Review of “Herbal ABC’s,” Dr. Sharol Tilgner’s new Herbal!

Dr. Sharol Marie Tilgner’s Herbal ABC’s: the Foundation of Herbal Medicine was an absolute treat to read.  Her tone is refreshingly humble for such an influential author, offering a vast body of experience without the pomp and circumstance that often accompanies a work this anticipated.  Her previous book, Herbal Medicine From the Heart of the Earth, is widely accepted as one of the most importance fundamental herbals of our generation—and was the very first herbal I owned, so my glee at this new contribution was 1 part excitement to 2 parts anticipation (with a dropper of nostalgia to top off the bottle).

Unsurprisingly, Dr. Tilgner’s newest work continues her legacy of eloquence and clarity in exploring plant medicine.  However, it is the addition of a thoroughly approachable presentation of holistic physiology that really places this book above the fray.  Herbal ABC’s’ coherent organization by body system makes a very complex subject matter useful for novices and advanced students of herbalism alike, as herbs are grouped by herbal action within each body system chapter.  One can easily cross-reference individual herbs with the relevant system physiology and appropriate herbal actions to understand the “hows” and “whys” of working with medicinal herbs more fully.  Dr. Tilgner provides full Materia Medica on highlighted plants, as well as in-depth lists for each herbal action.  Additionally, each chapter includes formula ideas across body systems, reinforcing the point that everything is connected.

Dr. Tilgner’s presentation is approachable, eminently useful, thoroughly researched, and brimming with love and respect for both the plants and the reader.  I’m thrilled at this addition to my bookshelf, and will be recommending it to future students.


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