Learn About Herbs and Acupuncture
This website was designed by Registered Herbalist Alan Tillotson in Delaware, author of The One Earth Herbal Sourcebook, as a resource and learning tool designed for physicians, health care practitioners and others from around the world who want to learn practical ways of solving complex health problems using natural methods. Simply reading through the entire 200+ page website, using the top right navigation menu, constitutes an entire free online course in herbal medicine.
About the Tillotson Institute Website
by Robert Abel, Jr., MD
The Tillotson Institute website is designed to reveal to you the truth behind centuries of herbal medicine from around the world. Nature’s simple botanical answers are estimated by the World Health Organization to be used by 80% of the people of the earth, and are being incorporated into the fabric of western medicine. In fact, our earliest chemicals and cures came from the rain forest, savannahs and plains, and were well recognized to provide relief from the symptoms of contemporary diseases.
Our Faustian bargain has created comfortable consumerism at the cost of our environment and our health. We have epidemics of viral, cardiac, neurological and cancerous diseases which have spawned an enormous pharmaceutical industry. But, to tell the truth, in order to truly deal with these twenty-first century plagues we have to step out of our current medical mindset and return to the resources of nature. The Tillotson Institute website teaches us to understand herbs and nutrients, and thus better understand pharmacology and modern medical science.
Alan Tillotson has created a primer of nature’s botanical answers that have served people through two millennia. He has assembled the best of Chinese, Ayurvedic and Western herbs, and the described the principles behind their use in an easy-to-read and informative style. His case histories found throught the website demonstrate the depth of his ability to work with western physicians in determining the best therapeutic options for their patients. Many times these options are less expensive, less toxic and can be discontinued within weeks instead of years.
Alan Tillotson’s humor, insights, case histories and research reporting pervade the sections on different body systems and best herbs for common diseases. He weaves this with a continual focus on basic herbal principles. The result provides inspiration and insight to those who have limited knowledge of herbal medicine as well as new information for experts in the field. There are few authors who command such a level of knowledge about this multi-cultural field that connects our botanical past, current prescribing patterns and future therapies.
Although I have worked closely with Alan Tillotson over the past twenty years, I have learned much from participating in this wonder reference on herbs nutrients and healing. The Tillotson Institute website should be linked to every physician’s computer, taught to all medical and pharmaceutical students, and serve as a guide to all of us who have ever been or will be patients. Unlike modern medical textbooks, the principles and facts found at The Tillotson Institute website will remain relevant throughout the next millennium.
No one person can produce this sort of website. I have been fortunate in having close relationships with masters in each of three fields. First, I must single out for the utmost praise Dr. Robert Abel Jr., MD, for his–and I do not say this lightly–remarkable and almost daily support at every level, and especially for his genius at innovative medical thinking. His friendship has been a constant blessing to me.
I have learned so much from my dear, dear teacher Dr. Mana (Vaidya Mana Bajra Bajracharya), the great Ayurvedic sage of Kathmandu, heir to perhaps the world’s oldest living father-to-son lineage. I do not have words to describe his loving support. Little did he know when he saved my life in 1976 that I would dedicate my life to his herbal medicine and be singing his praises to the present day. I only hope I can be 1/10 the herbalist that he is. This book is one step in my goal of saving his precious tradition and plants, which are today under threat of extinction.
I have been further blessed to have a wife who taught Chinese medicine at China’s third largest medical complex at Chengdu city in Sichuan province. Working with Nai-shing on a daily basis at our clinic for over two decades has allowed me to learn Chinese medicine in the most practical of ways, dealing with real patients and real diseases. .
The magnificent Dr. James Duke has, for reasons I cannot comprehend, decided to help me at every turn, providing volumes of detail and insight, sometimes within minutes of a simple e-mail request. Incredible.
What can I say about my MD medical mentors, from family physicians such as Dr. Sal D’Angio,who taught me western medicine as we worked together for five years, to Dr. David Jezyk, who put up with me for another two years after that. Without them, how would I know the difference between penicillin and penicillamine? Fixing my errors in my chemical thinking with the speed of light were biochemistry professor Jon Narita, PhD, and his wife, molecular biologist Thianda Manzara, PhD.
Throughout the website you will also see the influence of some of today’s great clinical herbalists. Many of them I know and am proud to call friends and teachers, such as David Winston, Michael & Lesley Tierra, Terry Willard, KP Singh, Robyn Kline, Ed Smith and Aviva Romm. David Winston provided key information in many areas, especially with regards to Eclectic and Cherokee herbs, and patiently answered many difficult questions for me at several critical junctions (Thanks, David). Robyn helped write a key section and part of the resource guide (Thanks, Robyn). Phytochemist Steve Dentali helped with an important part on phytochemisty (Thanks, Steve). Chiropractor Douglas Briggs and rolfer Ellen Freed helped straighten out the sections on bodywork. (Thanks, Doug. Thanks, Ellen).
