Understanding Herbal Preparations: Capsules

Understanding Herbal Preparations: Capsules

Posted by TriLight Health on Aug 11th 2022

There are times when it is inconvenient to take a liquid herbal formula. Other times an herb has an awful taste and it’s best to get it down any way possible! These are moments when an herbal capsule can be useful. Herbalists often recommend capsules for folks who are busy and need to be able to take their herbs on the run. They’re also useful for travel. 

What are herbal capsules?

An herbal capsule is an empty pill capsule filled with herbs. They have the same size, shape, and appearance as any other supplement or pill. Most often considered a supplement, these are likely to be sold at grocery stores and herbal apothecaries.

How are they used?

Typically these are swallowed whole. For those who can’t swallow, they may be opened and added to something like applesauce or yogurt. Caution should be used when opening a capsule, however, to ensure it can be opened. Some have a coating to assist with digestion and/or contain herbs best ingested in a capsule.

Herbal capsules are also chosen when an exact amount of herb needs to be consumed. (Though liquid preparations typically have higher absorption levels)

How are herbal capsules made?

An empty capsule is filled with powdered herbs. Capsules are made of gelatin or cellulose. Capsule filler trays make the job much easier! Empty capsules are loaded into the tray. The powder is poured over the capsules, smoothed out evenly into the pills, and the tops are placed on. Capsules can also be filled by hand but it is time consuming and messy.

What herbs are commonly used?

Almost any herb can be used in a capsule- only a handful shouldn't be used. Herbalists may include only one type of herb or a blend of herbs. The herbs should be in powder form when made into a capsule. These can be ground with a mortar and pestle or purchased ground. 

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