Creative Dosing of Herbal Remedies FAQs


How much of the herbs should I take?  Do I follow bottle dosage?

(Some of this advice is for those who have not come to see me and are wanting to try some of my recommendations where I do not suggest dosages. If I have given you a Nutritional Intervention

Swallowing pills

Getting capsules down the hatch can sometimes be a problem.

form, take them as I recommended.  :~)

Whereas major or longstanding imbalances require lots of herb material to get your body tissues to respond quickly, it is not prudent to be impatient.  Encapsulated herbs usually contain about 500 milligrams or ½ gram.  This may not seem like much but remember herbs are strong foods.  (Some people respond to small amounts of certain foods and if you are one of them begin your herbal program slowly.)  So the point is, herbs improve the state and function of the tissues of your body, ½ gram at a time.

A simple rule-of-thumb for non-concentrated encapsulated herbs is 1 capsule per 30 pounds of body weight per day.  So a 180# person would take 6 capsules/day in divided doses.  However the recent trend has been to make concentrated formulas and formulas containing both herbs and vitamins or other isolates so the old fashioned rule does not apply except for simple herbs and herbal combinations that contain no concentrates.

Another rule-of-thumb is to start with the bottle dosage.  Adjust down if your body responds too quickly. In acute situations, you can usually double the bottle dosage for a day or two. And remember there are situations when herbs cannot help.


How often?

I generally dose herbs 2X a day, breakfast (=B) and dinner (=D).  Some herbs that are stimulating to the body’s detoxification efforts I just dose in the morning.  Those that have rebuilding or sedative qualities I sometimes only dose at dinner.   In an acute situation, where the body is mounting a correction of some sort, supportive herbs can be taken every 3 hours.


What if I cannot swallow pills of any kind?

There are many reasons for this (generally associated with the digestive or nervous system) which should be addressed.   Note: If you have trouble with food, etc. getting caught in the throat or have esophageal spasms from time to time it is imperative to start doing the Abdominal Massage.   In the mean time here are some helps for kids of all ages.

I like herbs but I can’t swallow a pill yet.

Capsules float so try this: fill your mouth with water, add the capsule, tilt the head face-down toward the floor and then concentrate on swallowing only the water.  Once the water is gone, so is the capsule.  This doesn’t work for tablets.

One of my little clients told me his trick.  Fill a glass with water and put the capsule on top of the water for 3 seconds.  Then drink it down like you would take a drink of water.  It works.  Thanks Walker.


Special Conditions:

1. Can you swallow food?  Good.  Bring your first bite of well-chewed food forward in your mouth and hide the capsule or tablet into the middle of that bolus of well-chewed food, and then simply swallow it like you normally would.  A capsule is smaller in diameter than that of the normal bolus of food. But capsules and tablets are hard so hiding them in soft food solves that problem.

2.  Can you get soft foods down? OK, so capsules may be opened into applesauce, molasses, peanut butter, yogurt, (even chocolate syrup) etc.  And tablets can be crushed and added to these same kinds of foods.  Be aware that some herbs are really nastily therapeutic and that some herbal combinations contain capsicum (red pepper) as an activator.  So some experimentation may be needed as to what effectively disguises the remedy.  Mommy or daddy should try it first as one bad experience makes little people very non compliant. Mix and measure until you get a palatable delivery of the recommended dosage.

By way of an example recipe of diluting an herb into a carrier, you can deliver 1 capsule or tablet

Capsules may be added to pleasant carriers like molasses for children of all ages.

per teaspoon of molasses (depending on the nastiness of the herb) this way:  In a small container put ¼ cup molasses (= 4 Tablespoons = 12 teaspoons).  Add the contents of 12 capsules or 12 crushed tablets and mix well and taste-test. With this dilution, 1 teaspoon of the mixture is equal to one capsule of the herb or tablet. Add more molasses to the mix if needed to dilute the herb but keep track of how much is added. For example if you have to add another ¼ cup of molasses, then 2 teaspoons of the final mixture is equal to one capsule or tablet. You can try this with peanut butter too. Caution: The more you dilute the herb into the carrier, the more nasty spoonfuls need to be taken…just sayin’.  (See poster comment below)

3.  Are you able to get liquids down?   Encapsulated herbs can be made into teas. Empty 3-6 capsules (again, depends on the taste and your condition) into an empty drinking mug.  Add about a cup of boiling water and allow to come to comfortable drinking temperature. (If you are severely malnourished, instead of water boil some real meat stock)  Honey, molasses or juice may be added as a taste masker.  If intensely nasty, you can sip the tea through a straw positioned to the back of your throat, hold your nose and down the hatch.  Have something handy that is more pleasant tasting to chase it down.  Or, if you find it tolerable, you can sip on it all day.

On the other hand do NOT use boiling water for tablets or vitamin encapsulations. You will need to allow them to dissolve in water or juice at room temp until they fall apart and can be stirred with a straw and then drunk through that straw as done with the herbal teas.

4. Do you throw up whatever you eat, or, does your tummy hurt after you eat anything?

Typically this means the stomach or small intestine is grossly inflamed OR the liver’s digestive function is insufficient. (This used to occur with chemo’d guts but now chemo cocktails are laced with drugs so you don’t feel how sick they are making you – until they wear off.)  It also occurs when radiation cooks your liver.  OK so when the drugs wear off….

Follow the instructions in number 3 above BUT just hold the liquid in your mouth. It can be absorbed through the mucosal lining and even dribble down the sides of your throat.  Set a timer and swallow about a tablespoon through a straw every 15 minutes.  In these cases I recommend having the person also use the broth remedy with the herbs.


What about dosing for babies and small kids?

Kids respond very well to herbs but nasty herbs require creative techniques.

For babies and toddlers the dosage is often less than a whole capsule so the recommendations in #2 and #3 above apply.  Take into consideration the taste of the herb.  Do the adult taste test first.

1.  Mild tasting remedies.  Something mild like Slippery Elm or Parsley can be sprinkled onto food the child is already eating.  Similarly tablets that pass the adult taste-test can be crushed and sprinkled on foods.  Some very mild ones can be sprinkled into baby’s mouth or wetted with breast milk and spoon fed.

2. Pungent or hot remedies.  Some remedies containing capsicum (red pepper) or Lobelia are very unpleasant to little taste buds.  Here they must be diluted in a large quantity of food to make them acceptable.  So for example, ½ capsule of Nerve Control can be mixed into ½ cup applesauce or a mashed sweet potato and given at several feedings.  Another option is to use a carrier like hummus.


2 Responses to Creative Dosing of Herbal Remedies FAQs

  1. Tara Knowlton says:

    My four year old needed to take 2 capsules daily of an unpleasantly flavored herb. Since she wasn’t able to swallow it, I had to come up with something to mix it in to mask the flavor. We tried smoothies, but we could still taste the herb too strongly. What I came up with was to melt some semi-sweet chocolate chips and mix in the herb. No complaints now! 🙂

  2. Anna Tuckwiller says:

    Hi Pat,

    I hope you are doing well. I’ve been trying to find information on your site specifically related to pregnancy and morning sickness. I’ve seen a few bits mentioned here and there. Is there a separate section that I am missing?

    (Also, tis not for me. 🙂

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