Other herbalists have helped me with their books, tapes and lectures, little suspecting that I was their secret devotee, spending countless hours poring over their writings. These include both contemporary experts and timeless herbal masters like Rudolph Weiss, Michael Murray, Sun Si Miao, Donald Yance, Joseph Pizzorno, Li Bo Ning, Harvey Felter, William Mitchell, Dan Bensky, Bhagawan Punarvasu Atreya, Kerry Bone, Cascade Anderson-Geller, Virender Sodhi, Ralph Moss, Amanda McQuade Crawford, Zhang Zhong Jing, Jill Stansbury, Patrick Quillin, Paul Bergner, John Christopher, John Heinerman, Vriddha Susruta, Subhuti Dharmananda, Roy Upton, David Frawley, Mark Blumenthal, Finley Ellingwood and JJohn Uri Lloyd. Equally important were the contributions of spiritual thinkers with impecable scientific credentials whose ideas and thoughts guide me every day. These include professors Albert Schatz, Jeffery Bland, Idries Shah, and Wolfgang Schad, and T’ai Chi master Ray Hayward.
My heartfelt thanks to all of them across space and time (Alan closes his eyes and says a prayer).
By Alan Tillotson
As a medical herbalist with a busy private practice, I encounter patients on a daily basis who are confused by the bewildering and rapidly growing modern herbal and nutrient marketplace. Patients ask me the same basic questions about natural medicine time and again. They typically come to my office with a list of medical complaints and a bag containing ten or more remedies that they think will solve their health problems. Seldom do they have a good combination of items, in proper dosage, at good cost, and in harmony with their individual needs. If they did, they probably wouldn’t be coming to me.
Most of these patients are people who sincerely want to believe in the power of natural medicines and herbs, but require clarification about the proper applications and uses of these products. They often remind me of well-intentioned but ill-equipped jungle explorers who wished they had known in advance to bring along mosquito nets and maps.
I think it is crucial to get properly oriented before you jump into herbal/natural treatment. You need context as well as information to avoid the many pitfalls that await consumers. First of all, natural medicine is subject to the same laws of time and space as everything else. It is not going to magically cure all ills, nor is what appears to be “natural” always better than normal medical treatment. For this reason, despite the many problems with our current pharmacology oriented medical system, all the people who come to our clinic are encouraged to rely on their medical doctors for their blood tests, check-ups and regular medical care.
That being said, this website contains lots of information which can be as a self-treatment guide for simple problems. However, my deeper purpose is to provide you with the global perspective you need to understand how highly trained doctors of herbal medicine from all parts of the world work with and treat their patients. Many serious health conditions considered incurable at home have known solutions in other parts of the world. For example , little is known in this part of the world about the fact that Chinese doctors have promising medicines for leukemia, Ayurvedic doctors have time-tested medicines for chronic hepatitis, and Nigerian doctors have medicines routinely used for sickle cell anemia. I want you to know how to locate and work with the right physician(s), so you can get the best medicines for your condition.
My partners in this process are three people who offer diverse medical perspectives, representing the three largest medical systems on our planet. The first is my wife, Naixin Tillotson, LAc., OMD who will help us understand the Chinese perspective on herbal medicine. The second is Robert Abel, MD, a Western-trained doctor who has embraced the philosophies of holism while maintaining a firm grip on science. The third is the late Dr. Mana Bajra Bajracharya (Dr. Mana), a Nepalese master of Ayurvedic medicine.
Before we begin, I should share with you some of my own background and biases so you get an idea of where I am coming from. I have quite a diverse cross-cultural background.
• My early educational background was in psychology at the University of Delaware.
•I studied Traditional Ayurvedic Medicine (TAM) extensively with Ayurvedic Vaidya and Sanskrit scholar Dr. Mana Bajra Bajracharya in Kathmandu Nepal during several sabbaticals starting in 1976, doing a lot of clinical observation as as well astranslations of Sanskrit medical concepts into understandable English. For that work, I received a Master’s degree from Goddard College in Vermont in 1981.
• in the early 1980s I completed the East-West course in Western herbal medicine with Drs. Michael and Lesley Tierra.
