Sharol Tilgner

author & pollinator
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since Dec 30, 2011
Who is Sharol Tilgner?: I am an herbalist, licensed naturopathic physician, farmer/gardener, teacher and herbal medicine maker. My mission is to inspire and empower you with the healing wisdom of herbs. Learning about herbs gives us a tool to live a vital and energetic life. I have spent much of my 58 years wildcrafting, growing, preserving and using medicinal herbs. I am a fourth generation Oregonian, an organic/biodynamic farmer, physician, and herbalist. I teach others to grow, and preserve their food and medicine and stay healthy via natural methods. I reap tremendous joy from teaching people to take charge of their health care. Writing is one of the best ways to reach people, and share my knowledge as a physician/herbalist/farmer. I use blogging, books, free website information and classes as a way to share tools, as I endeavor to co-create a beautiful world.
Dr. Tilgner's past includes director of the Portland Naturopathic Clinic pharmacy, molding an old cattle ranch in Cottage Grove, Oregon into an organic herb farm and founder and prior owner of the herbal manufacturing company Wise Woman Herbals. She also founded the Pacific NW Herbal Symposium, The NW Herb Fest, was the editor of Herbal Transitions and associate editor of Medical Herbalism. She has produced 2 herbal videos entitled Edible and Medicinal Herbs, Volume 1, and 2 " and is author of the books , "Herbal Medicine From the Heart of the Earth", "Herbal ABC's,the Foundation of Herbal Medicine" and "Herbal Formulas."
Dr. Tilgner is a nationally known speaker who prior to becoming a farmer, lectured at medical colleges and conferences across the United States. She is an herbal consultant to both physicians and the herbal industry.
Roseburg, Oregon
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Recent posts by Sharol Tilgner

Amy asked me to chime in on this discussion and although I did not have time to read through everything she sent, I hope this is helpful.

