Digestion VS. Sublingual
Herbs can be prepared in MANY forms for ingestion and topical use. We're going to talk about ingestion here. What are the differences between taking herbs sublingually vs. digestion?
Digestion: Capsules, tablets, dog bones = anything that is swallowed
Herbs can be powdered and then encapsulated of pressed into a tablet. These are the most common ways of taking "medicine" and for some, herbs. THEN for dogs, you can make biscuits. These herbs are powdered, mixed into a tasty recipe, cooked and dehydrated. This method takes more time, but is an easy way for dogs to ingest medicinal herbs.
How it works: When the bones are chewed or capsules/tablets are swallowed, it breaks down exposing the herbs. As the material passes through the stomach and into the small intestines the nutrients are ready to be absorbed. The small intestines have cellular structures resembling little hairs called villi that are used to assimilate the nutrients we digest. Depending on the strength and health of the digestive system, it will assimilate or absorb what nutrients it can before the digestion process continues to the large intestines to be stored for elimination. Since the herbs have to be broken down and travel through the digestive system to be absorbed, the effects can take up to an hour to be noticed.
Sublingual: When an herb is taken sublingually, it means it is absorbed through the mucous membranes in the mouth straight to the blood stream. This form is usually in some type of liquid or dis-solvable tablet or pellet. You will find these liquids to be called tinctures or glycerites. These are concentrated extracts of an herb. A smaller amount is needed to get the same nutrients than in a larger amount of "tea" or a water extraction. A glycerite is an extract or tincture using glycerin as the medium instead of alcohol. A more common form of a tincture is using alcohol as the medium.
How it works: A glycerite or tincture is absorbed directly into the mucous membranes in the mouth. The properties of the plant are in the liquid and are absorbed into the bloodstream. No digestion is needed. Since the medicinal properties are absorbed through the mouth, the desired effects are achieved much quicker, usually within 5-15 minutes.
Some important things to consider:
1. What is the easiest way for me or my dog to take these herbs?
2. Which way of assimilation will give me the effects we need, at the time we need them?
We will be discussing the pros and cons of each method as well as how to go about dosing in the next blogs! See you there