Alternatives to Anticoagulants

I haven't been on the site for a while, so I'm sorry if this has been raised recently. There were some press articles a few weeks ago about a so-called broccoli pill. My understanding is that further research is being carried out but there are indications that it could help in stroke prevention.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if there was a natural alternative to anticoagulants?

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31 Replies

  • Please ignore second paragraph above, apart from last sentence. I can't find out how to edit my post!

  • See the little down arrow next to the green reply button. There's your edit option.

  • The article in question was in regard to a study which linked AF to increased chance of dementia. To edit, click on the down arrow at the end of the lower bar and you can edit your posts.

  • Thanks Bob. We have had gremlins move into our house recently. Technology hasn't been working as it should and I couldn't see the down arrow or the like button.

  • Hi Mrspat

    May I ask what do you mean by natural? A plant extract like sulforaphane (the active ingredient of the "broccolli pill" or Nattokinase which is from fermented soy?

    And please I not trying to offend but understand, but what the heck do people think that warfarin is? It's a natural plant extract discovered by the action of clover in hay rotting with the hay and combining to form an extract called dicoumarol which comes from the coumarin naturally found in hay. Yes sure it's now been refined and extracted, but it's exactly the same "naturally formed" chemical.

    It's simply that the naturally formed dicoumarol has not been extracted and then tested to check it's strength and effectiveness and above all it's consistency.

    If anyone were to ask me would you take an anti-coagulant which is guaranteed to a) work for preventing clots in AF and b) will never have any side effects, then I think we would all jump at it, I know I would. But I simply don't understand the natural is best reasoning.

    When I was a young whipper snapper, I qualified as a manufacturing chemist and we used to "manufacture" penicillin and other antibiotics by literally putting a "starter" in this case the purified mould from bread into a large stainless steel vessel together with simply a growth compound to encourage the mould to multiply, warm it up and leave it for a week or so.

    Our hit rate was about 4 in 5, as the slightest piece of dirt could ruin the manufacture, but then we simply refined and extracted the penicillin, and turned it into known quantity tablets which saved lives by the million.

    At what point in that process did it become "not natural" and would someone have then said

    "Oh no I would rather eat mouldy bread as I know it has the same effect"

    This is the nub of my problem, there are literally hundreds of drugs which are pure plant extracts (Cocaine and Heroin to name two) or "natural" extracts of one form or another, we get them from fungi, moulds, from spider venom, and even from bat spit (which by the way is used as a clot buster)

    It's only relatively recently ( ironically enough often due to the growth of things like antibiotic misuse causing it to become ineffective such as feeding it to cattle) that chemists have had to amend existing drugs using advanced organic chemistry to "make" new drugs, but nearly all of these are based on the original plant extracts.

    So my answer to your posed question, of wouldn't it be wonderful if there was a natural alternative to anti-coagulants, is there already is it's called warfarin. And I truly hope that there is someone in this world experimenting and refining Nattokinase and other potential anti-coagulants to come up with a controlled release new "drug".

    The challenge is of course that the coagulation process in the body is complex, and warfarin and heparin etc are Vitamin K Antagonists, they act to supress Vitamin K, is that how Nattokinase works? and if so why is is better than warfarin. The NOACs, or at least 3 of them, work on factor X a later component of the anti-coagulation process, and Dabigitran alone works on yet a different part of the process. Will we discover a drug which works on a yet a different part of the anti-coagulation process?

    And to pose a different question, is it the drugs which have long term effects such as dementia, or it is supressing the complex coagulation process itself? Because if so, anything we take may have long term effects.

    In the meantime I'll still take penicillin and stay away from the mouldy bread. And I'll still take warfarin or a NOAC and stay away from the "other" anti-coagulants.

    I wish you the best Mrspat, and sorry your quite proper question gets such a long response from me

    Be well


  • Thanks for the science! What I expressed so badly was a wish for something that isn't an anticoagulant but still had the same stroke-risk reducing properties.

    I take Rivaroxaban, having been on Aspirin and Warfarin in the past. I understand fully (as far as my unscientific mind will allow) why Aspirin isn't any good and was relieved to be off Warfarin. Probably unscientific again, but the only one of the three that felt "natural" was Aspirin. That might be because it is non-prescription and feels more under my control.

    What's exercising my mind at the moment is the prospect of an operation on my tear duct, later in the year, which the Consultant informs me is a "very bloody" operation. There will be a lot of mucking about with the Rivaroxaban, either stopping it for a short period or nasty stomach injections instead. So, I'd love a pill that helps prevent strokes but isn't an anticoagulant.

  • Hi Mrspat, well I think you already know the answer to the "prevent strokes but not an anti-coagulant", stokes are caused by clots so inly an anti-coagulant can assist to prevent them.

    But don't worry my knee operation I stopped Rivaroxaban for 48 hours and took it the same day as the Op, it's not too bad.

    But I am fascinated by your other comment which was " That might be because it is non-prescription and feels more under my control."

    I think you have hit the nail on the head, aspirin of course being acetylsalicylic acid is another "plant extract" in this case from willow bark originally. Once again I challenge would you rather take a tablet or eat some willow bark?

    But the phsycology of it being a non prescription drug is an interesting one, I would love to hear from say a Thai person where all drugs are available over the counter if they have a similar differentiation between the "common" drugs and the ones we consider prescription only?

    And of course historically many more drugs were available over the counter, I mean in my youth you could buy "Dr Collis Browns" mixture, which actually contained chloroform and morphine. (not any more, at least in the dosages we had)

    I don't have all the answers, but I think it interesting to pose the questions

    Be well


  • I remember Dr Collis Browns and also Kaolin and Morph which was ' made up' in the dispensary when I had a holiday job in Boots in 1960 ! Plus of course codeine sold over the much as you wanted if I recall correctly


  • Oh it don;t work like it used to Ian. Remember my mother giving Collis Browns to me as a kid. Loved it!

