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How to Take Liquid Herbal Extracts

Following the dosage guidelines on the label, you can take the extracts straight from the dropper or dosage spoon. With herbal extracts and tinctures it is not necessary to take them under the tongue as is sometimes advised with other herbal or homeopathic remedies.

To reduce the intensity of the taste of the extract you can dilute the dosage in a small amount of water, juice or herb tea. (A juice glass or shot glass can be handy for this.) You can also follow the dose with berry juice, herb tea, crystallized ginger or mint such as Altoids or St. Claire’s Organic Mints to help clear the taste from your mouth.

To reduce the quantity and taste of alcohol in the extracts, measure the dose into a coffee mug and add about a half cup of boiling water from the tea kettle. Wait until the liquid in the mug has cooled enough to drink. This technique will evaporate most of the alcohol for sensitive folks. Never cook or microwave herbal extracts, because the heat may destroy many of their effective qualities.


Dosing Strategies

As needed:
Some herbs and herbal blends can be effective when taken on an occasional or as-needed basis. Examples are flower essences for anxiety, herbs for getting to sleep, allergy symptoms, menstrual cramps, coughs or occasional digestive upsets.

Acute conditions:
Herbal blends for help in fighting infections and calming inflammation should be taken frequently and consistently for best results. Examples are echinacea and other cold or flu remedies, taken at 3 to 5-hour intervals. Regular and consistent dosing can also help break patterns of coughs and muscle spasms and fight off infections.

Dosing Up:
Some herbal blends can be used to help relieve occasional distresses or acute illness by taking several full doses at short intervals and then gradually reducing the frequency and amount of the dose until a level of comfort is achieved. Examples include anxiety attacks, flu or cold onset, severe menstrual cramps or flooding or onset of a migraine headache. Although this method can be amazingly effective, if you find that you are using this method repeatedly for the same symptoms, it is time to seek deeper understanding and treatment of the underlying condition.

Chronic conditions:
Herbal blends and tonics to relieve discomforts and shift patterns of chronic illness are best taken 2 or 3 times a day. Examples are herbal blends for premenstrual syndrome, menopausal discomforts, benign prostatic hypertrophy, arthritis, and asthma.

Spirit doses:
Using fractional doses (2 to 5 drops) of herbs can be an effective alternative for folks whose medications or fragile mental or physical health precludes them from taking full doses of herbal remedies. Flower essence preparations and extracts made by hand from fresh herbs are most effective as spirit doses.

Be sure to discuss recommended dose amount and frequency with your herbalist.

Jim McDonald gives a nice perspective on dosing in his article Thoughts on dosage . .