MedCapsules Forum
Dried herbs vs. tinctures and teas for healing - Printable Version

+- MedCapsules Forum (
+-- Forum: Main Lobby (/forumdisplay.php?fid=1)
+--- Forum: Holistic Medical Topics (/forumdisplay.php?fid=18)
+---- Forum: Herbal Medicine (/forumdisplay.php?fid=80)
+---- Thread: Dried herbs vs. tinctures and teas for healing (/showthread.php?tid=2893)

Dried herbs vs. tinctures and teas for healing - James - 07-06-2012 08:01 AM

I rarely recommend tinctures for a variety of reasons. The main reasons are the loss of some beneficial compounds or alteration of the herb's chemistry, higher cost and less stability.

The one advantage of liquid forms of herbs is faster absorption. But even this is not a big advantage since powders taken on an empty stomach absorb nearly as fast.

For most conditions immediate absorption is not required. For example, if you are treating things like obesity, thyroid dysfunction, arthritis, etc. the few minutes you save on absorption with liquids makes no difference.

On the other hand, if you are having something like a severe asthma attack those few minutes of difference can be a big problem. So a tincture under the tongue of antihistamine/antileukotriene herbs to stop the attack immediately is desired.

There is also a very persistent myth that tinctures are more stable. Studies have actually shown that the active components in many herbs tested were destroyed in tinctures in a matter of months.

On the other hand most powdered herbs maintain their active constituents for years. Although there are a few exceptions such as echinacea and yohimbe, which are both very unstable and quickly lose potency when dried.

Other disadvantages of tinctures are:

-The loss of fiber needed for the intestinal flora.

-The alcohol can alter herbal chemistry negating the effects of some herbs, and will speed up degradation of the herbs.

This is why the only time I really recommend tinctures are in cases of emergencies where a quick effect is required such as an asthma attack, or as a bitter since higher levels of the constituents of the herb are not really going to be in play. All you need here is the bitterness to stimulate the vagus nerve. But again, it will depend in large part on the stability and other chemistries of the herb. Some herbs have a greater stability than others.

I rarely recommend teas for medicinal purposes for some of the same reasons. The vitamins and many of the other active components in many herbs are heat sensitive and thus can be rapidly destroyed in hot water. But again it depends on the herb. Pau d' arco for example is heat stable, and some herbs such as slippery elm and marshmallow root need to be boiled to form mucilages. For the most part though I consider most herbal teas to be for flavor, not for healing.