Aspirin Side Effects Plus Natural Alternatives


People have been taking aspirin for many decades now. In fact, this little pill found in just about every medicine cabinet across the world was discovered way back in 1853, but not used medicinally until 1897 first as a powder, then introduced as that little white pill we all are so familiar with in 1915.

Despite its long standing years of use, there are some serious health complications that can result from taking aspirin. There are three main reasons that people take aspirins regularly:

  • Pain reliever and inflammation reducer
  • Heart attack and stroke prevention
  • Fever reducer

When a person takes aspirin for one of these conditions they see the pain relieving benefits. But you must know that you can gain the same type of benefits with using different therapies other than aspirin which can in the long run do more harm than good.

If you take (or are considering taking) an aspirin a day for heart attack prevention or to deal with painful inflammation, there are a few facts you’ll want to consider first. Then carefully consider all of your options as there are safe, all natural replacements for taking aspirin for many conditions.

The Common Dangers of Aspirin

Remember when I speak of these problems from taking aspirin I’m not talking about a very occasional aspirin, it’s the long term use that’s a potential problem (unless you have an aspirin allergy, in which case you should obviously avoid aspirin altogether). There are some people who are more susceptible to complications from aspirins and they should carefully consider any use of aspirin. These people fall into the following categories:

  • Heart failure
  • Asthma
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Bleeding or clotting disorders
  • Diabetes (the American Diabetes Association advises people with diabetes take only the very lowest dosage of aspirin)

Even if you don’t fall under one of the above categories, taking aspirin regularly can cause some serious health concerns you must know about.

6 Aspirin Side Effects

Kidney failure

According to many sources, including the Mayo Clinic, damage to the kidney from regular aspirin use, called analgesic nephropathy, can occur. Many times this chronic kidney disease exists without immediate symptoms and leads to deadly kidney failure or the need for daily kidney dialysis.

Liver failure

The liver absorbs aspirin with regular use, leading to liver failure–a serious problem for all. The liver is your body’s detoxification system. When toxins are continually put into the body, toxic overload can cause the liver to fail.


According to the American College of Gastroenterology, the second leading cause of ulcers is from the regular use of aspirin leading to irritation of the stomach lining. Regular use of aspirin when an ulcer exists can lead to further complications including bleeding ulcers and perforated ulcers.


This annoying ‘ringing in the ears’ problem can not just be caused by regular use of aspirin, it can actually lead to permanent hearing damage. However in most cases the solution is to simply stop using aspirin and the condition reverses itself.

Hemorrhagic stroke

As you know many people take daily aspirin to prevent heart attack and stroke by keeping the blood thin. The problem here is that in some cases this seemingly ‘innocent’ aspirin may end up doing more harm than good. In some strokes the cause is bleeding in the brain, in which case the blood-thinning aspirin only exacerbates the problem, potentially leading to permanent brain damage or death.

Reye’s syndrome

This deadly condition occurs swiftly, delivering deadly blows to children as it damages the vital organs, especially the brain and liver. The cause of Reye’s syndrome in most cases is a child with a viral infection, such as chicken pox, taking aspirin for fever reduction and pain relief. It’s vital that all parents avoid giving their children aspirin for this reason.

As you can see the health complications that are associated with regular aspirin consumption are very serious and not to be taken lightly. Of course I’m not suggesting you suffer with pain or risk heart attacks. There are far better ways to take care of those things. What I am asking you to do is consider your own personal risk for serious side effects from aspirin, then explore alternative treatment options that are much better for your body.

Safe, Natural Alternatives to Aspirin

Depending on the reason you take aspirin, you can find safe alternatives. However, it’s vital that you first consult with your health care practitioner to be sure that none of the other medications you may be taking will interact in an adverse way with the all natural therapies.

Anti-inflammatory Diet

An anti-inflammatory diet is the one of the best ways to reduce unhealthy, painful inflammation in the body. When you follow a diet based on eating lots of fish, nuts, fruits, vegetables, beans, and healthy oils like olive and coconut oils you’ll not only reduce inflammation in the body, but this can also lead to a reduced risk of heart disease.


Adding this little root to your daily diet can really help to not just fight nausea but also ward off inflammation. Ginger has been a common staple in Asian, Indian, and Arabic healing therapies to treat inflammation associated with arthritis and ulcerative colitis for years. You can take ginger in it’s whole form, capsule form, or as a tea.


Turmeric, also known as curcumin, is a common ingredient in many dishes. This spice also has been used for thousands of years to fight inflammation. Add a bit to your eggs, soup, salad dressings, pasta sauces and more. This spice not only reduces inflammation but aides in digestion. Add a bit of cayenne pepper to help your body make the most of the turmeric.


This compound with the official name methyl sulfonyl methane combats inflammation with sulfur. Found naturally in cow’s milk, fruits and veggies, as well as meat and seafood, MSM works by adding sulfur to the body which in turn strengthens vital collagen. MSM is available in tablets, capsules, and creams for topical application.


One of the most commonly sold German supplements, this enzyme found in pineapples is often used to treat inflammation in conditions such as arthritis. It is sold in tablet form and also at the grocery store as a meat tenderizer.

Wobenzym N

This is a commonly used over-the-counter all natural supplement effective in treating inflammation and related conditions. This powerful combination of plant enzymes, antioxidants, and pancreatic enzymes encourages and supports the body’s own inflammation response. If you are taking or thinking about taking aspirin on a regular basis I hope you’ve now thought again. The side effects of regular aspirin consumption far outweigh the benefits. Consider any one of these all natural therapies after consulting with your health care practitioner to avoid possible drug interactions. It’s your life, your body, and your choice. Make it an informed one!


