7 Tips for Taking Pills and Liquid Medicines
When we don’t feel better there’s a part of us that would do anything to get better. But another part of us can resist what’s required when it pushes us outside of our comfort zone!
Sometimes a challenging part of healing with natural medicine is figuring out how to swallow the pills and concoctions that are prescribed. Hopefully this article will provide a plethora of ideas for when you or a loved one needs help taking medicines – whether to support recovery from an acute cold, or when committing to the longer-haul of healing from a chronic health issue.
Who Has Difficulty Taking Medicine?
Over the past quarter century, I’ve had many patients who had some form of difficulty taking the herbal products that I recommend. Depending on the patient and their sensitivity, we might try numerous ways of taking an herbal medicine until we find a technique that works for them.
It’s all about creative problem solving combined with a full-on commitment to finding a path forward. In almost all cases we have found a way to get a sustainable, effective protocol working!
Here are some common reasons that a person may feel challenged by taking their herbal medicine protocol:
- Babies, toddlers and small children – they are instinctive, may be ultra picky or fussy, and generally don’t go for anything that tastes spicy or bitter, which is a common flavor of many herbal medicines;
- Older children and teens – swallowing pills is easier for older kids, but there may be strong opposition to taking things that are unappealing, especially long-term;
- People of any age with autism spectrum disorder, chronic neurological Lyme, PANS / PANDAS, or other illness that predisposes them to extreme sensitivities, textural, flavor, smell or other strong sensory likes and dislikes;
- Adults with low tolerance level for bitter or spicy flavors;
- People with difficulty swallowing pills;
- Those suffering from mouth pain, nausea, GERD, throat, digestive, or other health issues that make oral ingestion difficult.
When Medicines Are Hard To Swallow
Here are some ideas for taking vitamins and herbal medicines that have worked for our patients over the years. I bet there’s something here that will work for you!
- Make a medicinal smoothie.
Empty out your vitamin and herbal capsules into a small smoothie. A simple smoothie recipe consists of:
- ½ banana
- ½ cup spinach (or 1 teaspoon spirulina powder)
- 1 Tablespoon nut butter of choice (such as almond, cashew or peanut butter)
- ½ cup spring water
- + all of your daily vitamins.
While it is more ideal to take herbal medicines apart from food, if this method works to get it down, then do it! You will still receive most (if not all) of the benefits.
2. Hide the broccoli in the mashed potatoes.
As the saying goes (and every mom knows), hiding the taste, smell and visuals of something unappealing inside something that is yummy is an excellent way to get the medicine down the hatch.
Simply mix the medicine into a teaspoon or 2 of food. This method is preferred when you want less quantity to swallow (as compared to the smoothie). Some examples of good food carriers include:
- Apple or pear sauce
- Pureed acorn squash or sweet potato; (no time to cook? Try some organic baby food instead).
- Dairy-free yogurt
- Dairy-free pudding
- Raw local honey
- Mashed banana
- Nut butter such as almond, cashew or peanut. This is especially good for hiding strong flavors!
- Dissolve the herbal medicine into a small cup of strong-tasting juice or a milk or milk-substitute.
Juices work well for herbal tinctures, herbal capsules or powders, or vitamins.
The best juices for masking the taste include:
- Pomegranate Juice
- Grape juice
- Apple Cider
Plant-based milks such as hemp, almond, or coconut milk, or (preferably raw) goat or cow’s milk are ideal for diluting our antimicrobial liposomal essential oil remedies.
BONUS TIP: Combine with #4 below!
4. Bypass the tongue.
Use a fun straw or syringe.
a. Dissolve the supplement in water or a tiny amount of juice or plant-based milk, and syringe it into the mouth, or suck it through a straw.
b. Aim the syringe or straw into the cheek and towards the back of the mouth to avoid the taste buds as much as possible, but not towards the throat.
c. You can purchase plastic 20mL syringes from amazon.
- Use a chaser.
Sometimes this method is enough to make a medicine-taking routine do-able long-term.
Good chasers include all the food suggestions listed above, as well as grain-free or gluten-free crackers, mint tea, or a spoonful of non-dairy ice cream.
6. Freeze or chill.
Make each dose into a medicinal ice cube by pouring it into an ice cube tray (mix with a little water, beverage, or recommended food mention above if needed).
Cold reduces the flavor of the medicine, and the icy texture is preferable for many, especially where the taste, or mouth or GI pain or discomfort is involved.
Variation: Mix the medicine with honey to make cold medicinal lozenges that can be sucked on or eaten.
I recommend these stainless steel ice cube trays for freezing herbal medicines.
This method is highly recommended for taking liposomal essential oil remedies, as well as tinctures, or powdered herbs.
7. Consider a Non-Oral Herbal Medicine Delivery Method
If all else fails, there are many ways to take herbs other than swallowing something. This includes herbal suppositories, medicinal enemas (the colon is highly effective at absorbing herbal medicines!
Some natural supplements, including hormones, CBD, and some vitamins, are absorbable via the skin and can be delivered effectively topically.
In addition to essential oil suppositories, we also recommend the Old Faithful Nasal Spray to help with allergies, sinus infection, mold illness, and brain issues due to chronic infections such as Lyme Borreliosis.
At Bloom & Reveal, we offer a wide variety of herbal remedies so that everyone can find natural medicines that will work for their particular needs – from liquid essential oil remedies, to tinctures, herbal brews, and powders, as well as various other types of herbal products – there is something for everyone!
Do you have a favorite method for taking your herbs? Share it below!