Herbs have different effects relative to the different times at which we take them. To get the best results for a particular condition, herbs should be taken at the appropriate time. In Ayurveda herbs are taken at different times according to factors like daily variations of the doshas, organ reflexes; the state of Agni (the digestive fire), and the stages of digestion:
- ON AN EMPTY STOMACH (Abhakta) – The potency of the herb exerts the strongest action during this time. For strong persons and acute disorders, medicines should be given at this time.
- BEFORE MEALS (Pragbhakta) – For treating obesity, problems of the lower abdomen (Apana Vayu), and toning up the intestinal muscles, medicines should be given at this time.
- DURING THE MEAL (Madhyabhakta) – For disorders of the midabdomen (Samana Vayu) , or the digestive nerves, this is the best time.
- AFTER MEALS (Adhobhakta) – For treating the upper abdomen and chest (Vyana and Udana), medicines should be given after meals. This time is also used to treat the diseases above the neck region which are due to excess Kapha.
- MIXED WITH FOOD (Samabhakta) – To suppress the bad taste of medicines and for children and delicate persons, this is the best way to administer herbs. This time is used for persons having an aversion to medicines, or anorexia, and for treating diseases which have spread throughout the entire body.
- BETWEEN LUNCH AND DINNER (Antarabhakta) – This time is best for treating disorders of Vyana Vayu, the outward moving air that governs the circulatory system.
- BOTH BEFORE AND AFTER EATING (Samudga) – For treating diseases like hiccups, trembling, convulsions, and disorders of the lower part of the body, medicines should be given both immediately before and after meals.
- REPEATEDLY (Muhurmuhu) – For treating disorders like cough, hiccup, dyspnea, vomiting and poisoning, medicines should be given repeatedly as long as required.
- WITH EACH MORSEL OF FOOD (Sagrasa) – For stimulating digestion and for taking aphrodisiacs, medicines should be mixed while eating each bite of food.
- BETWEEN BITES OF FOOD (Grasantara) – For treating disorders of the respiratory system (Prana Vayu) this is useful.
- AT NIGHT (Nisha) – For treating diseases of the head, neck, eye, ear, nose and throat, medicines should be given at night.
The right effect of herbs depends on correct dosage. Excess doses can cause side effects, while doses too small will not be powerful enough to accomplish their aim. Dosage of medicines varies according to constitution, digestive power, strength of the individual, age, disease power, potency of the medicine and condition of the gastrointestinal tract.
The Ayurvedic physician Sharangdhaia has suggested that for a one- month old child the dose should be 125 mg. (one Ratti). This amount should be increased at the rate .of one Ratti per month, up to one year, when the total will be twelve Rattis or about 1.5 grams. The following approximate doses should be used according to different preparations:
For Rasayana or rejuvenation therapy, a special type of dosage method is suggested. The dosage of the medicine is gradually increased and then gradually decreased in the same manner, as explained in the section on Vardhamana Rasayana.
|Expressed juice of herbs (Swarasa), Herbal wines|
(Asava or Arishtha)
|200 ml. (1/2 Pala)|
|Decoction (Hima, Phanta)||40 ml. (1 pala)|
|Powder (Churna)||1-4 gms. (1/2 karsha)|
|Medicated Oils, Ghees and Herbal Jellies|
(Tailla, Ghrita, Avaleha)
|10 gms. (1 karsha)|