small blood cells responsible for stopping bleeding. When damage occurs in the blood vessels, platelets spring into action by rushing to the damage site and plugging the wounded area.
Why Turmeric Curcumin?
Turmeric appears to have a tremendous amount of benefits for heart health. Studies in recent decades have demonstrated that curcumin can modulate blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure. All of these benefits are ideal for counteracting some of the problems that arise with natural aging.
Due to its ability to regulate so many important aspects of the cardiovascular system, researchers believe turmeric may be one of the best natural blood thinners as well. In this article, we’ll review the research surrounding curcumin’s ability to prevent blood clots and serve as an anticoagulant in the body.
Does Turmeric Thin Your Blood?
Until recently, the anticoagulant properties of turmeric have been mostly unverified. One trial, in vivo, demonstrated turmeric’s potential as a blood thinner by testing the following four items:
- Activated Partial Thromboplastin Time (aPTT): A blood test that characterizes levels of coagulation in the blood.
- Prothrombin Time (PT): A blood test measuring the length of time required to form a blood clot.
- Cell-Based Thrombin: An enzyme in blood plasma that converts fibrinogen to fibrin for clotting.
- Activated Factor X (FXa): Factor Xa is the active form of thrombokinase, which plays a role at multiple stages of the coagulation process.
The study’s results indicated that curcumin successfully prolonged aPTT and PT, strongly correlating with many of today’s blood thinners. Curcumin also significantly inhibited the generation of thrombin and FXa. Therefore, these findings suggest turmeric may possess anticoagulant activities. (4)
A second study tested the antiplatelet action of turmeric to learn more about its blood-thinning potential. This trial yielded similar results showing that curcumin inhibited platelet aggregation. In addition to its anticoagulant activities, it appears turmeric also possesses antiplatelet properties. (5)
Further research reviewing the medicinal properties of curcumin confirmed the same regarding its ability to prevent blood clots. In human blood samples treated with turmeric extract, there was a noticeable inhibition of thromboxane B2 production. This conclusion suggests that turmeric may be able to inhibit platelet aggregation. (6)
Another study we’ll look at analyzed curcumin’s effects on blood thinning both in vitro and ex vivo, meaning, outside of the body. Again, the results showed a possible inhibition effect of collagen-induced platelet aggregation.
Can You Take Turmeric With Blood Thinners?
If you’re currently taking blood thinners as prescribed or suggested by a medical professional, we advise against taking turmeric until you come off the medication. Blood that is thinned too much can cause issues with clotting and wound healing, and may cause excess bruising. If you’re unsure, talk with your doctor.
How to Use Turmeric for Blood Clots
Can turmeric dissolve blood clots? Research suggests that using turmeric for blood clots may provide some form of prevention against complete blockages. However, there are no studies that indicate turmeric can dissolve preexisting blood clots directly.
If you have a blood clot or are experiencing symptoms of a blood clot, you need to seek immediate medical attention. You should never rely on natural blood thinners in place of prescription medication regarding issues as serious as a blood clot. Waiting too long to handle the situation can cause severe complications.
How much turmeric should I take for blood thinning? Knowing how much turmeric per day is important to achieve the desired effects, safely. Turmeric supplements that contain between 150 to 250 mg of curcumin per serving are sufficient for creating a blood-thinning effect. This is a safe and effective range for most individuals.
Keep in mind that curcumin’s most notorious problem is poor absorption into the bloodstream. So when you’re picking a supplement, always make sure the product contains turmeric and black pepper (piperine) together.
According to various studies, the inclusion of piperine, usually as patented ingredient BioPerine, increases turmeric uptake by 20 times. Also make sure your product contains AstraGin, another natural ingredient that further improves absorption by 92%.
Potential Side Effects
What are the negative effects of turmeric? Turmeric and curcumin have a great safety profile and are well tolerated by most individuals. Side effects a rare if you stick to the recommended dosage, but there are a few potential adverse reactions to consider.
- Turmeric has been known to have a glucose-lowering effect. Diabetics should take extra precautions.
- Excessive dosages of turmeric can lead to an upset stomach or digestive discomfort in some individuals.
- Excessive dosages may also increase the likelihood of headaches or nausea.
Who should not take turmeric? Do not take turmeric if you are pregnant or nursing. While it’s likely safe as an additive in food, curcumin in medicinal amounts should be avoided during pregnancy. Do not take turmeric if it is just before or after surgery, or if you are taking blood thinners. Turmeric contains anticoagulant properties and may thin the blood too much.
Final Thoughts on Turmeric for Blood Thinning
Does turmeric thin your blood? The answer to this one appears to be, yes, when taken regularly. Several studies performed on blood plasma outside of the body indicate that curcumin possesses anticoagulant activities.
Therefore, turmeric may be able to regulate hemostasis (the stopping of blood flow), thrombosis, and coagulation. We need more human studies to confirm whether or not turmeric is reliable in critical scenarios. Currently, that evidence is unavailable.
If you’re considering using turmeric for blood thinning to prevent clots, always consult with a certified medical professional, first. For your health and safety, it’s crucial to ensure that turmeric and curcumin do not adversely interact with any existing medications.