Unlike most pharmaceutical medications, herbal remedies usually work best when taken in cycles with breaks in between. Just like you shouldn’t eat the same food every single day for months at a time, you need breaks from tonic herbs as well. Cycling herbal dosages ensures that your herbal remedies can do their best work for your health.
Your body needs time to rest and work on functioning properly on its own – it’s somewhat like a learning process. Think of it like teaching a child to ride a bicycle. You hold onto his seat and run along with him for a while. Then you let go for a few seconds but grab on again before he panics. Each time you let go, he rides on his own for a little longer until he can finally ride confidently all by himself.
In a similar way, your body needs to learn to function at full health without the help of the herbs. As the herbs do their healing work, we cycle on and off the dosage so that our bodies can regain healthy independence.
I’ve found that if I don’t take breaks, I begin to have trouble sleeping after about 4-6 weeks of taking an herbal tincture. It took me a while to realize what was causing the problem, but once I began cycling herbal dosages, my sleeplessness went away.
(These patterns of dosage cycling are used only for tonic herbs – not for treating acute problems like coughs and colds.)
One simple method is to take a tonic herb daily, Monday through Friday, and to take Saturday and Sunday off.
Every Seventh Off
Another method, espoused by Dr. John R. Christopher, is to take every seventh day, week, and month off. For example,
- Take the herb each day, Monday through Saturday, and rest on Sunday.
- Do this for six weeks, then take the seventh week off.
- Continue this pattern for six months, then take the seventh month off.
- At this point, evaluate your health. Do you need to continue taking this herb? Should you adjust the dosage?
Either of these methods allows your body to properly utilize the herb without becoming overwhelmed or overburdened by it.
At our house, we take immune-boosting herbs in the winter using the “weekends off” method. For heart health, hormone balancing, and bowel health formulas, I prefer the “every seventh off” method. Find what works for you!
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This information has not been evaluated by the FDA and is intended only for educational purposes. It is not intended to diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure disease. Always consult a healthcare professional before making significant changes to your healthcare routine.
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