HOW TO COMBINE HERBS

HERBAL SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS

If you are treating a child, see whether any of the herbs are specifically recommended for children and make these your first choice. Also double check whether the herbs you have chosen are suitable for pregnant women or for people on conventional medication: if not,look for alternatives among the optional herbs. If you are already taking a herbal supplement in the long term, do not include the same herbs in your self-prescription.

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Some herbs go together better than others. I usually advise people to start using herbs individually, to get to know them well and then to proceed to combinations or mixes. But if you are feeling adventurous you may want to combine a few herbs straight away.

In general, you should combine herbs for their individual actions and for how well they work together. I have made suggestions for good combinations throughout the blog, based on my experience. To begin with you can copy my prescriptions exactly to understand the principles behind mixing different herbs together. But in the longer term, following my suggestions for good combinations that are included in herb descriptions, you should try making your own herb mixes or combinations to match your individual needs.

COMBINING DIFFERENT FORMS OF HERBS

You can combine different herbs together as well as combining them in different forms. Tablets of one herb can be taken at the same time as a tea, tincture or syrup of another herb. Any combination of those is fine as long as you don’t take too many herbs at any one time (stick to a maximum of five for any ailment). Some herbs work better in the form of a tea, others in the form of a tincture, so it makes sense to use the best form for each herb, even if using them together. You can drink herbal tea to swallow herbal capsules or tablets, you can add tincture to the tea (not a great taste improver!) or you can take different forms of herbs at separate times if you wish. Throughout the blog I suggest many useful combinations of different forms – you will notice that a tincture-and-tea combination is a common one, but if you favour tablets over tinctures, follow your preference.

RULES FOR HERB MIXING AND DOSAGE

There are a few basic rules to follow for successful herb mixing and for calculating the dosage of the mix.

• Keep it simple: stick to one herb for a particular problem to begin with.

• Add one herb at a time to your combination unless I specifically advise that more are included.

• Start by mixing the exact replicas of the herb combinations recommended in this blog before trying your own.

• Don’t mix herbs that do opposite things: for example, relaxing and stimulating herbs don’t go together; neither do warming and cooling herbs.

• Two herbs with similar properties often combine successfully: for example, two relaxing herbs or two cough herbs will mix well.

• Try to put together herbs that will deal with different aspects of your particular problem, but use no more than five herbs at any particular time.

• When combining herbs in tincture form, use the minimum recommended dose of each individual herb.

• If you have combined several herbs into a single tincture, your dosage should be the arithmetical sum of the minimal dosage of each herb. For example, assuming that the minimal dose of herb one is 1ml, herb two is 3ml and herb three is 2ml, you should take 1ml + 3ml + 2ml = 6ml of the mixture.

• If you want to mix a larger amount, multiply the single dose by 3 to get a daily dose, and then multiply this by the amount of days you will need the mix for. So, taking the example above, let us assume that you want a week’s worth of the mix: you will therefore need 21ml of herb one (1ml x 3 x 7), 63ml of herb two (3ml x 3 x 7) and 42ml of herb three (2ml x 3 x 7); and your dose will remain 6ml, 3 times a day.

• Always label the mixed tinctures with the ingredients and the date – you can keep the multiple compound tincture for up to a year.

• When combining teas, use roughly the same amount in weight of each herb and then brew the blend in the same manner as for a single herb.

• The dosage for herbal tea that is made up from a few herbs is similar to that for a single herb tea, i.e. 1-3 cups a day for an adult.

• Do not make more than 50-100g of a dry herb mix, as dry herbs do not keep as well as a tincture mix; make sure you label and date the mixture and keep it for no longer than 6 months.

HOW TO COMBINE HERBS

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