Tonic Herbs: “Herbs that promote a long, healthy, vibrant, happy life, without side effects, even when taken over a long period of time.”
Tonic herbalism is an art form that I have recently delved into that has far exceeded my expectations of what is possible with health.While using foods and basic nutrients to improve health has always been captivating, I now see that the future really lies in the world of herbalism. Once you reach a point of health where you have found a groove with the food that you eat, the exercise you engage in, and the basic cleansing practices that you employ, you begin to look for what is next. My true excitement at this point in my life is no longer disease prevention but health optimization… how good can I really feel? Can I live to 150 years old? Can I run for 2 days straight? Can I survive solely on herbs, air and water? Can I maintain inhumanstrength at 80 years old? These are just a few of the actual accounts of the masters living under the guidance of the tonic herbalism principles.
Tonic herbalism opens the door to a once far-off world full of folklore, spirituality and myths that are becoming more and more real. The myths are no longer stories, they are realities, and utilizing these herbs can truly promote longevity far beyond what we here in the Western world can fathom. So while the Western model of thinking is rooted in disease and disease-prevention, the Eastern model is focused on longevity, vitality, rejuvenation and enhancing our true energy body on both a physical and spiritual level. Now that is what I call juicy! Now if this is the first time you have ever been exposed to tonic herbs, get excited because this may be your new passion as it has been mine. In this guide I am going to give you a massive overview, but do not worry because we will continue to examine all of these in detail in times to come.
FYI: I personally have been loving American Ginseng, Cordyceps, Astragalus, Deer Antler (no, it does not hurt the deer), Gynostemma Leaf (in Spring Dragon Tea), Pearl, Rehmannia Root, Schizandra and I even find codonopsis root at my local Korean Stand at the my farmer’s market. Plus there is an array of mushrooms that I love playing with including Reishi, Shitake, and Maitake and I love using a few tonic blends called Hair and Nails (amazing), Super Ant, Pearl, Love Goddess Elixir, Magu’s Beauty Tonic and Rehmannia Six. If you want to get involved, most definitely check out Dragon Herbs.
The following is taken from THE tonic herbalist master, Ron Teeguarden, owner of Dragon Herbs.
What are Tonic Herbs?
There are currently around fifty natural substances that are generally recognized as the major Chinese tonic herbs. These incomparable, legendary herbal substances have stood the test of time. Each has in its own right come to be recognized, through many centuries of continuous use, to be a remarkable life‑enhancing tonic. These are the true super-tonics, the greatest list of herbal substances in the world that are used to promote health rather than eliminate disease. The tonics are used to promote over-all well being, to enhance the body’s energy, and to regulate the bodily and psychic functioning, to protect the body and mind so as to create what the Chinese call “radiant health.”
Chinese tonic herbalism is derived from the great Daoist (Taoist) tradition of China. Daoism is the fundamental Asian philosophy of balance and living in harmony with Nature. The Daoist tradition of health attainment emphasizes that the superior herbs are in many ways superior in nutrition to the foods most commonly eaten.
In order to be recognized as a tonic herb it must adhere to the following:
- Must have anti-aging characteristics and must aid in the attainment of a long life.
- Has broad and profound health-promoting actions that result in a radiantly healthy life.
- Balances our emotional and psychic energy so as to help improve one’s state of spiritual and emotional well being and happiness.
- Has no negative side-effects when used reasonably, and therefore may be taken continuously over a long period of time if desired, yielding cumulative, long-term benefits. This emphasis on safety is in accordance with the first law of Chinese herbalism—“Do no harm.”
- Must taste good enough to be consumed easily and must be easily digestible and assimilable. Most of the herbs in the tonic category do taste good and, and in fact, any of these tonic herbs may be used in healthy cooking. Most are used commonly in a healthy Chinese diet. The tonic herbs are considered to be a major food group in the Asian diet.
- Contains at least one of the three treasures in such abundance that it can contribute to the building and maintenance of that treasure in one who consumes it. The three treasures are Jing, Qi and Shen. Some of the tonic herbs contain just one of the treasures, some contain two and some contain all three, in varying amounts and with varying power.
Agaricus mushroom is not a traditional Asian herb. It is a Brazilian rainforest herb that has won huge acceptance in Asia and is now commonly incorporated into Chinese tonic herbal formulations in China and Japan. It is among the premier immune system tonics of all known natural substances. It is the richest source in the world of a type of polysaccharide known as beta-glucans, which has been solidly established to be among nature’s most potent immune potentiating substances. Agaricus has double-direction activity on the immune system. In other words, it may be used to bolster a deficient immune system, as occurs in cases involving infections, or Agaricus may be used to moderate an excessive system, as occurs in cases of autoimmune disease and allergies. Agaricus may be used by anyone. In Japan, Agaricus is considered a “cure-all” herb.
Albizzia Bark and Flower
The bark and flower of this exotic tree are especially famous among the Chinese for use when one is experiencing emotional problems such as a broken heart and the experience of great loss. It is also used to help overcome excessive worry, fright, paranoia and insomnia. It is considered to be a Shen tonic that nourishes the heart and strengthens the body. Both the bark and the flower are considered to have these qualities. The flower is more rare and is more emotionally uplifting. It is believed to be one of the ultimate Shen tonics. The bark is more sedative.