American College of Gastroenterology (2010)

Mayo Clinic (2010)

National Institutes of Health (1996)

University of Maryland (2008)

Josh Axe

Dr. Josh Axe is on a mission to provide you and your family with the highest quality nutrition tips and healthy recipes in the world...Sign up to get VIP access to his eBooks and valuable weekly health tips for FREE!

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14 comments so far - add yours!

  1. Susan says:

    Is a headache due to an inflammation? We don’t have any asprin in the house but we do have IBuprofen, which is likely the same or worse, I am sure. I do not use that unless a fever is up to 103 and Peppermint oil in the forehead and feet does not work. I do not get headaches often but when I do, they will lay me up bad. So bad I can’t get my head off the couch. I cave with that pain and take an IBuprofen. So are you saying these things we need to have in our diet all the time or we can take when we have a really high fever or really bad headache?

  2. Charlotte says:

    I have Tinnitus, do you have any advice to help with this ringing in ears?

  3. Ronnie says:

    Great article, I have had questions about this for a very long time. On advise from my doctor, I used to take aspirin each day, but I stopped several months ago. I am glad that I did.

  4. Mike says:

    Dr Axe,
    Thanks for the good info.
    While I am not a chemist or physician,
    The conditions that you mention seem
    to be what I interpret as “worst case”.
    The conditions and reports I see from the other
    info is that in moderation, that is, a small baby aspirin a day may be a better risk than not taking a small dose at all.I am sure that any drug has side affects, however, how many people are going to stick to an anti-inflammatory diet as you indicated,So, if you are disciplined and eat as good as you do or anyone else, then don’t take aspirin. If you do consume foods that are not real and you build up inflammation, then why not take an aspirin.
    I believe most people are not going to eat like they should to avoid the build up of toxins and the like. Most of the reports are probably from studies were people are allergic and took too much. A whole aspirin has 360 plus mg vs 81 for a baby. Again, I don’t think this a one shoe fits all approach for taking or not taking.

    • Chris says:

      Mike, it’s funny to me that you lead off your comment by saying you are not a chemist or a physician but then proceed to make guesses and assumptions about the use of aspirin and the studies that Dr Axe is citing. He clearly lays out the differences between symptoms of aspirin allergies and those of non-allergic one-a-day use. Your whole arguement is based in the fact that people won’t (in your opinion) stick to an anti-inflammatory diet, so they might as well take an aspirin a day. That’s like saying: people won’t stick to a diet that leads to healthy cholesterol, so they might as well just take cholesterol medicine, which has known side effects. This attitude is precisely the kind of attitude that the medical and prescription drug community thrives on, and is precisely the kind of attitude that Dr Axe is trying to educate and motivate people against. I’m not sure what point there is in commenting on his post just to contradict him. If you suffer from the ailments described in the beginning of the article, why not at least try Dr Axe’s suggestions before nay-saying?

  5. Wendy B Page says:

    Question: I have episodes of both clotting and bleeding all through my life. I tried coumadin for 8 months and never got in the “normal” range. I was never comfortable taking it because I knewmy bleeding history but they only seemed focused on the clotting history.

    After a year of searching, they discovered I have PAI… whatever that is; I’ve never really been told. They all act like they don’t know much about it themselves.

    Sooooooo, my Hematologist left it up to me if I wanted lifetime coumadin or not. I chose no. I feel like they aren’t giving adequate effort to search and explain all the issues.

    I was released from her care. Now every Dr I go to now puts my through the 3rd degree about my clotting history. They look frightened by her gicing me the choice and me deciding no.

    My new MD suggested I take a baby asprin daily…. Then I read this article. *sigh*

  6. Nadia G says:

    Hi Dr.Axe I was listening to the radio on my way home and came across your show. What can my boy friend and father use an alternative for aspirin that is just as effective,convenient and affordable.Also I use this alternative salt when I cook for my boyfriend because his blood pressure, is that okay (no slat)?

    • Dr. Axe says:

      Nadia- Check out the section in the article: ‘Safe, Effective Alternatives to Aspirin’
      I’d recommend Bromelain for your boyfriend and father. This enzyme found in pineapples is often used to treat inflammation in conditions such as arthritis. It’s sold in tablet form.

  7. Mike McDerra says:

    My Father was medically given Aspirin for approx 2 years without another medication (unfortunately I don’t know what it was called) but his GP at the time never prescribed the other medication. He has diabetes and is currently suffering from chronic abdominal pain and vomitting. He has had tests and a camera and nothing has been found do you know what could be possibly causing him the pain and vomitting that the doctors could be possibly missing? Thanks.

  8. matt says:

    hi Dr axe I had a heart attack 8 weeks ago and have been prescribed a bunch of medicines including aspirin I have read your article here on this site and I’m wanting to find alternatives for all the medication I’m currently prescribed I’m 36 n a single dad and need to be around to look after my kids could you get intouch via email and maybe give me some advice for alternatives to most or all of my medication I am currently taking any assistance would be greatly appreciated thanks in advance


  9. Sylvie says:

    My husband had a stroke back in March,(blood clot on brain)he is on baby aspirin,Crestor and a low dose of a blood pressure pill,is there vitamins he can take to do what the aspirin and Crestor do,

  10. Carmen says:

    My fibrinogen test was high. My crp was normal.My doctor wants me to take aspirin 81 mg daily Iam 59 and had problems taking pain meds -very afraid to take aspirin because one Tylenol causes burning and stomack aches I was considering taking turmeric tablets please advise. Mom died at 57 heart disease. They test me because I started to have bad pain on my legs bruising and she was trying to rule out blood disorder. Some knots under skin she said it could be a thrombus. Iam getting and ultrasound of my legs today

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