Saturday, May 4, 2019

Sharol Tilgner's Blog Has Moved

This blog has moved to Dr. Tilgner's new website, called You Are The Healer. A link to the new blog is easy to find on the front page, in the menu bar, or you can click on this blog link. This old blog site will remain in place, as many people visit it each day to read blogs all the way back to 2010. The more important blogs from this site have been updated, and placed on the new site in categories that makes it easier for you to find them.  You can browse through the many features offered by which are linked below, including a list of the brand new blogs at the bottom of this page. For those of you who receive email notices about blogs, you will need to sign up for Dr. Tilgner's monthly blog notice to continue getting them. Please look to the sidebar on this page (near the top) for her brief signup form. You will also find the signup form at her new blog site.

Herbal Medicine

This menu selection has many subsections to choose from.

1. Herbs A-Z

Herbal monographs where you can look up individual herbs by common or Latin name.

2. Making Herbal Products
This is where you will find information on everything from harvesting herbs to making herbal products. Let Dr. Sharol know what you want added to this section by clicking on the email icon at the top of each page.

3. Herbal Articles
Here you learn how to use herbs as medicine. There are articles that highlight herbs used for a variety of health conditions, or simply focus on the herb itself.

4. Herb Walks and Herb Research
These sections are under construction.

Health Conditions
This menu section has a few subsections to choose from.

1. Health Conditions A-Z
This is where you will find information on various health conditions. You are more likely to find an article on bed bugs, or demodex mites here than on treating croup as Dr. Sharol writes about those things she thinks need more attention.

2. Optimize Your Health
This section examines how to optimize your health, and currently emphasizes the support of biotransformation (detox) systems in your cells to energize your mitochondria, energize you, and promote longevity.

3. Health Conditions By Body System
Currently being built, but there are a few articles here. More will appear soon.


Food As Medicine
This section of the website has not yet been built, but if you go to the links, you can get an idea of what will be here in the future. This section will be fully operational by the winter of 2019-2020.
1. Recipes
2. Growing Food
3. Healthy Food Research

Mold And Toxins
This is an extensive list of articles and a site map is provided for you at the link above. You will also find the more common mold articles in the drop down menu at the top each page. The drop down menu has the following selections.
 1. Biotoxins
 2. Mold & Mycotoxins
 3. Moldy Food
 4. Moldy People
 5. Moldy Buildings
 6. More Nasty Toxins - This section is still being built
 Book Store
The new book store is easier to use and will make it easier to order Dr. Sharol's books.

Inner You
This is a look at the spiritual side of health. Here you will find articles such as "The Vital Force And Epigenetics" and "The Conscious Manifestation Of Health."


Dr. Sharol has a new blog at, where you will find all her new articles organized in a much easier manner to find. Additionally, you can search the entire site, and find many of her old blog articles from in revised form, revised articles from her old website, and many brand new offerings on this website.

New Blog Topics

Building Strong, Resilient Bones - Osteopenia & Osteoporosis Prevention, and Treatment Of Osteoporosis through lifestyle, nutrition, herbs, and supplements.

Will Skin Care Prevent Dementia
Sounds unbelievable to some, but indeed the research shows it may and for a very good reason.

Mold Making You Sick?
Have you ever wondered if your long-term illness is related to mold. If so, this is the blog to read. It will provide you with addition links to follow for more in-depth information.

Fluoride In Our Water - A Convenient Way To DIspose Of Hazardous Waste
If you have city water that is fluoridated, or water that has natural high fluoride in it, you will want to read this.

Milk Is Transferring Genetic Information To Babies
Well actually, it is transferring genetic information to anyone who consumes it and therein lies the issue. Good for babies, but perhaps not so good for adults. This is a synopsis of a research review article that is amazing. 

The Humanure Handbook, 4th Edition, Reviewed
This is one of those books that you feel would change the world if only everyone would read it.