American Ginseng Root
American Ginseng is a true member of the ginseng family that grows natively in North America. It contains saponins similar to those found in Panax Ginseng (Oriental ginseng). However, American Ginseng is considered to be a Yin tonic herb, especially nourishing to the lungs, skin and stomach. American Ginseng is a powerful adaptogenic herb. It thus provides energy, adaptability and heightened alertness. It is especially appreciated for its endurance increasing capacity. American Ginseng is extremely popular in China. The wild variety is considered to be far superior to the cultivated.
Though it is used in much the same way and with many of the same goals in mind, American Ginseng is different in its actions from the Asian varieties. American Ginseng is a Yin tonic and is cool in nature. This is in contrast to Asian Ginseng that is a Yang tonic that is generally warm, or even hot in nature. American Ginseng is thus useful for people who are hot but wish to take Ginseng. In other words, people who tend to have lots of energy, high metabolisms, are aggressive, have high blood pressure, have ruddy complexions, etc. can take American Ginseng for its adaptogenic benefits without fear of overheating. In fact, taking the American Ginseng will help to balance out the system and can correct overheating problems, especially when the excess heat is in the lungs and stomach. It is said to moisten and cool the lungs. American Ginseng is highly regarded for its ability to promote the secretion of body fluids. American Ginseng is often used in China to tonify the lungs of people who have dry coughs due to smog, smoking or from other causes. And American Ginseng is considered to be especially strengthening to new mothers.
Wild Asparagus root is a marvelous Shen tonic and Yin tonic. It was credited by Chinese wise men and women as being able to open the heart, prolong life, and also to tonify the sexual functions of both men and women. It is also traditionally used in Chinese herbalism as a major lung tonic, and is widely used to add luster to the skin. It is also said that those who consume Asparagus over a long period of time come to feel so light and buoyant that they feel like they can fly.
One of the most important herbs in the world, Astragalus has been recognized as a superb and potent immune system tonic by modern researchers. Astragalus has been used for over 2000 years to strengthen the body as a whole. Astragalus is believed by the Oriental people to strengthen muscle and improve metabolic functions.
Astragalus is said to have another effect on the “surface” of the body—that is, it is used to tonify the “Protective Qi,” known as Wei Qi in Chinese. This Protective Qi is a special kind of energy which circulates just under the skin and in the muscle. Protective Qi is a Yang energy.
Protective Qi circulates in the subcutaneous tissues providing suppleness to the flesh and adaptive energy to the skin. This function is essential to life
An important effect of Astragalus is in its ability to fortify the “Upright Qi.” Upright Qi is the energy allocated by the body to maintain upright posture and to maintain the position of the organs in their healthy position in their battle with gravity. As one gets older, or if one experiences chronic fatigue or exhaustion, or during illness, this Upright Qi is easily depleted resulting in the sinking, or “prolapse,” of organs.
Astragalus enhances the function of the skin to eliminate toxins. It is commonly used to help sores in the skin to come to a head and suppurate, and thus to heal more quickly and effectively.
Astragalus has a mild diuretic action and helps to relieve excessive sweating. It is helpful in treating loose stools, chronic diarrhea and chronic or recurring colds. If a cold lasts too long it can cause a general fatigue syndrome that can itself become chronic. Astragalus is very useful for people who just can’t seem to shake a cold, and Astragalus can replace the Qi necessary to regain full strength.
Studies conducted at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Research Center at the University of Houston, the world’s largest cancer research institute, demonstrated clearly that Astragalus improves the immune response in humans undergoing radiation and chemotherapy as a treatment for cancer. Patients taking Astragalus during such treatment tend to have far fewer side effects and to recover at a higher and faster rate.
An interesting new area of research on Astragalus concerns its potential as a male fertility agent. Astragalus has been proved to stimulate sperm motility.
Atractylodes is an important and potent Qi (energy) tonic that is famous for regulating the digestive functions and as a powerful energy booster. This tonic variety of Atractylodes is known as “White Atractylodes.” It is widely used in China by athletes and martial artists, and in weight control programs. It has a mild diuretic action. Atractylodes may be used by anyone wishing to increase vitality.
Chinese Cinnamon bark is a strong essence (Jing) tonic that promotes good circulation and powerful internal energy. It is sweet and spicy, and has a hot energy. Cinnamon bark is said to increase the Yang energy and sexual vitality. The best Cinnamon bark in the world comes from Southeast Asia from trees where the bark is, at its best, over twenty years old.
This herb is used to strengthen the yang energy, and is famous in China as a sexual tonic that was used by Chinese royalty and by Qi Gung practitioners. Cistanche builds deep strength and is quite revitalizing when used continuously for a period of time. It promotes healthy colon functioning. It is an excellent anti-aging herb.
The small fruit is a superb tonic to the primal Yang essence and is thus used in many tonics for both men and women. It is widely believed in the Orient to be a superb longevity herb and an excellent sexual tonic and stimulant.. It is said to strengthen the bones.
Codonopsis is one of the most famous and widely used Chinese tonic herbs. It is very mild and without any side effects, yet it is a superb Qi tonic. It invigorates the Spleen and Lung functions so that Qi is replenished and it promotes the production of body fluids. Codonopsis is also an excellent blood tonic and a major immune system tonic.
It is believed to have an action similar to that of Ginseng, but milder. It is often used in place of Ginseng in formulas that actually call for Ginseng to be used as a main Qi tonic, especially when the purpose of the formula is to invigorate the Spleen and Lung functions. This is totally acceptable in the Chinese herbal system.
