Do you think externally used herbal pain re... - AF Association

AF Association

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Do you think externally used herbal pain remedies are safe to use when on Warfarin? Think again!


Warning about using patches for painful joints

I had a painful shoulder. My husband suggested using Tiger Balm patches to ease the pain. On my regular visit to check INR , which had been very stable for ages (2.5 target) to my horror INR had spiked to 4.5. I couldn't think what I had done, eaten, drunk differently until husband reminded me about the patches. I thought " Surely they couldn't have had THAT much effect"! I did some research online. Tiger Balm contained Capsicum and Cinnamon oil. Both Capsicum plants and Cinnamon plants contain a natural anticoagulant. I reported my findings to the anticoagulant nurses who were surprised, as I was, at the dramatic effect. They took note and were most interested. . So just a warning that even external applications of plant based remedies can have an effect on warfarin treatment. So please take care when using any form of natural/ herbal products even externally.

17 Replies

Thank you for this. A rather useless locum GP recently advised me to take tumeric 3 times a day,even though Im on anticoagulant.....!!


Thank you for this which backs up what we have been saying for ages about taking care over supposed herbal remedies. Now worried that some idiot will decide to use Tiger Balm instead of anticoagulants for AF! Where have I heard that before.

Redmerlin in reply to BobD

OMG! Bob! I feel stupid enough using those patches. I should have known better, but as Volterol etc rubbed on my poor old arthritic joints never gave any relief AND I questioned the fact it was a NAIDS to which I got cursory reply that not much will get into my blood stream. Perfectly safe patient please..... I thought it would be OK. I'd now rather have pain than risk a serious bleed

PS To add to my woes It has stained my best white lacy Bra strap a deep orange too . GRRRRRR.

PPS. On the plus side I learned a valuable lesson. SO if anyone is thinking of using Tiger Balm as an anticoagulant ........DON'T.

PPS Any idea how to de-stain my bra strap without giving my white lingerie that thousand wash grey look?

Thank you for highlighting this - so many people get lulled by ‘natural’ products, forgetting that hemlock and deadly mushrooms are also natural. Equally, herbs are not always beneficial.

My Grandmother was a herbalist. I still remember the taste of some of her cures! When doctors and medicines were too expensive then they were probably better than nothing. However it is pretty impossible to accurately measure the amounts of active chemicals within dried or fresh plant materials. Therefore dosage is hit and miss even with modern technology. I am a Biologist and so I am interested in the use of plants. Many medicines are based on compounds found in plants. However as stated before it is not possible to "fine tune" the compounds directly from a plant source so great care should be taken. As finvola says plants can be dangerous.

And here was me slapping on Tiger Balm liberally to a large unsightly cold sore (Zovirax doesn't make a jot of difference)! Much small area of distribution though.

Redmerlin in reply to irene75359

Grandma used to use Hydrogen peroxide. It stings like hell so it must do some good.! Not very herbal though! I use of it it to steralise dentures as OTC cleaners don't agree with me and make my mouth corners crack

irene75359 in reply to Redmerlin

Will try that; willing to try anything to shorten the life of cold sores. Thank you.

Thanks I’m shocked.


Another thank you for highlighting such an important issue. I'm sorry you had this happen and know how awful a painful shoulder can be.

My mum was on warfarin for many years and we were fortunate to be introduced to it by a very good specialist nurse back then who went through all the safety aspects and things that can interact etc but at the end she said its always vital to check anything you buy, use or even get prescribed as sometimes a different dr may not know or realise or forget you are on warfarin. I was a nurse and thought I had a reasonable understanding of what can interact but was astounded by the amount of times I tried to buy otc things for mum for arthritis, a cold or a uti etc we just stuck to paracetamol for safety but even that has to be kept closely monitored.

Now mum is on apixaban as she has amd and attends eye clinic every four wks for injections so was needing repeat bloods before those as well...she was worn out after a long period of time where her inr was unstable so asked if she could try the newer blood thinners we were told yes after checking some bloods, I was concerned about effectiveness as she was on warfarin for so long but we were told the newer meds can offer better protection so she changed to Apixaban and touch wood so far so good.

