Herbal Medicine 101
🌿WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO TAKE HERBS?🌿
I get this question from clients SO often...and it’s s really good one! I mean let’s be real, there are capsules, tinctures, glycerins, teas, dried powders, fresh leaves...HOW DO WE KNOW WHICH ONES TO USE?! If you’ve ever wondered this, trust me—you’re not alone. But hopefully by the end of this post, you’ll have a better understanding of what to use when 💚
🌱TINCTURES are far and away the best form in which to consume herbs. Relatively cheap and easy to make, quick and easy to consume, and less gag-worthy than drinking a whole mug of tea (especially for the nasty herbs like goldenseal 🤮). Tinctures also have a much better absorption rate than capsules and glycerins, and tend to be more potent than teas. Furthermore, they are the longest lasting of all herbal forms. However, due to the alcohol content (sometimes up to 60% alcohol), tinctures can be contraindicated for individuals with liver and pancreatic problems.
🌱Glycerins are another convenient way to get high potency herbs in a small package. Glycerins typically do not taste as bad as tinctures, as glycerin, as a polysaccharide, is fairly sweet. However, as a polysaccharide, glycerins must be metabolized in the liver which slows the absorption of the overall herb, which results in reduced potency. Glycerins are not ideal for the average individual, but are a great option for those who cannot tolerate alcohol (or have a religious or moral belief against using alcohol or alcohol-containing products). They are also relatively inexpensive, but not as easy to obtain as tinctures.
🌱Teas are another great way to ensure you’re getting maximum potency. Teas like peppermint, ginger, chamomile, and dandelion have been used for centuries to treat ailments of all types. They are easy to obtain, optimal in times of illness, and the cheapest of all forms of herbs. However, teas can be inconvenient and time-consuming to take if you’re a busy or on-the-go individual, and can be very difficult to swallow (literally) if a less-than-optimal-tasting herb 🤢😖
🌱Dried powders are rarely used for most medicinal herbs, as this form of herb can be quite irritating to the gut lining. However, for herbs that double as culinary herbs (like cumin, oregano, ginger, etc.), this is an easy, delicious, and cheap way to add herbs into your daily diet. Dried herbs are most potent when heated, however, so be sure to either add them during the cooking process, OR roll them briefly in your hands to “wake them up” and release the volatile oils.
🌱Capsules are another fantastic way to include herbs in your daily regimen. Easy to find, cheap, and quick to consume, capsules are ideal for those herbs you just CANNOT bear to stomach or even taste. However, due to the delayed release effect of the capsules, the potency is of course reduced with capsules. However, for very strong herbs (such as anthraquinones), capsules are actually preferable to other forms. Capsules may be contraindicated for young children and the elderly, due to the risk of choking.
🌱Fresh herbs are probably the least potent, but most culinary-friendly and enjoyable to take. Herbs like rosemary, thyme, oregano, and basil are all excellent and flavorful additions to a meal, while simultaneously providing an abundance of immune-boosting and healthful benefits. Fresh herbs can be expensive (especially if buying organic), but growing your own is easy, cheap, and rewarding.
I hope this has been helpful and informative, and that you have a better idea of the differences between various herbal preparations! If you have any questions, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Until next time!
Stay well friends,
“The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” —Revelation 22:2