Its blood building quality makes it especially good for people who are weakened due to illness. Codonopsis is extremely effective at relieving chronic fatigue. Many women use it to build blood and the Chinese consider Codonopsis to be an herb perfectly suited to nursing mothers, holding that Codonopsis helps produce milk and that the nutrients in Codonopsis are especially nourishing to babies. Codonopsis is an excellent herb for children. Codonopsis is mild yet it has powerful strengthening effects, especially on the digestive, respiratory and immune systems. It builds strong muscle in children.
It is rich in immune stimulating polysaccharides that are beneficial to every one. They have also been shown to be useful in supporting the immune systems of people with cancer who are using the herbs in conjunction with conventional cancer therapies. Codonopsis has been demonstrated to have radiation protection activity and can be effective in protecting cancer patients receiving radiation therapy from the side effects without diminishing its benefits. Codonopsis also has interferon-inducing activity that may be of importance in many immune deficiency conditions, including HIV infection.
Cordyceps is one of the absolute superstars of the Chinese tonic herbal system. It is an extremely effective and powerful life-enhancing agent, ranking right up there with Ginseng, Reishi and Deer Antler. Because it is rare, potent and highly treasured, like Deer Antler, it is very expensive. This rare and precious herb is considered to be a moderately Yang primal essence (Jing) tonic of the highest stature. It is a mushroom that consumes the body of a particular kind of caterpillar in mountainous regions of China, Mongolia and Tibet. It has enormous renown as a supersonic, and is said to build sexual and physical power, mental energy, the immune system and is universally believed in the Orient to prolong life.
Cordyceps is used to strengthen the body and mind at a fundamental level. It is said to be able to increase the “primary motive force for life activities.” Because it contains both Yin and Yang it can be used by anyone safely and over a long period of time. It replenishes Yin Jing, restoring the deep energy expended as a result of excessive exertion, adapting to stress or from aging. Cordyceps is thus one of the primary herbal substances used in tonic herbalism as an anti-aging agent and for the purposes of rejuvenation.
Cordyceps is very widely used for the purposes of strengthening the primal Kidney functions, which include sexual functions, brain power, structural integrity and healing ability. It is a very powerful Yang tonic. As a sexual tonic, Cordyceps is considered to be one of the best. It is not as quick acting as the best of the Yang tonics like Deer Antler, Epimedium and Sea Dragon, but it has a profound long range strengthening capacity. It is commonly used for impotence, sexual malaise, frigidity and infertility.
Consistent use of Cordyceps helps to strengthen the skeletal structure, and specifically benefits the lower back region, the knees and ankles. It is used for backache due to injury, fatigue, stress or simple aging.
Cordyceps is also a major Lung tonic. It can be used to strengthen respiratory power in those who require extra energy in order to perform physical work (e.g. labor, sports or exercise) or it can be used by those who suffer from deficiency of Lung power. It is especially beneficial to those who suffer chronic Lung weakness with cough, wheezing or shortness of breath.
Cordyceps is considered in Asia to be a powerful athlete’s tonic. It has no steroidal constituents, but greatly improves performance and muscle building capability.
Cordyceps is highly regarded in China as a tonic for those who are recovering from an illness or an operation, or after giving birth. In these cases, the Cordyceps helps the patient recover their physical power, to improve their appetite, and to protect the body from infection.
Many studies now indicate that Cordyceps can help the body resist a wide range of pathogenic bacteria, fungi and viruses. Cordyceps is used in Asia to help treat fungus and yeast infections, and intensive research is being conducted at dozens of institutions in China and Japan relating to the potential of Cordyceps to treat certain varieties of cancer.
Coriolus is a mushroom with extremely powerful immune-potentiating activity. A substance known as PSP has shown potent and extremely safe anti-cancer activity in Asian studies.
This sour fruit plays an important role in many tonic formulations designed to build Jing. It is said to be “astringent,” thereby locking energy into the system and preventing the energy from ‘leaking” out. This is an important function to those practicing internal forms of Qi Gung. It is a powerful Yin Jing tonic. It has a warm energy and is often considered aphrodisiac when combined with the appropriate herbs.
Cuscuta seed is commonly used in long term tonic programs, often in combination with Cnidium seed. It is a gentle tonic for the Kidney Yin and Yang, and also helps nourish Qi. It helps the Kidney to consolidate the Qi . It is widely used to improve vision, nourish the sperm and marrow, strengthen bones and sinews and in particular to strengthen sexual functions.
Cynomorium is considered to be a superb tonic to the primal yang essence and is thus used in many tonics for both men and women. It is widely believed in the Orient to be a superb longevity herb and an excellent sexual tonic and stimulant. It is said to strengthen the bones. It is an excellent yang tonic for women.
Dang Gui (Tang Kuei) Root
Dang Gui, or Angelica sinensis, is used as a superb blood tonic. It is also an important blood-vitalizing herb (e.g., it improves blood circulation). Men use it as a muscle-building blood tonic. However, Dang Gui is most famous as a women’s tonic, because women so often use it as a blood tonic and to regulate the female menstrual cycle. It is found in most women’s tonic preparations. Men also use smaller amounts of Dang Gui as a blood tonic.
Deer Antler is widely believed in the Orient to strengthen all aspects of a person’s life, and is considered to be an ultimate primal essence (Jing) tonic. It is said to be a warm Yang tonic, although it is also known to contain Yin essence and is a major blood tonic. Extracts of Deer Antler have been found to strengthen the central nervous system and the heart. Deer Antler is believed to strengthen the mind and to enliven the Spirit (Shen). It is also widely used to improve mental power. Deer Antler contains many natural minerals and other nutrients.
