Basics of Dosing Medicinal Herbs

One of the main issues medical practitioners have in relation to herbal remedies is a lack of accurate dosing information. There are several reasons for this.

Hands-on healing

Herbal medicine is conducted through experience, and individual treatment plans. What works well for one person may not work for another.

The practitioner’s personal preference

Some herbalists have favorite remedies with their own tried and tested doses, but there is no uniformity across all herbalists.

No set dosages

Because there is very little detailed research on herbs and how they can be used to treat particular conditions, there are no set dosages the way there are with prescription drugs.

Purity and potency issues

If you make your own herbal remedies, there might be issues with how pure and potent the herbs are due to the way you harvest, dry and prepare them.

Labeling issues

If you buy commercial herbal supplements, you really have no idea whether what is listed is actually in the supplement and if the amount of active ingredient supposed to be in it is actually in. A detailed analysis of herbal supplements discovered around 90% did not match in terms of dosage. It was usually too low, but in some cases, it was too high, which has the potential to cause an overdose.


Some herbs have very little active ingredient and a lot of filler.


Non-organic herbs will not be as potent as organic ones and will be contaminated with pesticides and other harmful ingredients.

Growing practices

Certain countries like the US, Canada, the UK, and the European Union members have higher standards in terms of growing practices as compared with many other countries.

Drying and preparation

Drying herbs and preparing them is key to getting potent, non-moldy herbs that will be effective against various health conditions. There are few manufacturing regulations in many countries. Again, it’s best to stick to herbal supplements from the US, Canada, UK, and EU.

Knowing which herbs do what

There are hundreds of herbs and botanicals used in herbalism. There are also 4 main schools o herbalism:

  • Ayurveda from India
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
  • Celtic/Roman/European herbalism
  • Native American

The same plants can be used in all 4, for different purposes, so it is important to study the herb carefully and seek help from a fully qualified herbalist. They will probably have to adjust your dosage over time to achieve the optimum one.

Use a reliable database

Use a reliable database such as WebMD’s:

You can look up hundreds of supplements such as St. John’s Wort, and learn about uses, side effects, interactions, and suggested doses, if any. Users can also leave reviews at the site to help you learn more.

Start slowly

Read the label. Start slowly with one herb at a time, at the lowest suggested dose. Keep a diary of symptoms to see if you are getting any relief from the herbs. Gradually increase the dose as long as it improves symptoms but does not produce harmful side effects.