Sometimes the herbal remedies we work with aren't for the physical body- the tissues, organs, and viscera that makes up our dense being. When we need the medicines to reach to the subtle level of being- the emotions, thoughts, energetic patterns, and spirit- we rely on the power of drop dosing.
What Is Drop Dosing?
Drop dosing, also known among herbalists as spirit dosing, is the practice of working with herbal remedies, usually tinctures, in doses that are a fraction of the normal 'therapeutic' standard. The idea, tested and celebrated by empirical evidence for ages, is that the more subtle, quiet, and even sneaky the dose, the more that does is able to reach the subtle levels of our being. Where a standard tincture dosage for an adult might be 30 drops 3 times per day, a drop dose may look more like 3 drops 5 times per day.
Don't try drop dosing on your own. Many herbs we spirit dose must be given in specific amounts for the individual to be used safely, and the dosage amount and schedule needs to be fine-tuned to meet the unique needs of the person taking the remedy.
How Drop Dosing Works
When we drop dose a tincture, we use that tincture in exactly the same way we normally do- drops taken under the tongue, held for 30 seconds with intention, then swallowed. The difference is that the dosage itself is a fraction of the normal. If I were giving a drop dose of Arjuna Bark, for example, I might suggest a standard dosage of 30 drops taken 3 times daily. As a spirit dose, however, I would have the individual work with just 3 drops of tincture 3 times daily.
Again, the only difference here is that the drop dose is intended to speak to the subtle levels of being and be just enough medicine that the being focuses on the inherent wisdom and energetic pattern of the remedy instead of the complex phytochemistry as per usual. Spirit doses incite a subtle reaction in the being that allows the plant medicine to touch the quietest, most mysterious aspects of our being.
As mentioned earlier, I often use drop dosing to reach the emotional, energetic, and spiritual places of being. When folks come for session who have deeply ingrained emotional patterns that are not serving their highest good we can start with drop dosing to gently unwind those toxic patterns with all the love, protection, and wisdom that the herbs bring in.
I also work with drop dosing as a fantastic 'in the moment' remedy for people who struggle with spiral-down emotions and feelings that can be gently slowed, stabilized, and eventually balanced using the spiritual dose of plant medicine taken at the moment of discomfort.
Which Herbs Are Drop Dosed?
All medicinal herbs can be worked with in spirit dose. Those I tend to work with most are the ones with an affinity for the heart such as Motherwort, Linden, Arjuna, and Hawthorn. I also work often with nervine herbs like Skullcap, Lavender, Brahmi, and Lemon Balm in the same way for much the same purpose. There are some herbalists who will also work with more toxic or heroic herbs, mostly from the Chinese materia medica, in drop dose method but again this must be supervised by an extremely qualified and experienced herbalist and should not be attempted otherwise.
Three of my favorite herbal tinctures to drop dose which work well for most people are:
Can be an incredible ally in helping to quiet the mind, balance the thoughts, and relieve the hot energy of bouts of angerm, resentment, and panic. 5 drops with diaphragmatic breathing taken intentionally up to 3 times a day is my standard use for this herb.
I love Lemon Balm drop dosed to help when we feel the pull of a negative, self-loathing, lethargic downward spiral starting to begin. We can often see our thoughts going down the rabbit hole and feel our bodies respond to the intensity of dark, negative, sad feelings. Lemon Balm spirit dosed at 3 or 5 drops as needed throughout the day can be incredible for many types of people.
When my clients are dealing with heartache, heartbreak, loss, grief, or toxic emotions in the heart center, I often turn to this celebrated Ayurvedic herb in spirit dose format. The blood-red, super astringent Arjuna Bark immediately cools the energy body, soothes reactive emotions, and shows some serious spiritual support to the heart of hearts. I generally use 3 drops up to 6 times per day or as needed up to 6 times per day with Arjuna.
If you're interested in working with herbal allies in spirit dose, please come in anytime and we'll help find the right dose and schedule for you and your unique needs. Again, spirit dosing is far more powerful in far more ways than we are likely to give it credit for given the small amount being consumed. Make sure to work with a qualified spiritual herbalist before working with any herbs on this level.