Deer Antler is the most precious and the most potent of the substances that fortify the Yang energy of the Kidney, Yang Jing. It is widely used in Asia to strengthen adrenal, reproductive and brain functions. It is universally believed in the Orient to build sexual strength and to increase virility and fertility.
Like all Yang herbs, deer antler is used to strengthen the back, knees and waste, but deer antler is considered to be the most powerful such agent and is usually the main herb in any formula in which it is included.
Deer antler is used to build blood and improve circulation. The alcohol extract of deer antler, known as pantocrin, has been found to benefit the cardiovascular system. Deer antler is tonic to the marrow, which produces blood, including our white and red blood cells. Marrow tends to degenerate as we age and deer antler is believed to slow down or reverse this process. This is a major aspect of deer antler’s youth preserving ability.
Overall, deer antler is mainly used as a rejuvenating agent. Short term use is believed to quickly build strength and power, while consistent long-term use is believed to re-build deep life force, preserve youthfulness or even reverse aging, and to enhance longevity.
Deer are not generally killed for their antler. The soft antler of the deer is removed from the deer when it has grown just two or three spikes and is still covered by velvet. The deer grows new antlers that same season, which are not harvested. The tip of the antler is the most potent part because it contains the most active substances.
This variety of Chinese orchid is an excellent and delicious Yin Jing tonic and longevity herb. It is said to quickly and effectively replace spent “adaptive energy.” It is widely used in the Orient by those who engage in a lot of sexual activity to replace the spent energy and to replace fluids; and thus it is commonly called “honeymooners tea.” When combined with licorice root, it is also called “healer’s tea,” because it is said to provide healing energy which can be transmitted to others and replace spent healing energy. Thus body workers, other hands‑on healers, and all those who give of themselves from their soul, benefit by consuming Dendrobium. It has been widely used both by Taoist hermits and by the Chinese elite.
Dendrobium is primarily used in China to replenish fluids. It is commonly used in Chinese herbalism as a Yintonic which moistens the Stomach and Lungs. It can be very effective in treating dryness problems like dry mouth, thirst, stomach pain, mouth sores, sunstroke, and dry lungs and air passages due to dry weather or due to pollution and smoke. In other words, Dendrobium is used to balance hot, dry conditions, to replace damaged or lost fluids and to relieve thirst, depression and deficiency fever as a result an illness.
One last benefit of Dendrobium lies in its beauty-promoting quality. Dendrobium helps keep the skin moist and constant drinking helps generate beautiful skin.
Epimedium is widely known as a powerful tonic and sexual stimulant. Epimedium is known as “horny goat weed” because when goats eat it, they copulate. It is considered by Oriental people to be a powerful aphrodisiac. Scientific research has confirmed that Epimedium quickly releases sex hormones in men and women. Epimedium is also said to strengthen the bones and joints. It is also known to calm and relax the heart. Recent research indicates that Epimedium is a strong immune system regulator.
Eucommia is a superb Yang Jing tonic, used to strengthen the back (especially the lower back), skeleton, and joints (especially the knees and ankles). Eucommia is believed to confer strength and flexibility to the ligaments and tendons. It is often used by martial artists, yoga practitioners, Qi Gung practitioners, and other athletes to strengthen the back, knees, and the entire body. It has been found to be very helpful at regulating blood pressure, especially high blood pressure. Eucommia is widely used in China as a safe and effective sex tonic for men and women.
The Gecko lizard that inhabits southern China is widely used in the Orient in tonic formulations. The tail and backbone of the Gecko are used traditionally as a warming Yang tonic. It is a favorite among athletes for strength and endurance and is said to provide sexual energy. It is also traditionally used as a major lung tonic, as it is said to enhance the extraction of energy (Qi) from the air. Gecko strengthens the kidneys.
Ginkgo is used in China to improve circulation. The leaves of the Ginkgo tree are used in the Orient to “benefit the brain,” by improving memory and the ability to concentrate. It is now known that Ginkgo biloba leaf extractimproves oxygen supplies to the brain and other organs, including the genitals and skin. It is also traditionally used to strengthen the heart and lungs.
Oriental Ginseng is one of the most famous and valued herbs used by mankind, Panax Ginseng is an energy tonic that regulates the human energy system. It has been shown to be stimulating and regulatory to both the central nervous system and to the endocrine system. It is the primary Qi tonic of Chinese tonic herbalism.
Ginseng helps a person to adapt to all kinds of stresses, and enhances endurance and resilience under stressful conditions. It has thus been termed an “adaptogenic” substance by scientific researchers. Ginseng is also used to tonify digestive and respiratory functions. Ginseng contains many active ingredients, but the most important are the saponins called ginsenosides. Ginsenosides specifically improve adaptability and are believed to help build muscle and endurance. Therefore Ginseng is very popular with athletes. Ginseng generally has a “warm” energy.
