Capsules and caplets - these are herbs that have been ground or sometimes pulverized, and then put into capsules. Herbs delivered in this manner go through the digestive system. this delivery system is ideal for either very large doses of herbs as well as for herbs with undesirable tastes, such as very bitter. Chinese herbs sometimes use Tea Pills. These are small, hard pills that are best taken with warm water to facilitate dissolving.
Tinctures - tinctures are made by extracting the constituents from the plant. This may use water, alcohol or a combination of both depending on the water solubility of the constituents. Glycerite is sometimes substituted for the alcohol after the constituent has been extracted form the plant material. This is good for people with alcohol sensitivity or who just wish to avoid the use of alcohol. For cough medicines, honey is sometimes used for its soothing properties and pleasing taste.
Decoctions - this is where the herbs are boiled and the liquid ingested. Chinese Herbs are most potent in this form.
Infusions - boiling water is added to the herbs and the container sealed for 8-10 hours. Then the liquid is ingested. Like decoctions this is a potent way to take herbs.
Salves and Creams - the herbs are added to a delivery material like cream, vaseline, or other material and then applied topically
Patches - this is where an herb is ground with a little moisture like water or saliva to create a poultice, generally used to heal external wounds like snake bites or insect stings.