Home' Australian Pharmacist : April 2011 Contents Vol.30–April#04
potential is a matter of some debate.
Ginkgo is comparable to aspirin as an
antiplatelet/anticoagulant agent but,
like the other herbs under discussion,
contains many different constituents
acting in many different ways.17 Again,
the question becomes, ‘Am I taking
this herb solely for this one activity
or do I take it in the expectation of
a range of benefits, one of which is
anticoagulation?’ Perhaps this shotgun
approach may not be therapeutically
desirable, especially if the client is
taking a range of other medications
for a number of other indications.
Of the other herbs recommended by
I find turmeric (Curcuma
longa), as a potent antioxidant, anti-
antiatherogenic and anticancer
agent, to be of interest especially
in the diet. Unfortunately, its known
antiplatelet effect is weaker than
aspirin, and therefore turmeric cannot
be recommended as a herb of choice
in this respect.18
It is imperative that anyone using
anticoagulants, be the medicines
orthodox or an alternative, cease
their use two weeks before surgical
procedures to avoid excessive
bleeding and healing problems.
In conclusion, CD’s search for a
non-warfarin, non-heparin herbal
anticoagulant will be difficult, if
specific action is the goal. However, I
do believe that a number of the herbs
discussed here, especially those of
dietary interest, have merit as general
supplements with an anticoagulant/
antiplatelet effect. One must admit,
however, that the best choice for a
specific agent would be warfarin, but
do enjoy the warm glow knowing
that it was developed from a herbal
chemical compound, dicoumarol!
Warfarin has the merits of previous
intensive investigation and clinical
trials, proven action, known side
effects and the advantage of home
1. Pine Canyon Media. Natural blood thinners [online]. At:
2. Warfarin [online]. At: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
3. Heck AM, DeWitt BA, Lukes AL. Potential interactions
between alternative therapies and warfarin. Amer J
Health-System Pharm. 1 Jul 2000; 57(13):1221–7.
4. Prothrombin time [online]. At: http://en.wikipedia.org/
5. Fanikos JR, Dobesh PP, Spinier SA. Pharmacists’ role
in ACS management: Translating knowledge to clinical
practice [online]. Medscape Education Cardiology. At:
6. Barnes J, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal
Medicines. 3rd ed. London: Pharmaceutical Press; 2007.
Table 5, p 617, and references contained.
7. Longmore B. Salicylic acid, out there and back again.
Aus Pharm. 2003; 23(6):440–1.
8. Salicylic acid [online]. At: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
9. Perry CA, Dwyer J, Gelfand JA, et al. Health effects
of salicylates in foods and drugs. Nutrition rev. 1996;
10. Page RI, Lawrence JD. Potentiation of warfarin by dong
quai. Pharmacotherap. 1999; 19(7):870–6.
11. Willow bark for headaches [online]. At: www.
12. White Willow Bark Vs. Aspirin for Safe Pain
Medication [online]. At: www.livestrong.com/
13. Willow Bark. The Review of Natural Products. 3rd
ed. St Louis, Missouri: Facts and Comparisons; 2002.
14. Castleman M. The New Healing Herbs. Rodale; 2001.
p 65, 195, 201.
15. Reference 6. p 53–56.
16. Reference 6. p 264.
17. Braun L, Cohen M. Herbs & Natural Supplements –
an evidence-based guide. Marrickville, NSW: Elsevier
Mosby; 2005. p 193–9.
18. Reference 17. p 362.
Sunshine Weekend – Expanding Horizons
Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays
10–12 September 2011
Welcome Spring in the beautiful Whitsundays
on Hamilton Island.
Start your long weekend on Friday morning
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Spend Saturday and Sunday with as much or as
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There will be something for everyone.
So come and join us on Hamilton Island.
For more information contact
PSA Queensland Branch on 07 3896 1900
or visit www.psa.org.au/qld
Group 2 CPD
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