There are in fact many varieties of Ginseng, all of which have distinct characteristics. Most high quality ginseng is good for men and women alike. Wild and semi‑wild Ginseng is generally far superior to the cultivated, commercial varieties. The higher the quality, the more Shen (Spirit) a ginseng root is said to contain. Ask for advice as to which might be best for you. There are a number of varieties of superb cultivated ginseng as well. The best of these are from Chiangbai Mountain, in Manchuria, and from North Korea. South Korea also produces superb ginseng. The best cultivated Ginseng is known as “heaven grade.” Most commercial Ginseng is grown with chemicals. We would recommend obtaining all Ginseng products from reputable high-end dealers so that you obtain naturally grown and prepared Ginseng. Beware of cheap Ginseng products, because they are often made from immature roots that have imbalanced chemistry. These cheaper Ginseng products account for Ginseng’s unfortunate reputation for increasing tension or for causing headaches, or even high blood pressure. Mature, high quality Ginseng will not have any side effects.
Gynostemma is popularly believed in Asia to be an anti-aging, longevity herb. Gynostemma is generally reinforcing to overall health, has a strong anti-fatigue effect. It is also used throughout the Orient as a virtual “cure-all.” Gynostemma is a major adaptogenic herb, in the same league as Panax Ginseng, Siberian Ginseng, Reishi, Schizandra and Astragalus.
In China, Gynostemma is widely believed to reduce oxygen deficiency at high altitudes, to improve digestion, to strengthen the mind, and to improve sex functions. It is also believed to help calm the nerves and to ease pain.
The ultimate greatness of Gynostemma lies in its broad spectrum adaptogenic quality. It has double-direction activity in many areas. It has the ability to bring balance to the body under a wide range of stressful circumstances. Constant consumption of Gynostemma tends to have a highly protective quality because it strengthens the adaptive capacity of the person at every level of their life. The chemical constituents responsible for the adaptogenic characteristic of Gynostemma are saponins called gypenosides.
Gynostemma contains more than eighty different gypenosides. This is the broadest range of saponins in one plant in nature. Ginseng, for example has about thirty-six saponins (ginsenosides) and Astragalus has about thirty-two saponins (astragalosides). These gypenosides are very similar to that of Ginseng and to theeleutherosides of Siberian Ginseng. In fact, four of Gynostemma’s saponins are precisely the same chemical structure as the saponins found in Ginseng and eleven more are almost identical. The similarities are so close and so extensive that Gynostemma is now called “Southern Ginseng.” To the local people who grow it and consume it, it is simply called “Magical Grass.”
Studies indicate that Gynostemma has a double-direction, regulating, and adaptogenic influence of the central nervous system. It is calming when one is overexcited and stimulating when one is depressed. Japanese studies have shown that Gynostemma is clinically useful in a number of mental and neurological conditions, including simple depression, anxiety and schizophrenia.
Though Gynostemma is regarded as a tonic herb, it is already perceived by many Asian people to be a “cure all.” In China, Gynostemma is being used to treat inflammation, stop cough, as an expectorant to remove sputum, to treat chronic bronchitis, and much more in actual clinical practice in Asia.
He Shou Wu
Constant consumption of this famous “longevity herb,” whose full name is Polygonum multiflorum, is said in the Orient to help return an aging person to youthfulness and to keep a young person young. It is an unsurpassed Yin Jing tonic, as well as a major blood tonic. It is said to increase energy and to clean the blood. As an essence tonic, it is believed to be a powerful sexual tonic when consumed regularly. Polygonum is widely believed inChina to increase sperm production in men and to increase fertility in women. It is used in almost all tonics that are believed in the Orient to nurture the hair and teeth. This herb has been consumed by almost every Taoist that has ever lived, and is fundamental to the practice of the Taoist inner arts.
This special fruit, sometimes called “red date,” though it is not a true date, has been used since ancient times as a nutrient tonic, a blood cleanser, and as an important adjunctive herb to other tonics, especially in combination with Ginseng and Tang Kuei. Jujube is universally believed in the Orient to build strength and extend life. Jujube is slightly sedative and laxative and removes obstructions of the energy flow. Jujube is often used with Ginseng to bolster Ginseng’s beneficial effects.
Chinese Licorice root is one of the greatest herbs known to mankind. Licorice root builds energy and is an excellent digestive tonic. It is a broad spectrum natural detoxifying agent, ridding the body of over 1200 known toxins without any distressful side‑effects. It also helps regulate the blood sugar level, helping counteract hypoglycemia, a very common imbalance. Licorice root also provides basic nutrients to the adrenal glands. Licorice helps build and strengthen muscle, and it is a natural muscle relaxer. It is very sweet and adds a delicious flavor to herbal teas. Licorice is included in many Chinese herbal teas and formulations because it is said to harmonize all the ingredients in an herbal formula. Licorice root is very powerful and should be used in small quantities.
Ligusticum wallichi is a very widely used blood tonic. It is especially common in women’s blood tonic formulations. Ligusticum is a superb “blood vitalizing” herb used to improve blood circulation and to disperse blood stagnation. It has recently been found to improve blood circulation in the heart. It is sometimes called Cnidium on some product labels, and should not be confused with Cnidium seed, a Yang essence tonic.
Ligustrum is a Yin essence (Jing) tonic that is said by the Chinese to prolong life. It has been found to contain significant immune enhancing agents. It is also used as a blood tonic. It has a slightly cool energy.
Lion’s Mane Mushroom
Lion’s Mane mushroom has been used traditionally by Buddhist monks in China to enhance brain power. Recent research has proven that this tasty mushroom can regenerate brain cells in individuals who have lost cells due to stress and other causes.
