What is the Best Time to Take My Herbs?

A website customer asks:

I always forget to ask this but I have heard it’s VERY important as different herbalists have different thoughts.

When do I take the herbs and can I take them together? …on empty stomach before ….hour after meals or anytime with food or not. And, could I take the 8 pills of the different formulas together, if you know what I’m saying…at the very same time?

I have heard it said many times, that if you put 100 herbalists together, the only thing they would agree on would be to not prepare your herbs in aluminum; same thing for acupuncturists.  As you have noted, there are varying opinions about how and when to take your herbs.

Thanks to author Michael Pollan and others who has shed light on the marketing efforts of the food industry, we now understand that breakfast cereal is not necessarily good for us because it contains “all the necessary nutrients” for life. There is a resulting full blown movement to eat whole, local, organic foods and people are coming back to their senses about nourishing themselves; hopefully, this revolution will also take place with herbs soon.

I have seen no measurable difference in clinic with patient taking their herbs at different times, with or without food, or on an empty stomach. I personally sit down with a large glass of water about ½ hour after lunch and take 100 teapills for the day. This works well for me because of my schedule, and I would never get a full dose if I had to remember to dose 3 times per day.  The most common advise you see is 1 hour before or after a meal, but I am not convinced that this will change any outcomes.

It is ideal to take our herbs together; there is evidence that herbs or essential oils that are combined create a synergistic effect; the combined effect is greater than the individual effect. Some individuals are sensitive to Qi tonics as they may be too stimulating if taken in the evening. I usually advise patients to take Sea of Qi, or Restore the Middle Way formulas before 5 PM so they do not interfere with sleeping patterns.

Personally, I am just impressed when my patients remember to take their herbs at all; with so many years of clinical work, reality and practicality rules.

In Tea We Trust,



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