Herbs are commonly retailed in solid-dose form, mainly as tablets or capsules on the other hand herbal therapists tend to use traditional liquid preparations such as herbal tinctures, syrups and glycerites, but what is the best way to take your herbs?
Herbal Liquid Preparations vs Herbal Solid Preparations
Herbal liquid preparations offer significant advantages when compared to tablets or capsules. Herbal liquid preparations are manufactured with minimal processing thus reflecting the real chemical spectrum of the original herb in way that it can be easily absorbed by your body. A solid herbal dose such as a tablet or capsule when taken will need first to be fragmented to release the plant’s preparation which in turn will need to be dissolved in the digestive juices to be absorbed by the body. The level of absorption into the bloodstream of an herbal capsule or tablet will depend on the rate and degree of solubilization of the phytochemicals in a solid-dose. Whereas in herbal liquid preparations the phytochemicals are already in fully solubilised liquid form with much higher bio-availability to be absorbed into the bloodstream.
Herbal capsules or tablets are provided in defined dosages and intake recommendations. For example, it will be difficult for you to divide a capsule or table and dissolve it in water or juice as often the phytochemicals are not water soluble and may precipitate. On the other hand, herbal liquids offer a better dosage control and flexibility as you can regulate yourself how much are you taking and how you are taking them. This is especially important when giving herbs to children where low doses are advised and liquids are easier to take than tablets.
Herbal liquid preparations often have a strong taste, you can improve this by reducing the intensity of the contact through the dilution of herbal liquid preparation in water or juice. However, it is important to keep an adequate contact time in the oral cavity as it is thought that this can result in primary absorption of the phytochemicals. The ideal dilution for optimal contact time and the intensity of the contact of the liquid herbal preparation in the mouth consists in the dilution of a 5 ml liquid herbal preparation in 10 ml of water of juice. Alternatively, you can always chill your herbal liquid preparation or diluted it in cold water or juice which reduce the sensitivity of your taste buds and olfactory nerve.
Summary: Herbal liquid preparation liquid preparations such as herbal tinctures, syrups and glycerites offer higher bio-availability and flexibility in the intake than solid herbal preparations solid but may have a stronger taste when compared with a herbal capsule or tablet.