Longan is a wonderful and delicious tonic fruit used by the Chinese as a blood tonic, to nurture the heart, and to add luster and beauty to the skin. It is believed among the Chinese people that Longan is not only a great tonic for the skin, but is also a fantastic sex tonic. For that reason, Longan is considered as a special tonic for women who wish to be both beautiful and sexually active — it has a 2000 year reputation as a love tonic. It is said that the most beautiful woman in the history of China, Yang Kuei Fei ate Longan every day. Longan is equally beneficial to men. It is believed to have a calming effect and to add radiance to the eyes. High quality Longan makes a fantastic snack.
This delicious fruit is very widely used as an excellent Yin Jing and blood tonic. Regular consumption of Lycium is traditionally believed to lead to a long and happy life. It is said that prolonged consumption of Lycium will promote cheerfulness and vitality. Lycium is also said to brighten the eyes and improve vision. It is said that Lycium strengthens the legs and enhances sexual function. Lycium fruit contains polysaccharides that have been demonstrated to strongly fortify the immune system. Lycium is also very rich in vitamin C and in B vitamins. Furthermore, it is the richest source of carotenoids, including beta carotene, of all known plants on earth and is thus a powerful antioxidant.
Maitake mushroom has gained a place in tonic herbalism due to its broad spectrum tonic benefits similar to Agaricus and Reishi. Like Agaricus, it is primarily beneficial to the immune system, having double-direction activity on the entire immune system.
Morinda is an excellent Yang Jing tonic. It is considered to be highly nutritious and is used in superior tonic formulas for strengthening the body. It is widely used in primal Jing formulations, often as the main ingredient. Morinda is widely believed in China to increase mental power. It is also considered to be beneficial to the heart. Morinda is excellent for martial artists because it makes you strong.
This herb, which is very similar both biologically and in its actions to wild Asparagus root, is primarily used as a Yin tonic, and especially as a Lung tonic. It is excellent for moistening any dryness in the body. It is considered to be a cold herb. It has special benefits for the Heart, and is said by the Taoists to be a major Shen tonic herb. Therefore, Ophiopogon has been very widely used by Taoist adepts through the centuries.
Pearl has a tremendous reputation in China as both a beauty tonic and as a Shen tonic. Recent Chinese medical texts credit pearl with the ability to clarify the skin, relieve uneasiness of the heart and mind, to benefit reproduction, to relieve “wandering arthritis,” to relieve internal fever, to clear sputum, to remove visual obstacles and improve eyesight, to promote muscle development and to invigorate blood circulation.
As a beauty tonic, pearl is hard to beat. The components in pearl powder help heal blemishes and maintain the health of the skin by participating in the metabolic activities of the skin. Pearl promotes the regeneration of new cells and makes the skin smooth, fine, elastic and naturally beautiful. High quality pearl powder can promote the activities of the important natural antioxidant enzyme known as SOD, and can help prevent the development of melanin, which causes freckles and dark patches on the skin. It can help prevent the skin from becoming old looking, wrinkled and sagging. This is partly due to its stimulation of SOD activity and partly due to other capacities and nutrients. Consistent use of pearl powder can eliminate blemishes such as colored spots and even pimples and boils. Constant use can help assure that the skin will age much more slowly and that it will not be easily harmed by either time or the elements. Pearl is one of the great secrets of the most beautiful women of the Orient.
Pearl has a unique substance known as pearl conchiolin. This material is analogous to collagen. It forms the flexible but incredibly tough matrix of the pearl. This material can be readily utilized when humans consume finely ground pearl powder to strengthen the skin and all other tissues that require collagen. Conchiolin has been show to restore vitality to the skin and to help maintain moisture. It is one of the most remarkable natural substances known for skin health.
Pearl is also a powerful Shen stabilizer. It is among the elite substances of this type known. It can relieve uneasiness, nervousness, anxiety and tension. Pearl promotes sound sleep, prevents nerve-disorders and nerve weakness, and is commonly used to prevent or overcome fatigue. Consistent use helps a person maintain their energy and vitality. It is an ideal Shen tonic and is the main ingredient in the finest Shen tonic formulations.
Pearl contains dozens of minerals, including: calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, strontium, copper, selenium, silicon, titanium, and more. Pearl contains calcium carbonate, magnesium carbonate, calcium phosphate, ferric oxide, silica. But to many people’s surprise, pearl is not just made up of minerals. Pearl contains many amino acids (eight of the amino acids are “essential” – in other words, they cannot be produced in the body but are required for health). Various components in Pearl participate in DNA and RNA metabolic activities, and thus can promote and accelerate cell renewal. Mucopolysaccharides in Pearl have been shown to prevent wrinkling and to increase libido and sexual potency in humans.
Hydrolyzed pearl powder, which is pearl that has been broken down for easy and complete absorption, has been shown in China to help the growth of children’s teeth and bones and to improve children’s intelligence. Hydrolyzed pearl has also been shown to be beneficial for habitual constipation, acting quickly, gently and effectively. Studies indicate that hydrolyzed pearl can lower blood pressure, increase endurance, and can prevent osteoporosis and various cardiovascular diseases. Recent studies indicate that hydrolyzed pearl is effective in healing inflammation of the uterus.
Pearl is extremely safe. Safety studies on hydrolyzed pearl have shown it to be absolutely harmless. It can be taken by anybody for the course of a lifetime without side effects.
