Review of herbal medications with the potential to cause bleeding: dental implications, and risk prediction and prevention avenues.

Worku Abebe
Worku Abebe
Medical College of Georgia
United States

EPMA J 2019 Mar 8;10(1):51-64. Epub 2019 Jan 8.

Department of Oral Biology and Diagnostic Sciences, Dental College of Georgia, Augusta University, CL-2130, Augusta, GA 30912-1128 USA.

Medicinal plant products have been used in health care since time immemorial. During the past three decades, the use of herbal supplements has been on the rise in the USA. A number of these products have been shown to possess the potential to interfere with blood clotting. This paper is a review of blood-thinning herbal supplements commonly used in the USA, accompanied by discussion of the dental implications of their use along with suggestions for prediction and prevention of the risk of bleeding. Twenty herbal supplements belonging to four pharmacological groups are identified and reviewed. While the majority (45%) of the supplements reviewed possesses antiplatelet properties, the remaining are dispersed among anticoagulant (15%), a combination of antiplatelet and anticoagulant (15%), and other diverse groups (25%). The literature reveals that most of the available information on blood-thinning herbs is based on in vitro experiments, animal studies, and individual clinical case reports. Some herbal effects are also speculated based on theoretical grounds. These observations, together with the deficiency of the law regulating herbal supplements, indicate limitations of the literature and the regulatory mechanisms related to these products, further implying the need for additional research and improved regulation. While emphasizing the dental implications of the findings reported in the literature, suggestions were made for prediction and prevention of the risk of bleeding caused by herbal medications, based on the concepts of predictive, preventive, and personalized medicine.

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March 2019
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