Seemingly innocent non-prescription herbal supplements can potentially effect a hair restoration surgery. Most of the effects revolve around bleeding or blood coagulation. In today’s times it is important to tell you hair transplant physician exactly what medications AND herbal vitamin supplements you are taking on a daily basis. Some of the herbal products can cause such thing as a decreased “platelet aggregation” or “clotting” in the same manner or even more than simple aspirin. I will discuss a few herbal remedies that have been clinically proven to increase bleeding times and should be halted a few or more days before a hair transplant or hair restoration.
Ginger: Ginger is used for many things in cooking and drinking beverages. Normally it can be used in small quantities to help an upset stomach. However in large quantities it can cause a a significant platelet aggregation decrease.
Garlic: Garlic has a plethora of great uses for the human body. Some of the more common properties of garlic are to lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, increase the immune system response, has antioxidant properties, and anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. However, these are in small amounts of garlic. Large amounts of garlic have several properties that can have an even more of a an increase in bleeding times. The increased bleeding effects can last as long as a week and platelet aggregation changes long as 4 weeks. This herb needs more caution when taken in high amounts and should be discussed with your hair restoration physician.
Ginko Biloba: Ginko Biloba comes from the maidenhair tree and is most notably known to improve memory by increasing blood flow to the cerebral cortex. There are documented reports of inrtraoperative uncontrollable bleeding with prolonged use of ginko biloba used alone, in combination with a different anticoagulants or both. Definitely check with your physician at your hair restoration clinic.
Saw Pawmetto: Saw Palmetto has been used in both benign prostatic hypertrophy and there is some use as a potential hair loss blocker. There was a single documentation of intraoperative hemorrhage. However this one documented case makes it a possibility for longer bleeding times so this herbal supplement should be stopped 1 to 2 weeks prior to a hair restoration and discussed with your hair restoration clinic.
Flaxseed: Flaxseed has a high Omega 3 Fatty Acid content. This means that it can naturally and potentially reduce blood clotting formation. This herbal supplement should be stopped 1 to 2 weeks prior to a hair restoration and discussed with your hair restoration clinic physician.
Feverfew: Feverfew is used for prophylaxis of migraine headaches as well management of rheumatoid arthritis. It has blood thinning properties and should be discussed with your hair restoration clinic physician.
Ginseng: Ginseng has been known to reduce glucose in animal studies therefore many diabetics might take this herbal supplement. Ginseng inhibits platelet aggregation similar to aspirin, so this must be stopped 1 to 2 weeks before a hair restoration surgery and should be discussed with your hair restoration clinic physician.
Danshen: Danshen is used for cardiovascular and cerebral vascular health however it does have anti-coagulation properties. This supplement should be stopped 1 to 2 weeks before a hair restoration and should be discussed with your hair restoration clinic physician.
These were just a few of the hundreds of herbal supplements used around the world. Please speak with your hair transplant physician before your transplant so that you both are fully informed of the consequences of specific herbal supplements, other prescriptions and the effects on your hair restoration.
Reference: Hair Transplantation 4th ed Unger and Shapiro