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 Thinning
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 Anticoagulants (Blood Thinners)?
Anticoagulants, also known as blood thinners 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 which 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 with which platelets clump together.
Platelets are small blood cells responsible for stopping the 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 have potential as a blood thinner 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.
Turmeric for Blood Clots: Does Curcumin 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. Thus, in addition to its anticoagulant activities, it appears turmeric also possess 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.
If you’re looking for supplements, always make sure the product contains turmeric and black pepper (piperine) together. Curcumin’s most notorious problem is poor absorption into the bloodstream. Piperine is a bioavailability enhancer that solves this issue and helps the body utilize the supplement effectively.
Final Thoughts on Turmeric as a Blood Thinner
Does turmeric thin the blood? The answer to this one appears to be, yes, though, to what extent and at what dosage we cannot be sure. 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 as a blood thinner to prevent clots, always consult with a certified medical professional, first. For your health and safety, it’s crucial to ensure that curcumin does not adversely interact with any existing medications.