Just a Spoonful of Sugar
That was always my very favorite line in Mary Poppins when I was a child. Just the image of a spoonful of sugar conjured up such fabulous things! But how much is a spoonful? A tablespoon, a teaspoon, one of those wonderful tiny silver spoons with the teapot on the end that comes with my Earl Grey? I want to remind you about dosing. In order to get any recipe right, my grandfather always said (my grandmother hated cooking) that he had to follow the amounts exactly for the end result to be perfect. Too much brandy in the stuffing was one thing, but not enough baking soda was deadly!
The same is true for dosing herbs, vitamins, homeopathics or extracts. I find many patients telling me that something didn't work for them, but then I find out they only got through 1/2 the bottle in a month, which means they only took half the doses. Or I had one patient who bought our multivitamin for her dog and he ate the whole bottle in one swallow before she could stop him! So how important are doses? VERY - if you want to get the best results for your body and your health.
General doses - Food concentrates, vitamins, minerals, essential fats or other element that is based in food: take with a like food at a meal like taking calcium with a milk product or Vitamin C with a citrus fruit. Herbs: generally taken on an empty stomach before a meal. Homeopathics and Flower Remedies: can be taken every 15 to 30 minutes for acute conditions and so are not dependent on food times. However, something that is specifically for a morning condition should be taken when you wake up, while something for a night condition (like insomnia) should be taken after dinner. You can even take a small dose earlier in the day and then ramp up as the day progresses, especially if you are talking about an afternoon energy slump or headaches that begin in the afternoon.
Children are almost always the following: 1/4 adult dose up to the age of 5; 1/2 adult dose up to 80 pounds. I don't usually give herbs to children unless it really is necessary since herbs in the natural world really are medicine, plus they taste pretty awful!
Natural products are also not time-released. That means that especially if it is a condition that does not cycle through the day like night sweats for instance, then you have to support the change all through the day. So you can't just take a dose in the morning when you need support all day. It is always better to take smaller doses three times a day, than one big dose at breakfast, even if you have to have a gong on your desk to remind you to take a dose at lunch!
This is especially true if the issue is a digestive one, since your digestive system is working during and after every meal. So you need support with every meal, not just one or two.
Less is more. This just isn't a great saying, it's true when it comes to dosing. Megadoses are not the best way. The body responds much more effectively and naturally with lower doses spread out over time. Which brings us to time. Time is the most important factor in dosing. You have to allow the body time to utilize what you are providing, process it and then instigate and organize the changes that need to take place. Once the changes are in place, then body function begins to change which leads to the removal of symptoms. Each person is different and time is different for each individual. Some doses are even better to take for 10 days, then stop for 10 days then begin again for 10 days, such as antiparasitics.
So it's not just about what you take, it's about how you take it. Ahhh, for a spoonful of sugar!