virobiotic-handsQ: How many days will an ounce of tincture last me?

A: That depends on the dose. Divide 1200 by the recommended drops displayed on the label (there are around 1200 drops in a one ounce bottle). This will give you the approximate number of doses. Then take the doses and divide it by the number of times a day you should take it and you will have the number of days it will last. For example, a one ounce tincture formula that recommends a dosage of 30 to 60 drops three times a day will be used up in 6 to 14 days.

Q: Sixty drops sounds like a lot. Do I really have to take that much?

A:In actuality it’s not a lot, being only half a teaspoon. However, it is convenient to know that there are around 30 drops in each squeeze of a dropper since counting them out can be tiresome. The most that can be sucked into a dropper is 30 drops, regardless of dropper size, and fills the dropper half way to three quarters depending on the size of the dropper. If still uncertain, just count the drops in your dropper and find out for yourself.

Q: How do I know what the right dose is when there is a range on the bottle?

A: The dosage range on tincture bottles, 30-90 drops for example, takes into account the size and health needs of an adult. Besides size, consider whether your body (or constitution) is strong. You can take more if you are relatively strong. If you have had a chronic illness that has weakened your general long term health, or if you have a sensitive constitution to begin with, take less. It is also wise to listen to how your body feels with the given dose and adjust your dosage within the recommended guidelines from there. The elderly should always take smaller doses than the highest recommended adult dose.

Q: If a little is good then more is better right?

A: Not necessarily. Some herbs that are supportive at certain dosages can be toxic at larger doses, or at least have unpleasant side effects. For example, Lobelia in small doses can relax and decongest the lungs while also helping with nicotine cravings, but in larger doses can cause vomiting. The medicinal properties of the plant cause both the good and bad effects but the dosage is what changes the reaction the body has to it. Therefore, it is important to stay within the recommended guidelines unless you are absolutely sure that the herb is safe at higher dosages. The best way to find out is to ask a qualified herbalist.

Q: When is the best time of day to take a tincture?

A: You will get the best absorption and effect from your herbal medicine if it is taken away from food, either a half hour before a meal or two hours after.

Q: Can my children take the same tinctures I do?

A: Often times children can take the same formula an adult is taking as long as you lower the dose. I do not recommend giving children under five alcohol, but you can put the appropriate tincture dose, reduced for the size of the child, in a small amount of hot water to evaporate most of the alcohol off.  Children under five also do better with milder herbs like Lemon Balm rather than a strong herb like Valerian that might be needed for an adult to get to sleep – and it tastes better. We make several gentler glycerite formulas for kids that taste good and help with colds and flus, restlessness, colic and tummy aches. Glycerites are tinctures in which the herbs are extracted into a sweet glycerin base that does not contain alcohol. Glycerin extracts many herbs well and preserves them for at least a year. Always check an old glycerite for spoilage before giving it to a child. Signs of spoilage are a change in smell (a fermented smell will appear) and a thick coating on the top of the glycerite. To keep glycerites longer, keep them refrigerated. To figure the correct dosage for your child, divide his or her body weight by two.  This is the number of drops to give your child.

Q: How long does it take for herbs to have an effect?

A: That depends on the ailment and the herb. If you are taking an herb to help you sleep you want it to work immediately. It will if you’ve got the right herb for you, it is of good quality, and you don’t have other more serious issues affecting you. However, chronic problems like eczema or depression can take longer to respond to herbs, as much as a month. There is also a period of time that is needed for the herbs to work fully, so that the ailment will not come back when the treatment is stopped. I suggest taking a break from your herbal medicine a few days each month to check your progress. Each time you stop taking the herbs, you should have less of a recurrence of the original problem. While it may seem that this is a long time to be taking herbs, since you are usually resolving the root of the problem rather then just masking the symptoms, it is well worth it. If herbs are not helping you with your issue after one month or you feel worse, you may want to find an herbalist or other qualified practitioner to help you find the right protocol for you.

Q: How do I know which herbs are safe in pregnancy or while nursing?

A: Generally the time to be most careful in pregnancy is during the first trimester (the first three months). If you have a history of miscarriages, you will want to be more careful throughout. The main herbs to avoid throughout pregnancy are those with alkaloids such as goldenseal, laxatives such as rhubarb and anything with a hormonal action like licorice. Nursing has different concerns because not all herbs that would be going through the bloodstream actually get into the milk. Sometimes you may even want the effect of your herbs going into the milk as a way of supporting your baby when he or she is ill. In order to truly know whether an herb will be OK, call us. We can lead you to the right herbs that are safe during pregnancy or while nursing and can make up a special formula if you need it.

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