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Heparin may interfere with activation of vitamin D in the body.Osteoporosis (thinning of the bone) has been reported in patients who received high amounts of heparin for several months. Osteopenia (decreased bone density) has been reported in women who received heparin therapy during pregnancy.
As it may increase bleeding time, reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) is not recommended for those taking anticoagulant (blood-thinning) medications.
Although there are no specific studies demonstrating interactions with anticoagulants, the following herbs contain coumarin-like substances that may interact with heparin and could conceivably cause bleeding. These herbs include dong quai, fenugreek, horse chestnut, red clover, sweet clover, and sweet woodruff. People should consult a healthcare professional if they're taking an anticoagulant and wish to use one of these herbs.
Ginger has been shown to reduce platelet stickiness in test tubes. Although there are no reports of interactions with anticoagulant drugs, people should consult a healthcare professional if they are taking an anticoagulant and wish to use ginger.
Ginkgo extracts may reduce the ability of platelets to stick together, possibly increasing the tendency toward bleeding. Standardized extracts of ginkgo have been associated with two cases of spontaneous bleeding, although the ginkgo extracts were not definitively shown to be the cause of the problem. People taking heparin should consult with a physician knowledgeable about botanical medicines if they are considering taking ginkgo.
Heparin therapy may cause hyperkalemia (abnormally high potassium levels). Potassium supplements, potassium-containing salt substitutes (No Salt®, Morton Salt Substitute®, and others), and even high-potassium foods (primarily fruit) should be avoided by persons on heparin therapy, unless directed otherwise by their doctor.
Digitalis (Digitalis purpurea) refers to a group of plants commonly called foxglove, which contains chemicals related to the drug digoxin. Digitalis may interfere with the anticoagulant action of heparin, reducing its action. Digitalis should only be used under the direct supervision of a doctor trained in its use.
Last Review: 03-24-2015
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