As most of our patients taking herbs know, herbs do not taste good. There is a reason for this. The Chinese materia media (all Chinese herbs) are classified by their tastes–different tastes have different functions. For example, sweet tonifies deficiencies and sour astringes fluids. Therefore, taste has a purpose.
At the same time, we must find ways to “get them down the hatch”. Over the years, I have come up with a few tricks that have been useful in drinking herbs on a daily basis:
1. Suck on a mint right before drinking the herbs. Especially if its a strong mint, you’ll find that the cooling sensation “numbs” the mouth and you can not taste the herbs as strongly.
2. I used to think that making the herbs as concentrated as possible was the best way. Now, however, I’ve found that diluting them and making a larger amount to drink is best. I drink a few big gulps at one time, then come back a few minutes later to finish the dose. The taste is not as strong and is easier to drink.
3. Have a “treat” after taking the herbs. One of the most difficult aspect about taking herbs is making the time to do so, especially if you think the experience is not enjoyable. If I know that I’ll get a little chocolate or a cookie after I chug the herbs, I’m more likely to take them.
4. Keep reminding yourself of why you’re taking herbs. Is your condition more tolerable than herbs? (I imagine they are not!) Herbs are prescribed for a specific purpose and are EFFECTIVE, but only if you take them. I have always found it empowering to know that there is something I can do to take care of myself and I remind myself of that every time I stand over my kitchen sink and chug a mug of herbs.