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A sufficient echinacea dose is affected by the age or weight of the patient being treated and the specific preparation of the drug being used. A specific echinacea dose is difficult to establish because studies have been unable to determine the correct dosage and the strains of echinacea used in medicines can vary. General guidelines suggest that 300 milligrams (mg) of powdered extract taken three times per day is suitable for most conditions. If the treatment is taken in another form, such as tincture extract, the dosage changes to 2 to 3 milliliters (ml). Children should take around one third of the ordinary adult dose, depending on their weight.
Overall, science has been unable to determine a specific echinacea dose for all preparations of the drug or any specific condition. This is because herbal medicines such as echinacea do not go through the same rigorous tests to determine the correct dosage. In addition, different strains of the echinacea plant can be used in different preparations, which may contain different amounts of the active ingredient. Users should follow the dosage information contained on the product.
Some standardized echinacea dose information is available, however, and can be used as a general guideline in the absence of more specific guidelines. The preparation of the echinacea is the biggest factor affecting the dosage. For example, a standard powdered extract of echinacea can be given three times a day, usually at a dose of 300 mg. This is the correct dosage for immune system stimulation, colds, and upper respiratory tract infections.
Other preparations of echinacea require different dosages. For example, a tea made from fresh roots and herbs yields a 1–2 gram dose of echinacea. This dose can be taken three times per day. An extract in the form of a standardized tincture should be also taken three times a day, with each dosage containing 2–3 ml of the liquid. If taken in a 1:5 tincture, around 1–3 ml is the required dose.
A child requires a smaller echinacea dose to achieve the same effects as an adult dose. Dosages are generally listed for an adult who weighs 150 pounds (70 kilogram). A child who only weighs 50 pounds (23 kilograms) requires a third of the adult dosage. Doses can be adjusted according to the weight of the patient, regardless of whether he is an adult or a child.
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