Herbal Medicine From The Heart of the Earth is broad enough in scope that it contains within it material enough for three books; One is an introduction to herbal medicine making and materia medica, a second on the art of herbal formulation and dosing, and finally, a review of adverse effects and drug-herb interactions. The book contains the standard fare for introductory herbal texts: A glossary of herbal terminology, a dictionary of herbal preparations, herbal actions with examples, a materia medica section, tables for pharmacy; tincture making, dosing, and treatment by disease condition. But it also contains some very useful tables that I've hardly seen in print in modern books. A dose-and-duration chart shows how many days your tincture prescription will last, combining in the table, drops per dose, times per day, and the number of ounces given to the patient. Another shows how many teaspoons are present, on average, in an ounce of roots, barks, seeds, leaves, and flowers. Charts and tables are also offer ed for harvesting time, best forms to tincture, and, the best percentage of alcohol to extract the medicinal properties of the herbs.
A significant offering in this book is found in the discussions of herbal side effects and potential drug-herb interactions. The past year has seen a flurry of books on these topics, but unfortunately not one of them has been written by a traditional herbalist with knowledge of the clinical traditions of herbalism. In Herbal Medicine, we find the best review of this topic in print, superior to other current texts in that it contains a thorough review of the scientific literature on side effects and drug-herb interactions, while also reviewing traditional indications, contraindications, and side effects.
Another unique offering is the extensive section on herbal formulas. Dr. Tilgner has been generous with her section on formulas, giving us a lesson in formulation. Rather than giving a hard-and-fast formula, she lists potential herbs for a formula, giving percentage ranges that might be used for each, and a rationale for each herb, often with footnotes. In other words, she invites the reader to make and modify the formulas according to their own needs or those of their patients. Dosage charts accompanying the formulas also offer ranges, and are a welcome relief from the common simple listing of "the dose" in most books. This rich storehouse of suggestions for formulas stand in contrast to the practice of most herbal authors to talk exclusively about single herbs.
Dr. Tilgner is one of a small group of individuals in North America who combines in her experience the training of both the traditional herbalist and the natural physician. Thus, this book offers a combination of herbal and medical information unique in contemporary herbal literature. I hope it also serves to preserve the traditional knowledge presented in this new era when the foundations of traditional herbalism are being eroded by the dominant paradigm in medicine.
Herbal Medicine From the Heart of the Earth
by Sharol Tilgner, ND
Wise Woman Herbals, P.O. Box 279, Creswell, Oregon 97426 USA; 541-895-5172; 800-532-5219
1999, softback, 384 pp.