For those of you  who receive email notices about blogs, you will need to sign up for Dr. Tilgner's monthly blog notice to continue getting them. Please look to the sidebar on this page (near the top) for her brief signup form. You will also find the signup form at her new blog site.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

GMO Canola Rearing Its Head In Oregon Again

Back in 2012 we fought to keep GMO Canola out of the Willamette Valley of Oregon. The fact that the Canola was GMO was not even discussed with government officials at that time, as back in 2012 talking about glyphosate (RoundUp) and GMOS was like talking about aliens landing and those of us talking about such things were not to be taken seriously. So, the tiny group of anti-GMO folks joined up with the specialty seed growers who also wanted to keep any type of Canola out of the valley, as it cross pollinates their crops, and they can't sell the seed. There was some dirty business going on with our politicians but we persisted and at least got a compromise that gave 500 acres with some other safety precautions to the Canola growers who wanted to grow in the Valley. However, the ruling will sunset in July and this has created a flurry of bills to be proposed that will continue the limits on Canola production in the Valley. This includes both bills only on limitation of the Canola such as (SB 885, HB 3026 and HB 3219) as well as genetically engineered liability bills, SB 434 and HB 2882. 
Please tell your Oregon representatives that you want them to support these bills. Please take a look here at "Cultivate Oregon" for additional data. Times have changed and we all know how bad RoundUp Ready Canola and other forms of genetically engineered food can be to our health and the planets health. Now, when we talk to our reps about genetically engineered food they will listen. So, please send them an email or call them about this issue.
1. It will devastate the specialty seed growers in the Willamette Valley if the Canola is not contained (I wish removed). At minimum we need to reinstate the ruling but really need a bill passed for protection.
2. We have to have liability laws on genetically engineered seeds to protect those who are harmed by them.

This is a close to home issue and your reps will listen!

Please go to this site and sign this petition that will be taken as testimony to Salem to keep Canola under control: 
The more who sign up, the more we will be taken seriously. I was intimately involved with this before and this list of names really does help the folks representing our best interests. Please give them a helping hand by showing our officials you support this.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Time For Stinging Nettles

Spring Is The Time For Nettles
Photo by J Brew
Thoughts of spring cause my mouth to start watering in anticipation of tasty herbal greens waiting to grow out of the earth. You too can enjoy the bounty of spring. Let me introduce you to one of my special weed friends called stinging nettle.  Nettle is an edible and medicinal treasure provided freely from our wonderful and nurturing planet. It can be used both as a food as well as a medicine.

Where You Find Stinging Nettles

Nettle is a bold, strong plant that likes moisture and shade. You will find it growing near creek banks, in partially shady areas. Nettle prefers moving water where its roots do not get bogged down in stagnant muck, but can grow in the muck also, especially if there is high nitrogen in that muck. This plant tends to spread out by sending its rhizomes in all directions. Therefore you find Nettles growing in thick patches. If you invite Nettles to your home to live, provide a semi-shaded spot and give her plenty of liquids and a rich, well-drained soil. If she is grown in poor soil, she will enrich the soil herself. She does love nitrogen. If you give her a rich compost she will grow big and her leaves will be a very dark green.

Whats The Skinny On Eating Nettles

As a food both the roots/rhizomes and the aerial leafy parts can be eaten. Although the roots are fine as soup stock, I mostly eat the tops of the nettles, and I prefer the early, supple, spring greens best. The most choice part is the top 4-6 inches.

I usually stir fry Stinging Nettle or cook it in soups. I think it tastes like spinach with an attitude. It is much tastier than spinach. I have also eaten it as a pesto made by a lovely student (warning fresh pesto probably won't sting you if you grind it down really good like my student did, but no promises), it is great as a side with fish and a nice sauce, or in casseroles, and as a substitute for spinach in any recipe that is cooked.

How To Collect Nettles


Watch Out For Those Stingers

Photo by Mari Subb
A few words of caution for those of you unacquainted with Stinging Nettle; treat this plant with utmost care or she will sting you.  Wear gloves when harvesting and processing nettles. I have more than once, been on a hike and been surprised by a patch of nettles. In my overwhelming glee at finding the first spring nettles, I have temporarily lost my mind and decided to collect them without gloves. Each time I have nursed my wounds, questioning such a crazy decision. No matter how carefully I harvest this tasty plant, she reminds me that she is protecting herself and she is to be respected. Luckily, once the plant is cooked the sting disappears and you can savor this delicacy without concern.
Helpful Tip
If like me, you decide to harvest without gloves, remember that the leaves do not have stingers on the top of the leaf and this will help guide you in how to collect it without so many stings.
Talk About Odd Jobs
I once spent the summer as a student volunteer helping a researcher named Anna MacIntosh who had been hired to run a variety of experiments for an herb company named Eclectic Institute. I spent most of an entire day that summer, pulling stingers off of Nettles with a pair of tweezers. Now that is dedication. I did find myself asking if this was a prudent thing to be doing with my time. By the way histamine, serotonin , and acetylcholine are concentrated in the fresh stinging hairs on the leaves according to one research article.

