Because there are many herbs and many combinations of herbs, these herbal dosing amounts assume one very important fact: you know the safety and synergy of each herb in your combination. It’s a good idea to search for each herb on its own and learn a bit about it before including it in a medicine.
Note: these dosage instructions are for herbs only. If you need instructions on essential oils, refer to the Oregano Essential Oil Acute Dosage Guidelines.
Examples of Safe Herbs
Some of the safe herbs I frequently recommend that you can follow these herbal dosing amounts with include: mullein, nettle, kelp, oregano, thyme, rosemary, yarrow and garlic, just to name a few. This doesn’t exclude others, but gives you a quick starting point based on recipes you will find from me.
Herbal dosing amounts depend on the way the herb is prepared. The most common forms of herbs are: powdered, cut and sifted, fresh, tinctures or teas/infusions. Let’s go over general dosing guidelines for each of these.
First, a couple of points.
- Dosing is weight based. I haven’t weighed a goat in over a decade. It is perfectly acceptable to estimate when working with safe herbs, but more experience and/or precise weights are important when working with herbs that have a more narrow margin of safety.
- Herbal dosing in general is very forgiving. You will find that different herbalists have widely varying recommendations on dosing. Always refer first to your intuition and observation of your specific animal.
Dosing Frequency for Herbs
Frequency depends on the severity of the condition we’re treating. In very severe situations, hourly during the daytime hours is acceptable, but most of us don’t have the ability to keep up such an intense pace. You can increase the herb dosing amounts from the charts below and dose every 2-3 hours. I try to dose every two hours in serious cases.
For less severe cases, dosing can be 3-4 times per day. My general rule of thumb is a step-down approach as follows:
First, we assess symptoms at the end of each day. If symptoms have improved from the day before, step down one dose per day. If symptoms stay the same, continue at the same dose frequency until symptoms begin to improve. If symptoms worsen, go back to the dosage of the day before. If symptoms worsen on Day 1 and the case is severe, consider an alternative healing protocol. Getting the animal healthy is much more important than how we do that.
- Days 1-2: 4x daily
- Days 3-4: 3x daily
- Day 5: 2x daily
- Day 6: 1x daily
- Day 7: treatments cease
Use your intuition and observation to determine if you need to stay at 4x or if you can step down to 3x sooner. An animal that is improving should have: less pain, less discharge, a more alert demeanor, an increased appetite, more resistance to taking its medicine and an overall appearance of increased vigor.
Powdered Herb Dosing Amounts
- 0-10 pounds: 1/8 teaspoon
- 11-20 pounds: 1/4 teaspoon
- 21-40 pounds: 1/2 teaspoon
- 41-80 pounds: 1 teaspoon
- 81-150 pounds: 1.5-2 teaspoons
Cut and Sifted Herb Dosing Amounts
Cut and sifted (c/s) is the standard type of herb that has been cut into small pieces but not powdered. It is 2-4 times the volume of its powdered equivalent. How much more volume depends on the part of the plant and the type of plant it is. For example, a fine-leafed plant like peppermint is going to have smaller pieces than cut and sifted mullein leaf, which is a much thicker-leafed plant. Roots are bulkier still. When determining dosing for these, use your best judgment and aim for twice as much c/s as powder for less bulky herbs; four times as much when using bulky herbs.
Herb dosing amounts at 2x and 4x their powdered equivalent:
- 0-10 pounds: 1/4 tsp; 1/2 tsp
- 11-20 pounds: 1/2 tsp; 1 tsp
- 21-40 pounds: 1 tsp; 2 tsp
- 41-80 pounds: 2 tsp; 4 tsp (1 1/3 tablespoon)
- 81-150 pounds: 1-1 1/3 tablespoons; 2-2 2/3 tablespoons (about 1/4 cup at the high end)
Double these doses when using fresh herbs.
Dosing Amounts for Herbal Tinctures
Always use the dosing instructions on the tincture if using a purchased or made elsewhere tincture. For homemade tinctures using the folk method and assuming safe, non toxic plants:
- 0-10 pounds: 10 drops/.5ml
- 11-20 pounds: 20 drops/1ml
- 21-40 pounds: 40 drops/2ml
- 41-80 pounds: 80 drops/4ml
- 81-150 pounds: 150 drops/7.5ml
Herb Dosing Amounts for Teas/Infusions
They’re officially known as infusions, but you may think of them as teas. In either case, boiling water is poured over herbs and steeped for 15 minutes for many herbs. This is cooled and dosed directly or set out free choice.
Steep 2-3 teaspoons of powdered herb; 2 tablespoons cut/sifted herb or 1/3-1/2 cup fresh herb in one pint of boiling water.
- 0-10 pounds: 20ml/1.5 tablespoons
- 11-20 pounds: 40ml/.25 cup
- 21-40 pounds: 80ml/.5 cup
- 41-80 pounds: 160ml/1 cup
- 81-150 pounds: 300ml/1.25 cup
Because herb dosing amounts can vary, use these guidelines as a general reference. If your product has specific instructions, use those instead of these more generalized amounts. And one last time to emphasize the importance, always trust your intuition.
Want to learn and discuss more on herbal dosing? Head over to the forum made just for this topic!