• In 1986 I opened and directed Delaware’s first multi-specialty holistic health center, the Chrysalis Natural Medicine Clinic, bringing together acupuncturists, nutritionists, MD’s and various other specialists. During that time I also created, published and edited the Journal of Well-Being for about 10 years. (Note: the JWB stopped publication in 1996, but a few of its hundreds of articles,interviews and humor pieces can be found reprinted here, and here and here and here and here and here).
• My beautiful wife and Chinese medicine teacher is a doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) trained in Sichuan province at the West China University of Medical Sciences and the Chengdu University of TCM, where she also was an assistant professor. As an aside, The Chengdu University is one of China’s best. Mao himself allowed two important Chengdu University doctors (Li Shizhi and Peng Luxiang) to treat him with herbs and acupuncture when he fell ill during the Great Leap Forward conference in Chengdu in 1957. Naixin also taught TCM in England, Switzerland and Germany, and for a short while she was the personal TCM doctor for the family of Presiden Mubarak at the Zagazig Hospital in Cairo, Egypt.
• In 2001 I completed my Ph.D in Integrative Health Sciences at the International University of Professional Sciences in beautiful Maui. My thesis was entitled Strategic Integrative Medical Thinking, and in it I revealed in detail how I developed new treatments for numerous diseases, including multiple sclerosis and sickle cell anemia. I chose IUPS because, like Goddard, it allowed me to focus my attention 100% on in-depth development of treatment protocols while working at my clinic with real patients. Professor Albert Schatz, the discoverer of streptomycin, had this to say about my thesis – “It is my firm evaluation that Dr. Tillotson’s massive work far exceeds the basic requirements for the granting of this degree.”
• My training in T’ai Chi Ch’uan and Taoism was also under great masters, most significantly Wang Yen-nien of Taiwan, from whom I received a doctoral teaching certificate.
• I am a registered herbalist (R.H.) with the peer-reviewed American Herbalists Guild, and for two years was a council member. This is the largest association of herbal medicine practitioners in the United States.
• In 2001 my book, the One Earth Herbal Sourcebook was published. You can see online evaluations of the book here. It is now found in many major libraries throughout the USA, and I was happy to learn that a few small herbal training schools have adopted it as part of their required reading list. I have also published articles in many magazines, including the Journal of the American Herbalists Guild, and the Canadian Journal of Herbalism. Here is one of those articles.
In recent years I have actively participated in numerous herbal medicine and hospital conferences as a speaker, have worked as a formulator and consultant to the herbal medicine industry. I have also spent countless hours sharing information via the Internet with many prominent herbalists from all parts of the world. In addition, I have spent almost a decade working directly with MD’s to develop herbal programs for serious and difficult to treat diseases. While many may see this as an “alternative medicine” website, it is actually an integrated medicine website, and so, in honor of the Western tradition of proper attribution to intellectual sources you will finds thousands of scientific references listed by author in the format (author, date). These can be accessed here.
I am an herbal medicine patient as well as a clinician. I developed juvenile diabetes at the age of 11, almost 44 years ago (1961), and was on a downhill slide when I met my first teacher, Dr. Mana. Back then, I began to use herbal medicine and adopted a sensible lifestyle to help myself, and I am proud to say that today I have escaped all the normal problems associated with this disease. To this day I have no problems with my eyes, my heart, my skin, my nerves or my energy.
Science + Nature = Health
You will often hear me repeat a key point, my long-held belief that coexistence between Science and Nature is the surest road to health. Virtually all systems of herbal medicine hold that one must respect the healing power of nature and the teachings of our herbalist ancestors. Science and technology prize and utilize knowledge obtained from modern research. While I believe that good herbal medicine should be based on philosophy and tradition, it should also strive to maintain harmony with scientific insights.
But this is not as simple as it sounds. The blinding nature of technology and “progress” is creating a world where we often never see the sky or breathe clean air. All good herbalists choose not to look at the subject of herbal medicine as an entity separate from Nature. We cannot ignore that as herbal medicine science advances, the plants and traditional healers of the world are dying. Science leads us to question and change our beliefs as new evidence comes into the picture. But those who share a love of Nature need also to become acutely aware of issues such as pollution and global warming that threaten our natural world. These issues should tie into our choices about whom we patronize. Moreover, I see the greatest health challenge of the next century to be the global changes t our environment. We need our planet to be healthy if we are to be healthy.
Nothing on this website is or should be construed to be a substitute for or a contradiction of professional recommendations by your physician(s) – many people suffer serious diseases or seemingly minor ailments that require licensed professional care, and we encourage you to follow your physician’s recommendations at all times. If you want to use the advice on this website, first print it out and bring it to your physician to get his opinion and support.