When To Harvest

In the Willamette Valley of Oregon, the best time to harvest the aerial tips for food is from the end of February to the end of March. They can be harvested to dry as a medicine up until they begin to go into flowering stage. 

As far as the rhizomes, they can be harvested fall through spring. Harvest after the plant dies back and before it starts to grow again.

The seed cam be harvested when it is ripe.

Caution About When To Harvest The Greens

Only collect aerial Nettles (the upper green parts) in the spring prior to flowering. Once it flowers, the aerial part is not safe to consume as a food or as a medicinal tea. After they flower they can be irritating and may inflame the urinary tract.


Why Nettles Are Used As Food And Medicine

High In Minerals And Vitamins For Nutritious Support

The abundant minerals in those leafy greens make it a wonderful addition to our diet.  Nettle is rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, sodium and silicic acid. Nettle also contains vitamin A, C and K as well as various B vitamins. The high mineral content may be part of the reason for nettle tea’s ability to reduce the severity and occurrence of leg cramps as well as menstrual cramps (magnesium specifically) and its ability to support strong bones. The high mineral content also benefits anemic (iron), undernourished individuals.

Stinging nettle is beneficial as a spring tonic and rejuvenator. As a medicine it tends to be very stimulating and drying. It has a supportive effect on our immune system, spleen, circulatory system, urinary tract, nervous system, respiratory tract, digestive system and the endocrine system; including the adrenals, thyroid, and the pancreas. It nourishes our entire body as well as nourishing us spiritually by increasing receptivity to the natural energetic flow of our spirit.

I find long term use of nettle can be beneficial for support of multiple body systems. An example is the lungs. People with hay fever use the tea daily starting a month or more prior to allergy season beginning. They find it decreases their allergy symptoms during the season if they start early and continue throughout the season. People with other recurrent lung issues such as asthma have also found it beneficial when used over time.

Nettles have shown in-vitro inhibition of several proinflammatory substances that cause the symptoms of seasonal allergies. This includes decreasing the release of histamine, as well as inhibition of prostaglandin formation through inhibition of Cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1), Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), and Hematopoietic Prostaglandin D(2) synthase (HPGDS), which are enzymes involved in the pro-inflammatory pathways. Nettle is thought to possibly have anti-inflammatory potential in allergic rhinitis by the following pathways: antagonizing H1-receptor, reducing of PGD2 production (allergy specific prostaglandin), and inhibitory effect on mast cell tryptase.

Nettle is also beneficial in excessive menstrual bleeding. It helps supply lost iron as well as helping to decrease the bleeding. Nettle favors elimination of uric acid and is therefore useful in gouty arthritis. It may be used as a diuretic. The root and seed are also diuretic. Nettle greens are best used long term in treating chronic illnesses.

 A 2016 research study found a tea of Nettle was shown to significantly increase endothelial nitric oxide (and Super Oxide Dismutase) over an eight week period of treament for type 2 diabetes. This may be another reason for its ability to lower blood pressure other than its activity as a diuretic and supplying magnesium.

Illustration Urtica dioica0 clean

Nettle Root and Seed

I am focusing on the leafy parts and have ignored the wonderful root and seed of this special plant. Both are used medicinally. The root is often used for BPH (benign prostatic hypertrophy), while the seed is used to support kidney and thyroid function.  

The root is astringent, and has diuretic properties. It is used to arrest bleeding and to treat lower urinary tract symptoms in males (LUTS)/benighn prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). It has anti-inflammatory activity and has been shown to  inhibit aromatase. Aromastase is the enzyme that convenrts testosterone into estradiol and is implicated in BPH. Clinical studies show use of the root improves BPH symptoms such as reduced urinary flow, incomplete emptying of bladder, post urination dripping and the constant urge to urinate.

The seed has more recently (past 20 years or so) been used for kidney inflammation and to support people in chronic kidney failure. I have only used the seed in tincture form and in 1/2 - 1 teaspoon (that is equal to about 60-120 drops) per day, 2 times per day.

