One of the great advantages of homeopathic medicine is that most of them are meant to be taken sublingually, meaning you do not need water. This makes it very convenient, especially when you are on-the-go (for example, in an airport where you cannot bring water anymore, in the plane before take off, in your car, etc.). They are also absorbed by the body very fast (seconds after intravenous). Conversely, most of the other medicines require you take them with some type of liquid. I’ve seen many people swallowing their pills or tablets with juice, coffee and even wine! Let’s see if this is a good idea.
The short answer is NO.
We know that a medicine can interact with another one but it is also important to understand that there are many potential interactions between treatments and beverages. There can be interferences with the absorption and/or the metabolism of the medicine. This can cause a medication to lose some of its activity or become toxic.
Here are a few examples:
MILK: This is mainly an issue when parents put medication in their baby’s milk bottle. When in contact with certain medicines in the stomach, milk can form insoluble complexes that will not be able to be absorbed. This is the case with certain antibiotics, iron salts, etc. Milk can also interfere with some enteric-coated capsules, which are meant to dissolve in the intestines to avoid damage to the stomach. Taking them with milk will make them dissolve in the stomach instead.
TEA: The tannins from the tea can precipitate certain medicines into insoluble complexes that are not absorbable.
COFFEE: It can either decrease or increase the activity of certain medicines.
FRUIT JUICES (mainly from grapefruit and orange): These can also influence the absorption and metabolism of some medicines.
ALCOHOL: This can increase the activity of a medicine and increase its side effects, therefore increasing its toxicity. On the other hand, some medicines will slow down the degradation of alcohol, allowing its toxic by-products to remain longer in the body. This is known as the antabuse effect: hot flashes, tachycardia, nausea, vomiting.
In other words, the best way to take your medicine is with a large glass of (non sparkling) water. You need a sufficient amount of water to wash down the pill so it does not get stuck in the lining of the esophagus or the stomach, where it could cause choking or ulceration, and also to ensure it dissolves properly.