Tibetan medicine comes in many forms: powders, pills, pastes, butters, wines, teas, broths, to name a few. The most common form I use is pills, because they are a very stable way to keep the herbs, easy to transport, and simple to take.
I will usually instruct you to powder the pills before taking them, rather than swallowing them whole. The best way to powder your pills is to use a good mortar and pestle, which will make a fine powder in a few seconds. They are a great investment and will last a lifetime, so if you’re inclined to get one I would encourage that. If you don’t have one of these, you can get a pill-crusher for a few dollars at most drug stores, use a heavy sterilized rock on a wooden cutting board, the backs of two metal spoons pressed together, or chew them very well (the easiest and most portable method – my favorite). You want the powder to be fine, not chunky, so if you opt to chew them, know that they will be in your mouth long enough to chew them well, and you may not enjoy the taste. Some of the formulas are very bitter, others mildly spicy, sour, sweet, salty, or astringent.
Each taste has a different potency and medicinal property, so tasting the herbs will give you a clue as to what they are doing in your body. If you don’t want to taste them quite so much, then mix the powder with just enough water to swallow it, making sure to get all the dregs at the bottom of the glass, and then follow that with whatever liquid is indicated on the bag of herbs. My email address is on every bag of herbs that you receive, and I encourage you to contact me at any time if you have questions, confusions or concern arise.
Precious pills contain precious substances that are rare, costly, and potent. They are made with ritual and extensive blessings, which we receive when we take or use them. I always suggest making some kind of ritual that feels good to you around your precious pills. For example, you may want to use a special cup, light some incense or candle, make an altar, set an intention, etc. Additionally, there are some guidelines to follow:
- choose an auspicious day (new moon, full moon or other day of significance)
- the day before and day of taking, avoid meat, alcohol, very spicy food, garlic, and sex
- the night before, unwrap the pill (if wrapped), and place it in a small beautiful cup. pour boiling water over the pill to cover it by a couple of inches. cover the cup and place it somewhere special and protected.
- on the chosen day, arise early, with the sun to take your precious pill.
- before eating or drinking anything else, make your ritual space, and drink the water your pill has been soaking in. then place the pill in your mouth and chew it, tasting it fully, while receiving the blessings.