Suppose someone is not able to swallow pills. What doctors will tell them to do is put the pill in something like applesauce or pudding in order to swallow the pill. In such a case, should the person make a bracha or is medicine still the Ikar and you don't make a bracha?

As always, please cite your sources.


An answer taken from here:

  1. What if one drinks water to help swallow a pill?

    If he is thirsty, he should recite a b’racha. If he is not thirsty, he should not recite a b’racha. However, a b’racha is required if any other drink is used in this situation.

  2. What is the reason for this distinction?

    A b’racha is required only when consuming a food or drink that provides some degree of pleasure to one’s taste. Since water is tasteless, a b’racha is only required when it is used to quench one’s thirst or as an enjoyable drink, but not for other purposes such as swallowing a pill. Other drinks always require a b’racha, since they have a pleasurable taste.


Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 50:9

If one had something caught in his throat, and he drank a drink or ate bread -- or any other enjoyable substance -- to help him swallow, he must make a bracha both before and afterwards. However if someone drank [just plain] water, not because he was thirsty, but because it would help him swallow what was stuck in his throat, or other purposes, he should make no bracha, as a person does not enjoy water unless he is drinking for his thirst.

Presumably Kitzur is saying that you'd make a "Shehakol" on apple juice if you used it to swallow a pill; so I'd figure you would make a "shehakol" on apple sauce if it was used as the carrier for a powder. No?

  • It sounds like the Kitzur's case here is only post-facto - when you've realized that you need another substance. This is opposed to Rambam's a priori principal that if you take some flavoring to make medicine more palatable, the medicine is the ikar and bitter and no bracha is needed. Oct 29 '13 at 17:52
  • 1
    @CharlesKoppelman do you have a source for the Rambam's opinion?
    – Bochur613
    Oct 29 '13 at 18:27
  • @Bochur613 Having trouble finding it... I remember reading this, but it may not have been Rambam. It just seemed Rambam to me. Oct 29 '13 at 19:35
  • @CharlesKoppelman I saw it in the Kitzur too, about drinking olive oil for medicinal purposes. Good question.
    – Shalom
    Oct 29 '13 at 20:39
  • 1
    @Shalom you are referring to the Gemarah in Brachos 36a. Do you know where the answer to my question might be found?
    – Bochur613
    Oct 29 '13 at 22:19

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .