Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Herbal Dosing

Yesterday we went over raw herb dosing (one bag per day is the full dose - on the West Coast that seems to be halved). Now let's go over extract powder dosing. Today's post is a little more technical and student-oriented, but if you're a patient it's important for you to understand these issues as well.

Concentrated herbal extracts have made herbs much easier to prepare and take. Instead of the hour-long process we saw in yesterday's video, you just take your special pre-measured spoon, measure out a few scoops, mix with boiling water et voila! Your herbs are ready in liquid form, as easy as instant coffee.

The herb powder is generally in a 5:1 concentration, meaning for every 1 gram of powder herbs, it should be the equivalent of getting 5 grams of raw herbs. So, how much powder should you take?

Many practitioners and students prescribe 3 scoops, 3 times per day no matter what the formula. This is a mistake! 3 scoops 3 grams a day is not the same as boiling a bag of herbs per day or even the same as boiling a bag of herbs every other day - because of the nature of concentrated granules, each dosage should be unique.

I'm going to show you how to dose concentrated herbal powder - a procedure I had no idea about until Fritz Hudnut (supervisor at the Yosan clinic) showed me how to do it.

  1. Write your herbal prescription as normal, using standard raw dosages. As an example, let's use the following:
    Chai Hu 9
    Dang Gui 9
    Bai Shao 15
    Bai Zhu 9
    Fu Ling 12
    Shu Di 15
    Shan Zhu Yu 12
    Shan Yao 12
    Mu Dan Pi 9
    Ze Xie 9
    Sheng Jiang 6
    Bo He 3
    Gan Cao 3
  2. Now, add up all the daily raw dosages: 123 grams. If you were taking a raw formula, this is how much herbs you would need to take.
  3. Now divide by the concentration ratio of the herbs you use. Let's assume it's 5:1. 123/5 = 24.6. Let's round off to 24 grams - that's how much powdered herbs you should be using per day.
  4. Using a standard 1 gram spoon and taking three doses a day, that works out to 8 spoons 3 times per day. It also means that, if you give your patient a 50 gram bottle of herbs, it will last all of two days.
  5. Suppose you wanted to give them a half-dose: just divide your final result by two. 24/2 = 12 grams, or 4 spoons 3 times per day.

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