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Getting the Dose Right

Getting the Dose Right photo

Getting the dosage right is key to a successful treatment. Here we will look at how you can achieve the perfect dose for each herb through exploration of the six tastes.

Written by Sebastian Pole

The medicinal dose depends as much on the specific nature of the herb you are using as on the person’s age, sex, constitution, digestive capacity, strength, stage of the disease and the season in which the treatment takes place.

Generally speaking:

  • Low dose (0.5-3g of herb powder) balances the natural function of the doshas and influences the emotional system.
  • Medium dose (3-9g) stimulates a specific therapeutic effect that treats a systemic imbalance.
  • High dose (9-30g) either drains or tonifies the whole system.

The effect of dosage on the tastes

Sweet

Dose:  

  • Low: restores homeostasis.
  • Medium: nourishes vata, has a mild laxative action and cools pitta via its anti-inflammatory effect.
  • High: calms the CNS, alleviates vata and relieves pain whilst also aggravating kapha.

Sour

Dose:  

  • Low: stimulates the appetite but may aggravate pitta.
  • Medium:moistens dryness and benefits vata but aggravates pitta.
  • High: contracts the organs.

Salt

Dose:  

  • Low: stimulates digestion and can aggravate pitta.
  • Medium: moistens dryness but can aggravate kapha and is a mild laxative thus benefiting vata.
  • High: breaks accumulations, can cause vomiting and aggravates all three doshas.

Pungent

Dose:  

  • Low: stimulates digestion and increases agni.
  • Medium: stimulates circulation, penetrates the tissues and can aggravate pitta.
  • High: causes sweating, dries ama and dries fluids, therefore aggravating vata and pitta.

Bitter

Dose:  

  • Low: stimulates digestion, clears kapha and awakens the nervous system.
  • Medium: detoxifies the liver and blood.
  • High: drains downwards through the bowel and bladder, cools the system, clears pitta, slows digestion and aggravates vata.

Astringent

Dose:  

  • Low: cleans the mucus membranes and clears kapha and pitta.
  • Medium: holds tissues and organs in place.
  • High: binds and constricts the movement of blood, liquids and prana in the channels, thus aggravating vata.

General dosage levels:

Adults (12-60 years old):

Tea: Hot Infusion (Phantha) 30-60ml of a 1:8 infusion 3 x daily.

Tea: Cold Infusion (Hima) 30-60ml of a 1:6 infusion 3 x daily.

Tea: Hot Decoction (Kvatha) 30ml of a 1:16 reduced to 4 parts 3x daily.

Pills/tablets/gugguls: 250-500mg 2-3 x/day.

Tincture: Average dose of 1-12ml of a 1:5 ratio 3x/day or 1-9ml of a 1:3 ratio 3x/day.

Children (5 –12 years old):

1/4-1/2 adult dose or divide age at next Birthday by 24 = fraction of dose (This is known as Cowling’s dose).

Babies (0 –5 years old):

1/5 tsp of tea.

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