Herb Basics

Herb combinations can have broad benefits because of synergy

| July/August 1999

  • Dong quai

Extracts: Measuring Up

Have you ever wondered how much you’re really getting in a dropperful? There’s no easy answer because accurate measurement is difficult when using drops. For example, water forms a larger droplet than an alcohol tincture, therefore a larger dose per drop. This means that twenty drops from one extract may not provide the same volume as those from another extract, depending on the glycerin content, sediment, and manufacturer’s design. The size of the bottle can make a difference, too; two-ounce bottles have longer droppers that contain more liquid than droppers from one-ounce bottles.

The following list of equivalent measures can help you make sure your dose is consistent from time to time and product to product. All measures are approximate.

• 10 ml water—275 drops
• 10 ml alcoholic extract—440 drops
• 4 ml—1 teaspoon
• 1 dropperful—1 ml—1/4 teaspoon
• Dropper from a one-ounce bottle—30 drops
• Dropper from a two-ounce bottle—40 drops
• A one-ounce bottle holds approximately 29.5 ml, 7.4 teaspoons, 29.5 droppersful, and 1,000–1,200 drops.

So what does this mean? At a dose of one dropperful, three times daily, a one-ounce bottle would last approximately ten days. At a quantity of twenty drops, three times daily, a one-ounce bottle would last approximately fifteen days.

Adapted from:

Unite and Conquer

Synergy—it’s a term used to describe the magic of a dynamic duo, or a collaborative group when the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. It’s also used to describe medicinal herbs. Synergy, or combined action, may explain why some herb combinations have broader benefits than each herb alone. It may also explain why some herbs seem to work better as whole plants containing several compounds rather than as ­single-compound extracts.

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