I have heard it time and again, "Can you do anything to make it taste better?"
I know that many herbal formulations don't taste very good, however there's a reason for that: the taste of the herbs relate to what they will do for you. Let me show you.
Your sweet tasting herbs such as astragalus and licorice work to boost, support and tone the spleen. Sweet herbs help to rebuild and harmonize digestion. Fatigue, stomach bloating after eating, irregular bowel movements & insomnia a few symptoms of spleen deficiency. When you can restore your digestion, you feel your energy soar and you become more productive. Did you know that the reason that kids crave sweets is because their spleens are not fully developed? They need sweet herbs or foods like fruit and dates to help their spleens grow.
The first herbs that come to mind when you say sour are herbs like orange peel, lemon peel, hibiscus, wood sorrel or red sorrel, and raw mango powder. If you've ever had Indian or Pakistani food, you've probably had the raw mango. They take it and pickle it and it is truly a puckering experience! Sour herbs and foods work on the liver and gallbladder to produce bile, detoxify your blood, and balance your metabolism. The different acids such as citric acid, malic acid and hibiscus acid in these herbs are what make it sour. They are astringing (takes water or fluids out of the body) and are also good for anyone with diarrhea or incontinence.
Salty herbs help to balance your kidneys and bladder. It helps regulate the minerals that control the water in your body. Kidney herbs like fennel, nettles, alfalfa, meadowsweet and chickweed help to dissolve things like cysts or fibrous adhesions. I also love seaweeds like kelp or dulse, pickles (& pickle juice), and miso- they're all so nourishing to the kidneys.
I feel like spicy herbs are a love/hate relationship. Some people love the spice, some - not so much. But spicy foods really help to increase circulation of your blood and fluids in your body. What are some of the first things that happen when you cut open peppers? Sneezing? Runny nose? Open your sinuses? Start to feel hot? Yes! These herbs are diaphoretic which means they help open your lungs and supports detox through your skin by sweating. Garlic, ginger, and peppers will warm you from the inside. This is why Fire Cider is so well known for boosting immunity and fighting colds. It vitalizes your blood and helps to kill viruses before they get a chance to multiply.
Have you ever had your heart broken? It can make you bitter. The bitter herbs can help tone your heart so you can forgive and love again. Heart palpitations, anxiety, insomnia, a restless mind, red face and ulcers can all be symptoms of needing support for your heart. My favorite three herbs for the heart are hawthorn, motherwort, and rose. Even more, there are some fabulous spices in your kitchen that you can incorporate into your foods like sage, oregano, coriander leaves (cilantro), thyme and turmeric. They are so good and easy to incorporate them into your foods and even better for your body!
What is amazing is you crave different foods that your body is needing to keep your body in homeostasis or balanced. Your body knows what to do! All we have to do is listen. Balance your meals with different tastes and a variety of different foods. The flavors will not only taste good, but will help you!
So back to the beginning, when customers ask, "Why can't you make that tincture taste better?" It's for your health! Why do you want artificial flavors? The chemicals that make up the 'artificial' ingredients, may be part of your health issues. Many people are allergic to artificial colors and flavors, and as an herbalist and apothecarist formulating the best products I can, I only want to contribute to your wellness.