Dosing With Standard Droppers

  • Measuring dosages of tinctures or liquid supplements can be tricky and prone to inaccuracies. Knowing how many drops are in that dropper can help simplify things greatly!
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Many dietary supplements and herbal preparations are packaged in suspended liquids. These may be called tinctures, preparations, solutions, or any number of other names. These preparations are often packaged in common dropper bottles with a standard 1mL dropper.

Dietary supplement labeling guidelines do not require manufacturers to include specific instructions for use. These guidelines do indicate that manufacturers are required to state both identity and “net quantity” of ingredients. This information can be used to make an accurate estimate of dose when using a standard dropper.

The Standard Dropper

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Dropper sizes vary but the 1oz. bottle with 1mL dropper is common

Droppers come in many shapes, sizes, and with varying specific design considerations. For discussion here, however, we’re assuming the standard 1-ounce dropper bottle which makes use of the standard 1mL dropper. Something like these amber dropper bottles.

The Standard Dose

A typical dropper for these bottles measure a 1mL dose which equates to 29.5 dropper-fulls per 1-ounce bottle. A single drop contains 0.05mL which then equates to roughly 20 drops per dropper. This means one can estimate 590 drops per 1-ounce bottle. Keep in mind, physical properties of the liquid such as viscosity, density, and surface tension all effect per-drop volume.

Important Considerations

Dropper bottles come in many shapes and sizes. The 1-ounce bottle is a good baseline to work from, but 2-ounce and 3-ounce bottles are commonplace also. These containers accomodate larger volumes of liquid but the droppers are often functionally equivalent in terms of dosage.

These containers are used to package herbal tinctures, essential oils, and include any number of menstrum to do so. Lower viscosity fluids like alcohol are likely to produce lower per-drop dosing while others such as vegetable glycerine are likely to vary on the higher-side.