Herbal Medicine

Taking liquid herbs



I love using liquid herbal medicines in my clinic because they are individually designed on a client by client basis and there is the potential to work on a few conditions with one bottle of herbs which keeps patient costs down and also means less supplements to take each day.

The one and only down side to liquid herbs is the taste! Ohh man can it be bad! Even I have to psych myself up to take some of my mixes and the really yucky ones will be taken followed by a lot of complaining and face pulling!

The feral taste of liquid herbs is the main complaint I hear in my clinic (others include the size of the tablets and the taste of the powders). The great thing is that my clients persevere and continue to take their herbs despite the taste. Why? Because they work! Plain and simple, no other explanation needed.

Liquid herbs are cost-effective, quickly and easily absorbed and really work so for this reason I will often tell my clients to just ‘suck it up’ and take their herbs. Really, it’s a moment of displeasure for a big gain and, if you have ever done a tequila or sambuca shot, I’m sure you can take liquid herbs!

And the good news is, the longer you take them the easier it gets! Often a big part of what we don’t like in liquid herbs is the ‘bitter’ flavour. This is because the western diet is greatly deficient in bitter foods so we are not used to the taste. Once we wake up the bitter taste buds the herbs are quite easy to take.

Other tips for taking your herbs

1.       Take them as a shot
Don’t pour your dose of herbs into a 200ml glass of water and force yourself to scull the whole thing! I advise my clients to measure out their herbs and then fill the rest of the measuring cup with water and get it down quick, like a shot.

2.       Use warm water
One of my clients told me that this makes them a whole lot easier to swallow.

3.       Use pineapple juice
I don’t like mixing my herbs with juice because it just makes the juice taste bad. But some people find them easier to take this way.

4.       Wash them down with a glass of water with lemon juice
This will help to get the aftertaste out of your mouth

There are other options like glycerine and special flavour mixes that can be purchased from the herb wholesalers to add to the formula but I don’t believe in using these so I don’t stock them in my clinic. I know, I’m a big meanie!
Certain herbs, like those used to improve digestive function, actually need to be tasted. The bitter taste is what gets your digestion started so there is nothing gained by covering the taste up. Plus I don’t want to waste space in the formula with a flavour improver instead of using a valuable herb. And, I hate it when people try to mask an unpleasant flavour. I can always taste the real flavour underneath and it just makes the whole experience a lot worse. So I believe that the flavour of liquid herbs should be embraced!

Now, I don’t want to totally turn you off using liquid herbs.  Some people actually like the taste and I have to admit that I will sometimes take a mix and find myself saying “ohh yummy” afterwards! To me, Liquorice is delicious and cramp bark is pretty good too! I always tell my new clients how bad their herbs are going to taste and really make them sound like the worst thing ever and I am often pleasantly surprised when they come to their next appointment and say “the herbs were fine, I don’t mind taking them at all”.

So I guess the message is, we’re all different and our taste buds are different too but if you persevere with your herbs, you should get used to the taste.
And if not, whinge enough and your naturopath will probably give in and order you tablets instead but remember, this will probably be more expensive as you’ll more than likely need a few different tablets to cover the different actions of the liquid herbs.


Do you have any secret tips for taking liquid herbs? Please share them with us in the comments box below 

Herb Profile: Passionflower

This week I’m profiling Passiflora incarnata commonly known as Passionflower.

This is such a beautiful, calming herb that I commonly use in sleep formulas or anxiety mixes.

Its actions include reducing anxiety, reducing muscle spasms, decreasing nervous tension, and inducing sleep.

We naturopaths and herbalists use passionflower to help people get to sleep and stay asleep, reduce irritability or anxiety, reduce headaches and period pain, to help support people withdrawing from drugs and alcohol, to aid asthma and coughing, as well as for people who get an upset stomach when nervous.

I find that passionflower works wonderfully in sleep mixes for both adults and children and it can also be taken as a tea.

Passionflower should not be used in pregnancy (unless under the close supervision of your herbalist or naturopath). And as with all herbal medicines and supplements it is always best to get advice and recommendations from your Naturopath if you think passionflower might be the herb for you