If you are someone who has trouble taking your herbs or supplements, here are some tips to help you take them so you can reap their therapeutic benefits:
Tablets and Capsules:
Tablets and capsules can be difficult to swallow for some people, especially for children, adolescents, and the elderly. Some medical conditions can also affect your ability to swallow them such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, etc. The size and shape of the tablet or capsule can also be a factor.
The best way to swallow them is to place the tablet towards the back of your tongue in the centre (pointed long-ways down your throat if capsule-shaped), and wash it down with some water or juice (nothing fizzy) whilst using your tongue to exaggerate the swallowing action. Sometimes tilting your head back can help.
Try not to delay swallowing for too long as once the moisture in your mouth makes contact with the tablet or capsule, the outer coating can get a little sticky making it more difficult to swallow.
If you find it difficult to swallow tablets whole, try breaking them in halves or quarters, to swallow them in smaller portions. Some people even resort to chewing them!
Some tablets can be crushed, and capsules can be opened up and emptied out. They can then be mixed with a little honey or food. Make sure you check with your practitioner before doing this as some tablets and capsules are designed to be swallowed whole to exert their therapeutic effect.
Some powders are flavoured and can be quite pleasant to take, whilst others can have unpleasant tastes and textures. If a powder has been prescribed to you over a tablet or capsule, there is generally a therapeutic reason for it. For example, powders are usually better absorbed, which is especially beneficial for people with digestive insufficiencies.
Try to take them mixed with water, and if you find the taste hard to stomach, try drinking them quickly. Remind yourself that you are taking them for a therapeutic action to make you feel better in the long run. Powdered supplements are not beverages and expecting them to taste like one is setting yourself up to be very disappointed.
If water isn’t working for you, try mixing them with some juice or into a smoothie to disguise the flavour and texture. Holding your nose whilst drinking them can help, as can washing it down with a drink afterwards (before you let go of your nose), to help get rid of the taste.
You could also try mixing powders into foods. For example, protein powders mix well into things like porridge, soups and stews, etc. As a general rule, any powder that needs to be refrigerated should only be mixed with cold or room temperature foods and drinks.
Again, check with your practitioner before mixing powders into different foods. For example, some may lose their potency when mixed into warm or hot foods, others may require additional water intake, or need to be consumed fairly quickly after being mixed.
Liquids, like powders, can be flavoured or unflavoured. They are also prescribed over tablets and capsules for a particular therapeutic reason, and the above tips for taking powders can be used to help you take liquids.
The most common liquids prescribed are liquid herbal mixes. They are mixed specifically for you, and can often have multiple therapeutic actions. Addressing all of these actions in tablets, capsules, or powders may not possible with the one product, so a liquid herbal mix can also save you money rather than purchasing multiple products.
Liquid herbal mixes can be quite strong tasting depending on which herbs they contain. Taking them quickly, diluted in a small amount of water (like a shot) is often the best way. You can then wash it down with a drink. Try taking a small sip of water or juice beforehand, holding it in your mouth to coat your tongue, and then taking the shot. This can minimise the aftertaste on your tongue.
Jelly is another great way to get your liquid herbs down, especially for children. Just make the jelly as directed on the packet and pour it into individual servings. Ice cube trays are great! Then, measure out individual doses and pour them into each serving before you pop the jelly in the fridge to set. Each serving of jelly then equates to one dose of your herbs.
As an absolute last resort, you can try taking them in a small amount of flavoured soft drink. Some people find this minimises the taste the most.
Oils in a liquid form, such as fish oils and flaxseed oils, can also be flavoured or non-flavoured. For most people, it is not generally the taste that is such a problem, but rather the oily texture.
The best way to stop the texture being so noticeable is to use the tongue-coating trick above. When taking oils this way, don’t dilute them, rather, use another liquid to coat your tongue, take the oil like a shot, and then wash it down with another drink or some food.
Oils can also be mixed into smoothies and foods, again just make sure you check the temperature of the food is not too hot as it may minimise the therapeutic effect.
At the end of the day, do whatever you need to do to get your supplements into your belly. The best supplement is one that you actually take rather than one that just sits in its container!
As always, contact me if you need futher help.
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