In most of the Ayurveda medicine description in classical text books, the ingredients and indications are mentioned. But dose is not mentioned. Because, the dose depends on many different factors.
Chakrapani has explained 7 factors that are considered while fixing the dose of medicines.
Reference: Chakrapani on Charaka Sutrasthana 2
Strength of Dosha
Higher the strength of imbalanced Dosha, higher the dose of medicine. Example, in a bone fracture in an adult, the Vata is very high. So, very high dose of Gandha tailam oil is prescribed orally.
In case of just a small injury with bruise, lower dose is enough.
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Agni – digestion strength
a. In the context of disease –
The digestive power of the person gives a hint towards his tolerance capacity for strong medicines.
Higher the digestion strength of the person, more the dose of medicine. Because, he can tolerate the medicines very well.
b. In the context of weak digestion strength –
If the person is given spicy digestive medicine such as Chitrakadi Bati, then the dose of such medicine will be high for a low digestion person.
Bala – immunity and strength of the person –
a. If the medicine tolerating capacity is high, then high dose of medicine can be given to the patient to treat the disease quickly.
b. If the natural immunity strength of the person is very high, then low dose of medicine will be sufficient to bring disease under control.
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Vaya – age
In people with well built body in their 20s and 30s, higher dose of medicine can be administered.
In children soon after delivery, and in elderly people, lower doses are preferred.
Vyadhi – disease strength –
Stronger the disease, higher the dose.
Weaker the disease, lower the dose.
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Dravya – medicine strength –
Very powerful medicines such as Bhallataka Rasayana, metallic preparations are required in lower doses.
Less powerful medicines such as Dhatri rasayana, Amla juice etc will be required in high doses.
Koshta – Gut ecosystem of the patient
It gives a hint toward the rate of absorption of medicines. Ayurveda explains three types of guts.
Kroora koshta – Vata dominant
Mrudu Koshta – Pitta dominant
Madhya koshta – Kapha dominant.
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If the person has Vata dominance and Krura Koshta, if he has Vata disorder, then in him, higher dose of medicine will be required to bring Vata under control. Example: High dose of Ksheerabala taila 101 oil.
Prior to Panchakarma detoxification procedure, large dose of ghee or oil or fat is administered to patient. This is also decided based on the Kosta – gut ecosystem of the patient.
So, this lengthy concept is explained by Chakrapani in just two line Sanskrit verse.
Alternate day medicine
If we want to take one particular medicine for a long period of time, is it a good idea to take it on alternate days?
The idea of taking the herbs on alternate days is to
a. keep the herbs in minimal dose possible,
b. avoid taking it daily to prevent possible side effects of the herb / remedy. For example, Ashwagandha may cause constipation or loose stools, Tulsi can be very hot for some people. So, taking them on alternate days reduces the amount of side effects.
c. Enjoy the benefits of the herbs for a long period of time – several months to up to an year.
Which remedies or herbs can be taken in this way?
It really depends on the nature of the herbs / remedies. If it is a safe medicine such as Triphala, Amla, Guduchi etc., then they can be continued for 4 – 6 months, if taken on alternate days.
Triphala – for obesity, eye health, easy bowel evacuation
Amla – to have antiaging effects, cell and tissue rejuvenation
Guduchi – to correct and improve immunity, to prevent frequent infections
Vasa – for respiratory health
Manjishta – for skin health
Aloe vera – for skin, blood and colon health
Ashwagandha, Tribulus, Shilajit etc. For stamina and muscle health
It is always a good habit to check with your doctor before taking any herb / remedies.