Not sure about the bra stain but Pinterest has loads of advice on just about anything I use baking soda for so much now lol but I once rang drycleaners for advice before washing something stained they said sometimed washing it makes it worse but maybe worth asking their advice.

Take care.

Thanks for that reply Gutfeelings. I have asked about the newer anticoags but "they" say it's not compatible with my needs. etc. I am so pleased your Mum has found an alternative. I shall still ask now and again though. Warfarin has made my skin so thin it is now causing problems. Ah well. Like the stain remover I shall keep researching and asking. I am looking forward to Spring when the sun will naturally bleach washing on the line. At my age nobody is interested in my smalls.... but I still wear nice clean ones in case I get run over :D :D

Hi unfortunately I have never use warfarin. However I have been having this treatment for bad back pain. It’s called prolozone and it can be use it for any painful areas in the body.

Many people have had this procedure and cancelled there operations.

I have seen so many specialists and underwent so many procedures and this is the only thing that has given me my life back.

I don’t want to get involved with to many people about this procedure as you always gets these types of people that always try’s to pull holes in things and I cannot be bothered with people like that.

So I just suggest if people are interested then they can contact me and I am happy to refer all the information. It’s used widely in the states and the spine hospital in London is now using this procedure.

However other than that there is only one man that I know that is given this procedure.

Take good care of yourself. xxx

Redmerlin in reply to Jan101

Thank you Jan. I shall certainly look into Prolozone if my shoulder gets any worse. It's actually better now. I think the pain was due to hefting bags of Christmas shopping. Husband was working right up to late Christmas eve so had to be a single shopper this year. Anyway, It's always good to look at other remedies maybe for future use.

Jan101 in reply to Redmerlin

Hi sweetie I am pleased that you’re shoulder is better now.

Same here I had to do a lot myself as other half was working as well.

However if it was last year there’s no way I could have ever done it.

If you decide that you want to know anymore about this procedure I am happy to talk to you about it.

My only regret is that I went through so much and I wish that I had known about this in the beginning.

Have a fantastic 2020 sweetie and take good care of yourself. Love and hugs 🤗🤗😘😘

I think I may have done just the same as you!! I had my INR checked 2 days after Christmas , and it was 3.4, having been stable and in range for over 6 months. Coincidently, I had been applying "Fenbid" Ibuprofeb gel to arthritic shoulders and hips for pain relief, for about 3 days before the test. Checking online it appears that this gel may well contain some Capsicum derivative, Thank you for this warning.

Dave J

I am on warfarin for life. I have considered the newer analogue drugs but not enough is known about them at this time to make a good informed decision. As mentioned if you are on anticoagulant treatment ensure you don’t take foods or creams with anticoagulant properties. If you do ensure that you tell your Dr so that he or she can take that into account while looking after you.

I find it reassuring to know what my INR’s are at any given time,

Take care everyone. Melbourne is full of smoke from our dreadful fires and apparently Tasmania is even getting smoke blown over the Bass straight from our fires (they also have their own fires to contend with). We are all donating money to help the families of the fire fighters who have died and our poor native animals who cannot move fast enough to escape the fires.

Rescue Centres have been set up to help our poor burnt Koalas, kangaroos, possums etc

Best wishes always xx



Hi Melbourne Girl. We have seen your dreadful predicament in Australia and I send our sympathy to all who are suffering. I have also seen the poor animals . I sincerely pray for rain but realise this is not likely to happen yet. We are getting very detailed news reports updating the situation. I hope you are not in any danger and wish you safety .

Thank you for your comments about warfarin. I too rather like the regular checks. We don't have self testing in the UK. One can buy the equipment if necessary but it is very expensive. I think it is good to see and speak with the nurses in the clinic as ideas and information can be shared during those regular checks.

Take care and be safe.

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