The only time an herb can work directly on a virus is if that herb has direct contact with a virus. This is why research in a petri dish with a virus does not equate to it being antiviral in the body.  Systemically, in the body a virus hides inside our own cells. There is rarely going to be direct contact with a virus unless it is on the external skin or mucous membranes of the gastrointestinal tract, such as in a herpes infection that is flaring up and the herpes is at skin/mucous membrane level (where you see the sore). The rest of the time it is hiding in the nervous system and no antiviral herb can get at it. This is why viruses can not be killed similarly as bacteria. The way that herbs called antiviral herbs actually work in the body is through the immune system. This is why herbalists will usually identify these herbs as immunomodulators rather than antiviral herbs. They modify the immune system either through support, stimulation or even decreasing an over-active immune systems. Sometimes the same herb is known to both decrease and increase the immune system and is called an amphoteric herb, meaning it has two opposing possible activities. This is why these herbs are often called immunomodulating rather than immune stimulating. We are just beginning to understand from a scientific point of view how some of these immune system herbs are working. There are herbs known to be immune stimulating such as Echinacea that have caused some people with autoimmune diseases to get worse. However, I have also seen people with autoimmune disease use Echinacea and decrease the symptoms of their autoimmune disease. By the way, we don't fully understand autoimmune diseases either. The idea of what an autoimmune disease is and how it comes about is changing quickly and newer ideas make more sense than the older ideas still popular in mainstream medicine. Many people who end up with autoimmune diseases were reacting to toxins and/or had inflamed and leaky guts that started the process of them reacting to foods, herbs or an infectious condition that instigated an autoimmune condition. These people will often react to more and more things including themselves. Some of them will react to many herbs in a negative manner, not just immune system herbs.  So, although I am weary of using Echinacea and other herbs considered to be stimulating to the immune system in someone with an autoimmune disease, I would not rule it out completely. Each situation needs to be evaluated on its own merit. I use elder flowers and rarely use elderberries, but I have not seen any autoimmune flare-ups with the berries or flowers. That does not mean people are not getting flare-ups, but I have not seen them. I do see many people on the internet warning of possible fare-ups and indeed any herb that acts on the immune system is an herb to be watched with someone who has an autoimmune condition. That does not mean it automatically is going to cause an issue. Also remember that using scientific data from research done outside of the body, or on individual constituents can also not be assumed to work the same as taking a whole herb and ingesting it. The most meaningful research is clinical research where individuals are given the whole herb and monitored for results in a double blind study. Other bits of research are useful and can point us in the direction of ideas, but can't be completely taken seriously.
4 days ago
I would like to warn people that Yohimbe (included in the aphrodisiac list) has caused serious health issues for unaware individuals who have used it. Yohimbe bark has a history of use in Africa for potency. However, much of what you find on the market currently is not even the herb Yohimbe and does not contains the active alkaloid yohimbine. Perhaps this is good, since it’s constituent yohimbine can be unsafe for many people to use. The alkaloid, yohimbine, has been used successfully with male erectile dysfunction, orthostatic hypotension and narcolepsy. Although the mechanism is unclear, it appears to work by blocking alpha-2 adrenergic receptors in the brain. In the periphery, yohimbine has been suggested to inhibit alpha-1 and alpha-2 adrenoceptors as well as enhancing the release of nitric oxide from cavernosal endothelial cells.
Safety is a big issue with this herb. Case reports of side effects from yohimbe or the alkaloid yohimbine have included progressive kidney failure, lupus-like syndrome and atrial tachycardia which required a cardioversion to stop it, and an erection that necessitated an emergency room visit and insertion of a shunt. From 2000-2006 in the state of California, 238 cases of adverse reactions to yohimbe/yohimbine consumption were reported to Poison Control. The most common issues were gastrointestinal distress, tachycardia, anxiety, agitation and hypertension. I personally have seen a case of atrial tachycardia due to ingestion of Yohimbe that required a cardioversion.
Contraindications: The side effects of the alkaloid yohimbine include high blood pressure, increased heart rate, manic reactions, bronchospasm, palpitations, insomnia, anxiety, irritability, shivering, sweating, nausea, flushing and headaches which all can be attributed to its central adrenergic activity. 15-20 milligrams of yohimbine alkaloid can induce hypertension; 12 milligrams can induce a hypertensive crises if taken with tricyclic antidepressants; 10 milligrams can induce mania in bipolar disease; 15milligrams have been associated with bronchospasm. The National Institute of Health also warns consumers about taking yohimbine supplements if they suffer from schizophrenia, anxiety, depression or post traumatic stress disorder. Additionally, they warn consumers about taking yohimbine or Yohimbe supplements with some of the antidepressants and antipsychosis drugs: “People should not combine Yohimbe with monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors as effects may be additive. Yohimbe should be used with caution when taken with medicines for high blood pressure, tricyclic antidepressants, or phenothiazines (a group of medicines used mostly for mental health conditions such as schizophrenia). People with kidney problems and people with psychiatric conditions should not use Yohimbe”.
Personally, I think as a general rule, it is better for most people to simply not use Yohimbe.
1 week ago
Okay aside from the fact that the older we get the more likely we are to die period, the folks who are fittest are less likely to die in most instances. It always comes back to being in shape. Getting moderate exercise, getting sun, clean water, fresh air, healthy food, joy in your life. These are things shown to support a healthy human being. Then when you are ill, it is best to rest until fully well. If I feel I am getting sick from an infectious virus, I actually rest before getting fully sick. That in itself is enough to allow my body to heal before an infectious process takes hold. When I don't do that, I  may end up sick. I think too many of us ignore that we are feeling under the weather and just keep plodding through our day. That very first inkling of feeling under the weather is when you want to go home, take a hot bath and sip your tea of choice for cold/flu with some lemon for vitamin C and when relaxed and toasty warm from the bath, hop in bed and stay there until you feel better, which often comes after a long deep sleep. It is in the depths of sleep that our body is best able to regenerate and protect itself.
3 weeks ago
Sorry, but that report from WHO was 1/30/2020, not 1/31/2020. They are by the way always a little behind as they are needing to verify their reports.
3 weeks ago
Update On Corona Virus 2019-nCoV From WHO - World Health Organization

As of 1/31/2020 the World Health Organization has listed 7736 confirmed cases in China and  a world-wide total of 7818 cases in 19 countries. It is suspected that there are actually 12,167 cases of the novel corona virus at this time. Of the known cases, 1,370 of these cases are considered severe and there are 170 deaths. The number of deaths are less than those first thought to be taking place. It currently appears to be at around 2%.

To give you some perspective, in the 2018-2019 flu season the United States Center for Disease Control estimates 35.5 million people were sick with influenza, 16.5 million people going to a health care provider for their illness, 490,600 hospitalizations, and 34,200 deaths from influenza. As with the current Corona virus, those who are older are the ones most likely to succumb to the flu and die. 75% of the influenza deaths were in those 65 and older.
3 weeks ago
I hope you enjoy it Charles. You have a good New Year too!
3 weeks ago
When you go into surgery, you want to be sure to discuss anything else you do with your surgeon also. The anesthesiologist, surgeon as well as oncologist should be involved. For example, if you take an herb that causes decreased clotting that can be an issue during surgery. You might be on other drugs before, or during the surgery that could interact with the herbs you take and cause an issue in a variety of ways. Unless, they are necessary, I generally recommend people stop all drugs and supplements ten days prior to surgery, to decrease chances of interactions and bad outcomes. Sometimes there are situations where people need to take an herb or supplement before surgery, but all herbs and drugs need to play nicely together and the herb/supplement can't cause a negative reaction during surgery. We don't even know all the interactions for many herbs/supplements.  You need your whole team involved in this, and need to work with someone who already knows the full story behind the health situation. Getting quick advice from someone who does not know the full story is a recipe for disaster.
3 weeks ago
Hello Pavel,

