Q&A: Are any essential oils contra-indicated when taking Warfarin?

Q&A: Are any essential oils contra-indicated when taking Warfarin?Q: Can you tell me if any essential oils are contra-indicated when taking Warfarin?

A: Warfarin is an anti-coagulant, used to thin the blood. It is usually prescribed to people who have suffered or are at risk of suffering from conditions such as deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism (blood clot in lung) or certain heart conditions. It is a very powerful form of medication which can cause significant side-effects and patients prescribed this medication are usually monitored closely.

The two essential oils that are particularly contra-indicated are Wintergreen and Sweet Birch. They are usually used in sporting linaments, and contain high quantities of "methyl salicylate" (the active ingredient in aspirin) which is quickly absorbed and could "potentiate the anti-coagulant effects of warfarin" - which in turn could cause an internal haemorrhage. (These 2 oils are also potentially toxic and should be used with extreme caution by experienced aromatherapists only). Ginger essential oil is also one to be avoided - as although there is no direct evidence to say it could be harmful - in lab experiments (in test tubes) it was shown to reduce platelet stickiness. Hope this helps.

Kind regards
Joannah Metcalfe
Consultant Aromatherapist

The information provided on the Base Formula blog is for personal information and interest only. It is not intended to offer professional medical advice or treatment for any condition. We recommend that you consult your GP or nurse if you have any health concerns whatsoever. Our advice has been provided on the basis that there are no known contra-indications to treatment. If you have any health problems or are taking any medication you should seek advice from your healthcare provider prior to using aromatherapy. We would also advise that you make an appointment with a local aromatherapist who will be able to take a full case history and offer you tailored treatment advice. Please note that Base Formula accepts no liability for misuse of essential oils or other products or for any reliance on the information provided within.

Please visit our website for more details on using essential oils safely and effectively.

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