Nettle Tea, Tincture OR Capsule

The tincture will not provide the minerals this lovely plant so graciously offers. I like to make an overnight infusion of nettles or if in a hurry a 25 minute decoction. I will warn you that the decoction is not as tasty as overnight infusion. The decoction in fact tastes a bit bad when compared to the overnight infusion.  I once measured the magnesium content in an overnight infusion in comparison with a 25 minute decoction and there was the tiniest bit more magnesium in the decoction, but so tiny that it was not worth the loss of the beautiful taste you get with the overnight infusion. I was surprised as I thought the decoction would have had much more magnesium in it by comparison. Nettles can be taken as a tea (1 cup 2 times per day), a capsule (3 capsules 2 times per day), or eaten as part of your food. I do not suggest tincture as the tincture will usually not have the minerals intact unless they were added back into the tincture in ashen form as is done in Spagyric tinctures. Since the minerals add to it’s effectiveness for respiratory support, a tea,  capsule or food would be more efficacious. Do not eat them fresh though as they will sting you. The part you want to use for vitamins and minerals is the aerial parts.

General Suggested Use

Leafy parts: Tea - 2 heaping tablespoons per cup of water infused overnight (best) or simmered for 25 minutes Tincture - 60-120 drops. This dose can be consumed 1-3 times per day. Roots: Tea - 1 tablespoon per cup of water as a decoction Tincture - 1:2 fresh strength: 60-120 drops 2-4 times per day. Seed: Eat it - simply eat 1/2-1 teaspoon 3 times per day. Tea - ½ - 1 teaspoon per cup of water after crushing it a little and made as over night infusion, three times per day. Tincture - 1:5  dry strength: 60-120 drops 2-4 times per day. Besides building strong bodies with her minerals, Nettle also shares her strength with us in the form of strong rope that can be made from the skin of its stalk.


Nettle is listed as contra­indicated by many authors in pregnancy, due to emmenagogue and abortifacient effects. How­ever, the tea is sometimes consumed by pregnant woman to tonify the uterus and for the vitamin and mineral content. I have had trouble finding the data on Nettles causing abortions and I want to thank Francis Brinker who was kind enough to supply me with the data I was seeking. There is mention of its use in an Indian journal where it is listed as an emmenagogue that should not be used in early pregnancy. They mentioned it being used as a decoction. It has also been listed by Farnsworth in 1975 as having the active ingredients betaine and serotonin which have been shown to stimulate uterine tissue when used as an isolated substance. This is the only supporting evidence I can find for Nettles being an abortifacient. I can’t find any actual animal or human studies to support this. The use of this plant as a raw green is contraindi­cated due to skin and mucous membrane irritation from the plant. This irritating and painful feature disappears when the plant is cooked well, or mashed to a fine pulp. Dried herb is usually safe, however I have had even dry herb cause irritation on the rare occasion. I would caution people who tend to be dry and thirsty that this plant will exacerbate that situation and this may not be a good herb for them. For anyone who tends to urinate a lot, be thirsty all the time and have low blood pressure, I would not suggest Nettles on a continual basis.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

How To Tincture Herbs With the Folk Method

The Folk Method Makes Herbal Tinctures Easy 

People are often confused about how to make herbal tinctures using the "formula" or "calculation"  or  "weight to volume" method that I teach in my book. I give very detailed directions and these directions will result in a very precise product. However, if you are not making tinctures to sell, you can fudge a bit and do not have to be so precise.  For those of you who do not like the math or are confused, I suggest trying the folk method in the beginning. This involves no math and makes the process very easy. Once you have used the folk method and feel confident, you can go on to using the formula method of extraction if you want to be more consistent and precise in your herbal tincture making.  I suggest you read this in its entirety before beginning as the tips on type of alcohol and water content in plants might change how you approach your project.


The Type of Alcohol You Use Is Important

In the pure folk method of tincturing herbs, people often use whatever hard liquor they have around. When I make a tincture using the folk method, I usually use organic grain alcohol which is 95% alcohol strength and has no flavor. (I don't like to support GMO derived alcohol.) However, people can use whatever they have as long as it is something that is 80 proof or 40% alcohol such as vodka. This will generally ensure enough alcohol to preserve the product and extract most of the constituents desired.

Herbal Tid Bit

The "Folk Method" does not calculate for the percent of alcohol used. Some plants are better extracted with a higher amount of alcohol such as resinous herbs, and there may be a concern about having a high enough alcohol strength to extract the resin or other materials. If you know your herb should have more alcohol used to extract it you can use 95% alcohol  found in the liquor store. I purchase organic alcohol from Organic Alcohol Co.

There is nothing precise about this method, so forget using it if this is going to bother you. There are also some times where it is best not to use the folk method. We will cover this at the end. 