  • That was very interesting. Google came up with this:

  • Exactly what I was saying seasider, your first link describes what we used to do to manufacture, and the second the fact that afterwards drugs have to be synthesized to deal with the overusage of antibiotics in the first please.


  • Warfarin is not a natural product it is man made and carries many nasty side effects

    Natural products means

    not been touched by mankind st all

    Nature has its own chemical compounds pytochemistry that are found in foods plants etc

  • The problem with natural products is that they vary from where grown, climate, time of year harvested, how stored and many other factors and there is not much in the way of quality control.

  • Ian can I ask you a question? what are the new anticoagulant based on.

  • They are synthesised, or manufactured solely for what their molecules can do.

    Natural anticoagulants such as warfarin made from plants (sweet clover) or heparin extracted from human livers originally all are Vitamin K antagonists, so they reduce Vit K in the body and therefore anti-coagulate, but the process of doing this can cause other challenges, and so the search for other anti-coagulants started in the 90s'. First they mapped the still not completely understood coagulation process, and then they manufactured drugs which affect a different part of the process from Vit K.

    Thease are third generation mapped drugs made specifically to do something within the body. I completely agree there is nothing "natural" about them


  • Thank you Ian .

  • Gosh Ian.... very interesting! 🎓

  • I'm fascinated by the drug that's being researched by Cambridge uni and one of the big research hospitals, called ichorcumab. A serendipitous find from a patient who was discovered to have blood that clotted very slowly but who hadn't bled excessively after a wound and a knee op. I don't know where they are with that or the mechanism involved, but it sounded like the perfect anticoagulant. Whether it is or not I guess depends on the trials!

  • Hi Eastalottie. It seems that the drug you mentioned was commercialised in 2015:

    Now whether it is still in testing stages, is being sat on by J&J for commercial reasons, or what, I'm struggling to find out. Maybe it's too big a competitor for their current production of other anti-coagulants?

  • Thanks Momist, that's very interesting - I hope it's in testing, which can take a fair while, rather than being sat on! Since I heard about it, it's sounded like the dream anticoagulant. I will try asking Johnson & Johnson where it's at.

  • Sadly, I can't seem to find on the internet ANYTHING about this after the March 2015 purchase of the company by J&J. Maybe they found a problem with it, but I think it more likely that big money has again gambled with peoples lives for profit.

  • I do hope not! I have written to their PR department - I'm a journalist so hopefully they will take that at face value. I'll let you know if I hear anything.

  • Following on from Ian's excellent post (some of which I understood) it seems to me that most if not all of our medicine is based on natural products at its inception...interesting. perhaps hugging a tree will cure a headache lol. Great post Ian.

  • Roy, hugging a tree will very often cure a headache, as first you have to go out and find a tree to hug which entails (for me) a longish walk in the open air. :-)

  • Five years ago, I had a replacement aortic valve. I had AF beforehand and was on Aspirin. On the advice of the surgeon, I chose a tissue valve rather than a mechanical one. Generally, tissue valves don't require permanent anticoagulation whereas mechanical valves do. It was hoped that the operation would stop the AF as well. It didn't. Warfarin and then Rivaroxaban via a temporary return to Aspirin followed.

    The surgeon's words to me at the time of my operation were "the drugs are getting better all the time". In 5 years, they haven't. I still have AF though rate controlled on Bisoprolol and Digoxin.

  • I did not have AF until my tissue aortic valve was fitted five years ago this month. The clotting dangers of AF would have been removed if the surgeon had removed your left atrial appendage at the same time. For some reason that is more commonly done if the mitral valve is replaced.

  • The surgeon did consider doing a Cox-Maze procedure at the same time but said that he considered it a "too aggressive" procedure in my case.

  • I had cox maze at same time as removal of benign tumour in my heart.

  • Hi

    Good question

    but to ask a question like this about natural prouducts on this site

    You will get negative fedback as they are mostly just one way thinking and that is orthodox view

    Dont wish to insult anyone here but thats the truth

    First of all "natural " in complementary terms means something that has not been tampered with by mankind

    It is a whole form given by nature or as some would say God

    It has a fine balance of many chemical compounds that workd together as one

    Take one out and it would not work the same

    Warfarin is NOT natural At all

    it has been man made it is and therefore you will get many bad side effects

    To think about other alternatives is very sensible

    Dont be please put off but these negative comments

    Just do your own research and think


  • We, as a group do seem to favour the scientific approach to medication, so eloquently explained by Ian and others. I don't feel that this is 'negative' in any way but rather an intelligent appraisal of the origins, risks and benefits of the treatment under discussion.

    Stroke is a real and present risk for all of us - frankly it scares me more than the thought of death. I haven't gone blindly down the anticoagulation route, but like many others have asked questions about alternatives.

    For me, there are no safe, scientifically-researched alternatives to the medically enhanced anticoagulants on the market and, like many of us, I know enough not to trust my health, well-being and sanity to 'remedies'.

    At the end of the day, we are all free to make our choice, it just needs to be made from an informed viewpoint.

  • I am not saying that people should not be on anticoags

    Many of your so called scientific researched Studies are faked and cause very bad side effects

    Orthodox medicine sometimes cause more harm than good

    But its your choice

    I am just saying that people need to think outside the box

    Its very polictical for me to start on the journey of alternative medicine vs orthodox would take for ever to explain

    Strange i would rather trust without doubt herbal and food nutrition rather than chemical drugs that will cause your body harm and more disease down the line

    But thats is my choice

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