I have really been getting into my herbs lately, but there are a few herbs that I want to take on a regular basis and I don’t really prefer the flavor of them; Ashwagandha and Holy Basil to be exact.
Ashwagandha and Holy Basil are both adaptogen herbs. Adaptogens are herbs that are thought to help the body find a balance, particularly with adrenal stress and hormonal balance. They are thought to allow your body to decide where it needs the balance and help your body to bring things into balance and maintain this balance.
Aswagandha smells and tastes terrible. The Indian name for it roughly translates into “horse urine” and when you smell it, you will understand why. However, it is supposed to help you increase muscle mass, stamina and endurance, help with stress and anxiety, reduce pain and inflammation in joints and muscles, increase energy, and help balance the thyroid and adrenal glands. Sounds good to me!
Holy Basil is another adaptogen herb that is thought to also reduce pain and inflammation, reduce stress and fatigue, help maintain blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol, and promote cardiovascular health. Another power-house herb! But it smells and tastes kind of “peppery” and is not something I enjoy in my tea. It does, however, smell sort of like going into Pier One Imports.
There are a few other herbs such as black cohosh, white willow bark, Echinacea, and a few others that I occasionally have a need to consume, but the flavor of them is so bad to me that I definitely don’t want to taste them.
In order to help me to tolerate (and afford) these herbs, I bought a pill capsule machine and some vegetarian empty capsules. At first I was a little nervous about using it, but I was worried about nothing. The first time I used it, I had success. It’s a breeze!
Buying herbal supplement pills already made up can be expensive and you have no idea if they actually contain what they say they do. The only way to be sure is to buy the herbs yourself and put them in your own capsules. It is also MUCH cheaper to do. I bought 4 ounces of Ashwagandha powder for $6.39 (from Glenbrook Farms). I use only a tablespoon full at a time to make 24 capsules. I have made 5 batches of 24 already and haven’t hardly made a dent in my jar of powder. Buying 60 capsules already made can cost about $18. I have already surpassed 125 pills and haven’t even spent over $3 worth of powder yet.
Here’s how you make the herbal capsules:
Buy powdered herbs, a capsule machine, and some empty gel capsules. You will have to match the capsule machine to the size of pill capsules you buy. I bought the size 0, which makes between 400 to 800 milligram pills (depending on how much you pack into them).
To assemble the machine, you just stack the bottom section on the little stand that comes with it. Below, the left-hand white contraption is the bottom of the machine, stacked on top of the stand. The right-hand contraption is the top of the unit. In the background is the little green card that is used in a later step, and off to the right of that is the tamper tool.
Count out 24 capsules and separate the capsule halves. Load the larger half into the bottom of the unit and the smaller half into the top half of the unit. It is a little difficult to see the clear pill capsules once you load them, so pay attention to the slots you have loaded so that you don’t miss any.
Take about a heaping tablespoon of the herb powder and put it on the top.
Scrape the powder into the holes using the little green plastic card that comes with the machine.
Just keep sweeping it in until all the holes are fully filled.
Now take the tamper that comes with the machine and push the powder down into the pills. Scrape the rest of the powder into the holes, and add a little more if you want so that the capsules are filled to the top.
Take the top half of the machine (that is loaded with the pill capsule tops) and invert it over the bottom half of the machine. Don’t worry, the capsules won’t fall out.
Give it a little push evenly across the top to seal the pill halves together. You don’t have to push very hard. See that white tab down the middle? Push across that from the middle to the outer edge to make sure all the pills are sealed together.
Take the top of the machine off. All the pills are embedded now in the top half of the machine.
Turn this over and push out the pills. They will release easily, so do this over the top of a plate or something to catch them as they fall.
That’s it! Pretty simple, right?
Today I made 4 batches of Ashwagandha and one batch of Holy Basil pills. My husband has also been taking the Ashwagandha, so I made extra.
Previously I made some white willow bark (as an aspirin replacement) and have used that several times already. It works just like aspirin, but gentler on your stomach.
Hope you enjoyed this little picture tutorial. If you were hesitant about getting an herb capsule machine (aka “pill shooter”) fear no more! It’s so simple.