Herbs: Are Tinctures or Capsules Best?
Answered by: Susan Eagles
Question from: Hope
Posted on: September 10, 2000

I just bought black walnut capsules from Nature’s Herbs and noticed that there’s no odor. Is that normal? Is it better to buy it in tincture? If so, alcohol or non alcoholic? The same question with astragalus: is it better as a tincture?

The advantages of taking herbs in capsule form are convenience, and that you don’t taste the herb. The disadvantage is that the dry form of the herb is not as easily absorbed in the digestive system as are teas and tinctures. The capsule itself takes time to break down, so the extraction of the herb from the capsule may not be complete. The tincturing process extracts the medicinal constituents of the plant, making these constituents available for easy digestion and absorption. Alcohol is usually the best solvent for the medicinal constituents of plants.

In the case of herbs used to help the digestive system, it is often important that they are tasted. The therapeutic effect of bitter herbs starts with the bitter taste in the mouth, and may be completely lost in capsule form.

The quality of herbs used in preparations is important to the therapeutic effect. It is more difficult to judge the quality of the herbs in capsule form because you can’t smell them.

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