Adding the Alcohol and Herb

Peppermint Herb
Start by filling a jar about 1/3 -1/2 full with fresh or dried
plant material. Pour alcohol over the top of the herbs. Please realize that dry herbs will really soak up the alcohol so you may need to add extra liquid later. You can check the next day to see if you need to add more alcohol. The alcohol must stay over the top of the plant by at least 1/4 inch at all times to keep it from oxidizing. If you are making a tincture with a fresh plant rather than a dry plant, you won't need to add more alcohol later. This is due to the water content in the fresh plant. In the case of the dry plant extract, the plant material will suck alcohol into its dry cells. So you will have to add more alcohol later.  If you are adding alcohol to dry plant, you will definitely need to check it the next day to see how much more alcohol needs to be added to it.

Blenderize Your Herb and Alcohol

A vitamix makes this easy. A regular blender works too.
Now in its simplest form, you don't even use a blender to mix the herb and alcohol. You just pour the alcohol over the herb, shake it off and on and wait. However, most people using this method will use a blender to mix the alcohol and the herb together. This breaks up the plant into smaller particles and lets the alcohol get absorbed into the plant quicker and allows it to come into contact with more plant material, thereby extracting more of the goodness from the plant. This can also be accomplished with a mortar and pestle. It is just much slower than a blender, but does give you a good work-out.  

Herbal Tid Bit

You have a choice of purchasing whole dry herb or cut and sift herb. For many herbs, whole form is best to purchase as the more it was cut up and pulverized, the more oxidized the herb becomes while sitting on the store shelf. Being oxidized means it will loose its healing powers quicker. Some plant roots or barks can be so hard that you can not cut them up yourself, so in these cases using whole plant might just exasperate you. If you do find yourself with some tough roots or bark, I suggest you pre-soak them in alcohol to allow them to soften up before trying to blend them. (I once had to soak a root for months to soften it up before blending it.) Otherwise you might break your blender. 


Let It Extract And Then Press It Out

Echinacea Tincture being pressed.
Once your herb and liquid are mixed together, and there is adequate liquid (at least 1/4-1/2" above the plant material) to keep the herb from oxidizing in the air, put a lid on the container and steep for 4 to 6 weeks in a cool, dark place such as a pantry or closet. Shake it often. Then strain or press out the liquid or menstruum. You can press it with  a potato ricer or by using a strainer, cloth and some muscle power.

Usually in the folk method you don't even bother filtering the tincture after it is strained. You simply use as is.  This is really all there is to the folk method. In many cases this will work just fine. If you want it filtered, let it sit for 24 hours or more to settle out some of the debris, then decant it off, leaving the debris behind and pour the liquid through a filter in your kitchen such as a non-bleached coffee filter.

Improving the Folk Method In Special Situations

Echinacea Tincture Macerating
The folk method is best used to extract dried plant materials. As I mentioned previously, people usually use an alcohol such as Vodka when using the folk method. Fresh plants have moisture in them and as soon as you mix the fresh plant with the alcohol, you are diluting the alcohol. If the plant has 75% moisture in it, you are diluting the alcohol a lot. For this situation, a 190 proof or 95% alcohol is really a better choice.  Fresh plants that have little moisture content or fresh plants that have constituents in them that you can extract with low amounts of alcohol will do well with the folk method and using an alcohol like vodka that has 40-45% alcohol.  

When you want to use this method with dry plant material that needs high amounts of alcohol, I would again suggest using 190 proof (95%) alcohol. Doing this will allow you to get a good extraction from plant material  such as resins. Another situation necessitating 95% alcohol is when the plant being tinctured is fresh and it has a high moisture content and/or has constituents that necessitate a moderate to high amount of alcohol to extract them. Yet another situation would be when you want to make a fresh plant tincture stronger by extracting additional plant material in the menstruum. This makes the final product stronger and necessitates more explanation than I am going to go into here.

Reasons I often don't use the Folk Method

• This method does not allow me to know the strength of my product.

• Lack of consistency in my products & not being sure about how much to give since I don't know the strength.

• This method can lead to an alcohol strength that is too little or too much which can lead to inadequate extraction as well as excessive, unnecessary alcohol in a product. 

Weight to Volume Method


This method is also called the formula or calculation method. It is much more tedious, has extensive directions, and yes it does involve math. You will find these directions in my book "Herbal Medicine from the Heart of the Earth". You can also look for an herbalist living in your area that teaches classes on how to make herbal tinctures. Getting hands on experience is really the best thing when learning how to make herbal products.

4.8 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews