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Making herbal remedies palatable without using sugary ingredients

 
Posts: 46
Location: Port Angeles, WA, United States
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hugelkultur forest garden bee
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Hello Dr. Tilgner, and thank you for being here! I have an ongoing question: why is it that so many herbal remedies require sugar and/or honey and/or fruit juice? I feel so much better having removed most all sources of sucrose and fructose from my diet. I rarely get sick, but I would like to increase my amily's use of herbs for preventative and healing purposes. So much current research substantiates that fructose is as hard on the body as sucrose. Do any of your books address ways of making herbal remedies palatable without resorting to cane sugar, honey or fruit juice? Thanks!
 
pollinator
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Location: WNC 6b
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Hmmmm Im not the Dr...but consider the taste when making herbal blends. If it's a really bitter blend like cherry bark cough syrup, maybe add some mint licorice to ease the bitterness. Choose herbs that will balance the flavors and not be overly bitter. Skullcap is an amazing plant, and seriously bitter.

I just tell my daughter it's good for her. I also taste all my remedies before asking someone to.

Looking forward to reading other suggestions. best of luck.
 
author & pollinator
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Location: Roseburg, Oregon
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Hi Carla,

Many people are attracted to sweet things. Indeed the most common food to use for disguising bad herb tastes is something with some type of sugar in it, sometimes synthetic and sometimes natural. Grape juice is a big favorite as it is good at hiding flavors. For those who want the sweet taste but don't want sugar, even if it is the use of fruits, or honey, the herb Stevia is another choice. It often gets used to hide bad tastes of herbs in a manner that does not supply sugar, but still tastes sweet and makes many people happy.

Personally, I like the taste of bitters, but many people do not. I am not sure how much of this dislike of bitter tasting herbs is learned, and how much is simply due to a protective factor since many toxic herbs are bitter also. Although bitter herbs are probably the ones people dislike the most often, there are many strong tasting herbs that are not liked. There is also always someone who will not like an herb that most other people do.  If someone is really repelled by an herbs taste, I question if it is the herb for them and look at other herbal allies. There are many herbs that act in similar ways and often I can find something else that will work. As was already mentioned, adding good tasting herbs to the mix can be helpful in getting a person to take herbs that they feel taste terrible. If doing this, I would suggest not just looking for an herb or herbs that tastes good, but will also add a healing quality to the formula that is useful for the person besides just tasting good. Not always possible, but worth looking for.

Any food can be used as a base to hide the herb in. It does not have to be something sweet. It could be tomato juice or a bite of spicy salsa. Strong tasting foods are going to work better than mild tasting foods of course. Some foods and herbs play nicely together with co-mingling of flavors and some may make the herb taste worse to the person. Additionally, an herb can be taken and immediately chased down with a simple glass of water. Additionally, the herbs can be put into capsules to hide their taste. It is very easy to encapsulate herbs. You only need the capsules. You do not need the machines that are sol.  You can also use rice paper to wrap up an herbal powder, but simply swallowing the powder with water is easier to me. I often suggest people simply swallow powder with adequate water, and if needed, hold their nose to decrease the smell which is often a big part of how we taste. If you do this, be sure not to breathe in the powder during this swallowing process or it will bother your lungs.

Some people will lick a lemon or lime before taking their herbs to make it taste okay. There are many methods folks use. When I had farm animals I became creative in getting the animals to take herbs. The cats got theirs smeared on their fur, the dogs had herbs place in chunks of meat, the cows got their herbs in apple chunks or mixed with apples (I had lots of apple trees) and the chickens were easy as I just mixed the herbs in with their food and used some hot water to mash it all up. They would eat almost anything I gave them. The goats were more individualistic and I had to come up with new methods for herbs all the time depending on the goat and the herbs.

One thing I do if I have a bad tasting herb I am giving someone is to have them taste it and see if they will take it. If they say no, I ask them what would make them change their mind. Sometimes they come up with better ideas than I would have.
Don't forget to look at all the different choices of preparations as some of them will be more acceptable than others to a person.
 
carla beemer
Posts: 46
Location: Port Angeles, WA, United States
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hugelkultur forest garden bee
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You just gave me so many ideas-thank you so much!! I have always hidden meds in my pets’ foods -never thought to mix in medicinal foods with salsa, etc. (forehead slap)
 
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