I missed this question and someone just notified me it was here unanswered. Sorry, I missed it.  It would be unsafe to  answer this question without additional data and oncology is not an area I have expertise in. Plus, I can't treat cancer legally or make suggestions for cancer. No one but an oncologist can. Those are the laws in the state and country I live in.
3 weeks ago
There seems to be a lot of worry about this virus but so far it has been no worse than the flu. That could change, but that is the current data. If you want to read the most recent data I suggest the World Health Organizations page on it.  or  the latest New England Journal Article on it  I have read through these, and other more reputable places for data, and after digesting and organizing the data, I posted a review of these articles on my website at where I list some of the facts about the virus known and added methods to support the immune system.  Anything you can do to support your immune system and the usual things to prevent the flu will be helpful. As people have mentioned, herbs to prevent and treat the flu should be considered. Herbs that are called antivirals are herbs that support the immune system in it's defense of the body. These are the herbs that should be helpful with the new corona virus 2019-nCoV, but since it has never been treated before, this is all new for people and has many people worried. The unknown is often more worrisome than the known. Since we know little about it, countries are acting quickly to contain it as a preventative measure.
3 weeks ago
I use to use essential oils more until I saw the negative effect they can have.  I think we need to dial back their use as a treatment and save them for when they are necessary.

Essential oils are very strong and if you can use a whole herb it is usually better.  There are times where I use essential oils internally but usually in tiny amounts. As mentioned by someone else,  oil of Oregano can mess up your gastrointestinal bacteria (so can others), but I will still use it for hard to treat sinus infections as an inhalation and also if a person already has totally messed up GI bacteria and there are indications of a biofilm in existence. People with biofilms have usually tried many things and can't get well.  They have already been through the whole process of trying to support and nourish and still they are not well. They have often used whole herbs and may have temporarily been helped, but not permanently.  They have a long history of chronic illness and if indicated, working on the biofilm can in those cases be helpful. I do this however, knowing that it is similar to using antibiotics. I will use sustained release oregano essential oil as part of a bigger plan to get the biofilm removed or at least decreased and then rebuild up the person's gut flora afterward and people learn to care for their gut bacteria. I see a lot of people using essential oils internally as their first line of support or defense however, when they don't need to be used and may indeed be harmful. There are companies that I will not mention selling antibacterial products with essential oils in them to be taken orally. People take these not understanding that they will indeed mess up the digestive flora and they may end up feeling worse afterwards. Yes, a person can get die off of pathogens that can cause them to feel bad, but they can also get die off of their own helpful flora that can make things worse.

Before trying to kill off pathogens, if it is possible to support the flora through healthy food, environmental changes, healthy mind/spirit, other healthy living methods I suggest using that first. Your healthy flora can often keep pathogens at bay. I suggest you consider the use of these strong antibacterial essential oils as something similar to using antibiotics and you will become much more careful about their use.

If you want to purchase organic essential oils, I suggest checking out The Essential Oil Company in Oregon. Some of their essential oils are organic.

I would add that we have flora all over our body. We have healthy flora in our respiratory tract, our skin and probably other areas we have yet to learn about. The brain is even thought to have some type of flora in it now and is being studied to see if the bacteria they have found there is pathogenic or supportive. Supporting our bodies flora should be the first defense rather than essential oils. For instance if you have out of control Candida or Malassezia on your skin, using a diluted wash of live vinegar will help support the acid mantle of the skin and get your skin flora to grow while making it inhospitable to the fungi. Using essential oils may at first help, but with repetitive use the skin usually gets very irritated and unable to protect itself. This is due to killing off all their healthy bacteria in that area. Sometimes using a mix of live gut flora on the skin will help or using a poultice of fermented food - which is also acidic and supports the skins acid mantle. However, a simple live vinegar rinse is easier and works well, so I often recommend this. Removing sugar from the persons diet and adding other supportive measures can get rid of the skin yeast infection, rather than needing repetitive essential oil applications and damaging the skin microbiome. The person heals the skin by creating the environment nature had originally set up.

3 weeks ago