Peony root is an important blood tonic used to relax muscle and cleanse the blood. It is one of the most highly prized women’s herbs used traditionally to help regulate the female hormonal cycle and to tonify and purify the blood. It is also used as a pain reducing agent and as an emotional stabilizer by women. It is said to help relieve cramps and spasms anywhere in the body. In particular, it is considered to be highly effective in relieving menstrual cramps. Peony root is also believed to extend life and to promote beauty. An old Chinese saying states that “a woman who consumes Peony root regularly becomes as beautiful as the Peony flower itself.”
The herb is believed to have the ability to strengthen that part of the psyche which we call the “Will.”
Polygonatum sibericum Root is used as a Qi tonic and as a Yin Jing tonic that is said to have a specific benefit on the brain. It is believed to be restorative to mental vitality, especially when the mind has been overworked. It is often used in Shen and Jing tonics to nourish the brain and strengthen the mind. This herb has been very popular among Taoists and all Qi Gung practitioners because of its nourishing effect on the brain.
Ant tonics are widely consumed in Asia to promote strength, sexual vigor and as a powerful antiaging agent. Research has proven that ants are highly nutritious and have powerful tonic and medicinal effects. Ant is considered a premium adaptogenic substance in the same ranks as Ginseng, Reishi and Cordyceps, the superstars of Chinese tonic herbalism. In fact, there is a saying in China that ginseng is the King of Herbs, but Ant is the Herb of Kings.” Ant is widely used to boost the immune system, or to maintain already strong immune functions. Polyrhachis Ant, which is the unique variety of ant used as a tonic herb, has been established to have double-direction benefits on the immune system, so it can be used by anyone with any immune disorder to regulateimmune functions. It is widely believed to prevent common symptoms associated with aging, such as lumbago (low back pain), memory loss, joint problems, fatigue, menopausal symptoms, cardiovascular disease, etc.
Ant also strengthens the nervous system, digestive functions, detoxification functions and muscular system. Because of its long and short-term energy boosting effects, Ant tonics are ideal for athletes, especially when combined with Ginseng, Cordyceps and other similar tonics. Ant strengthens the entire Kidney system, including the sexual functions, skeletal structures and renal system. Ant has a serious reputation in Asia for increasing libido and virility. Both men and women claim that after using Ant for even a short time that their interest in sex increases significantly and that their sexual performance improves in numerous ways.
Poria is very widely used in Chinese herbalism. It is traditionally used as a Qi tonic to benefit the internal organs. It is a solid fungus that grows on the roots of old pine trees. It is mildly diuretic and sedative, and is considered to be highly nourishing. This is an herb that has been widely used by Taoists through the centuries and was often consumed as a primary food source by Taoist hermits. A special variety of Poria known as “Spirit Poria” is considered a premium Shen tonic herb. It is the part of the Poria mushroom that contains the root of the old pine tree, upon which it has grown. Spirit Poria is said to benefit the heart, to nourish the Spirit and to lead to a long and happy life. It is often used by those wishing to overcome anxiety, worry, fear, etc. This is a very special herb traditionally used by Taoist adepts to help attain enlightenment.
“The miracle root for the preservation of life,” as this herb has traditionally been called by the Chinese, stands as one of the great health preserving herbs known to mankind. Panax Pseudoginseng is a relative of Panax Ginseng.It is a superb blood tonic and blood cleanser when cooked. It is a powerful blood vitalizing agent when consumed raw, which means that it improves circulation throughout the body. It is believed by the Chinese to protect the heart and vascular system. It can be used externally to stop bleeding. It is widely used internally in Chinese herbalism as a tonic after traumatic injury. It is one of China’s premier longevity herbs. Pseudoginseng is the main ingredient in the famous formula known as Yunnan Paiyao, which is used externally and internally for injuries and physical trauma.
Rehmannia is said to be the “Kidney’s own food.” It is thus believed to be a Kidney tonic and longevity herb and is found in many common “anti‑aging” formulations for longevity, and rejuvenation. It is also considered a premium blood tonic and is said to benefit sexual functions in men and women. The steamed variety is said to be warm in nature, and it is the steamed variety that is considered tonic. Steamed Rehmannia should be combined with Qi tonics to improve its assimilation.
Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidium) is the most revered herbal substance in Asia, ranking as the elite substance for the attainment of radiant health, longevity and spiritual attainment. It ranks in Asia with Ginseng, Deer Antler, Rhodiola, and Cordyceps as a pre-eminent tool in the attainment of radiant health. It has maintained that position for at least 3000 years, and its reputation and value are only increasing. Numerous legends provide a rich and extensive record of Reishi in Asian society.
Reishi has traditionally been used as an anti-aging herb, and has been used for many diseases and disorders as well. It has long been a favorite tonic food supplement by the Chinese Royal family and virtually any one who could obtain it. Reishi was particularly revered by the followers of the Taoist tradition as the “Elixir of Immortality.” Taoists have continuously claimed that Reishi promotes calmness, centeredness, balance, inner awareness and inner strength. They have used it to improve meditative practices and to protect the body, mind and spirit so that the adept could attain both a long and healthy life and “spiritual immortality” (enlightenment). Due to its rarity in the past, the common people could rarely obtain a Reishi mushroom, and it was popularly revered as a greater treasure than any jewel.
Traditionally, Reishi is said to be a nourishing tonic, tonic to the three treasures (Jing, Qi and Shen). It is considered to be capable of building body resistance, and to be powerfully detoxifying to the cells and tissues of the body. Reishi is slightly sedative on an immediate basis but builds energy over time. Reishi is universally believed is Asia to prolong life and enhance intelligence and wisdom.
Since Reishi has been known to have many functions, it has been the subject of a great deal of research in recent years. It is absolutely safe, being non-toxic.
Reishi is a profound immune potentiator. It has been found to significantly improve the functioning of the immune system whether the immune system is deficient or excessive. In this sense, it is an immune “modulator” – that is, it helps to modulate, or regulate, and fine-tune the immune system. Our immune system is a virtually miraculous network of activities designed over millions of years to protect us from viruses, bacteria, parasites, molds, dust, pollen and malignant cells. It is the responsibility of the immune system to detect the intrusion, or invasion, of these entities and to mount a defense in order to eliminate them. A healthy immune system is capable of resisting most such intruders and a very hardy system may be able to resist invasions that many other people’s systems cannot. If the immune system is weakened or malfunctioning, the invading microbes can easily establish a foothold in our body and disease sets in. Antibiotics can often be used to stop the invasion at this time, but chronic use of antibiotics further weakens the immune response. Furthermore, antibiotics are useless against viruses, pollens and most parasites. They are certainly useless against malignant (cancerous) cells generated in our own bodies. It is much better to resist the invasion from within with a fully fortified immune system and not become ill in the first place. This is where herbs like Reishi our now attracting the attention of scientists and consumers alike.
Many chemical constituents play a role in Reishi’s immune modulating capacity. The polysaccharide components in particular seems to play an important role in attacking cancerous cells, but not healthy ones, while simultaneously strengthening the body’s overall immune functions. The polysaccharides appear to help the body attack microbial invaders such as viruses, bacteria and yeast.
But Reishi does not just “stimulate” the immune system. It regulates it. And that is what makes Reishi so precious. If the immune system is excessive, as is the case with autoimmune diseases and allergies, Reishi can have significant positive influence. A group of chemicals known as the ganoderic acids help fight auto-immune diseases such as allergies. Ganoderic acids inhibit histamine release, improve oxygen utilization and improve liver functions. Ganoderic acids are also potent antioxidant free-radical scavengers.
Still another component, Beta-1, 3-glucan, helps regulate and stabilize blood sugar levels. Not only that, but these same components have been shown to have powerful anti-tumor properties.
Reishi is widely used in Asia to improve the cardiovascular system. It helps lower LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) and reduce excess fatty acids. It has been found to prevent and treat hardening of the arteries, angina and shortness of breath associated with coronary heart disease.
It has also been approved in Japan and China for the treatment of myasthenia gravis, a serious auto-immune disease. Besides that, it is commonly prescribed by MD’s in Japan for chronic bronchitis, memory loss, insomnia, hyperlipidemia and a whole range of degenerative diseases of the elderly, including disorders associated with senility.
Reishi is a superb anti-stress herb. Throughout history it has been used to bring balance into the lives of people who needed help in this department, and that means most everyone. Deep in antiquity, it was routinely used by mountain hermits, monks, Taoist adepts and spiritual seekers throughout Asia because it was believed to help calm the mind, ease tension, strengthen the nerves, strengthen memory, sharpen concentration, improve focus, build will power and, as a result, help build wisdom. That is why it was called the “Mushroom of Spiritual Potency” by these seekers. The people of Asia have never lost their faith in Reishi. They believe more than ever in Reishi’s power to improve the quality of life by improving the inner life of a human being.All the scientific validation only explains the physical nature of Reishi, but it is the profound ability of Reishi to improve one’s life on every plane that makes it so miraculous. Reishi is indeed calming and centering. Everyone who takes Reishi notices the peacefulness that seems to accompany its use. Many people are able to stop using chemical drugs. And Reishi seems to be cumulative, gradually strengthening the nerves and actually changing how we perceive life.
Reishi is a substance that builds health on all levels. It is the rarest of jewels in Nature. Life itself is based on the ability to adapt to the stresses, the attacks, the challenges that come our way every day. Reishi seems to provide an incredible resource of the full range of energies we need to meet these challenges. Reishi is indeed “the great protector,” protecting us on every level—physically, immunologically, mentally, and spiritually. It helps us adapt to the world and provides additional power for us to achieve a superior level of life. When we are so protected and so provided for, we can achieve things that otherwise would be impossible. That is why Reishi has been called the “herb of good fortune.”
A natural food substance produced by worker bees for their queen. This incredibly nutritious whole food is rich in a very broad spectrum of important vitamins, minerals and other substances essential to radiant health. Royal Jelly is believed to be an important beauty aid and is said to beautify the skin, eyes and hair. It is widely available in many commercially prepared products, or it can be obtained fresh, straight from the hive. Fresh Royal Jelly can have profound health benefits.
Schizandra is a famous tonic historically consumed by Chinese royalty and by Taoist masters. It is one of the few herbs that contains all three treasures. Schizandra is renowned as a beauty tonic and is considered to be a youth preserving herb. It has been used for centuries to make the skin soft, moist and radiant. It is also said to be a powerful tonic to the brain and mind, and is believed in China to improve memory. It is also said to be an excellent sexual tonic when consumed regularly. It is said to help produce abundant sexual fluids, increase sexual endurance and to strengthen the whole body. It is used in many tonic formulations as an “astringent.” Schizandra has a wonderful multi‑layered flavor when processed properly.
Schizandra develops the primary energies of life, and generates vitality and radiant beauty when used regularly for some time. If used for 100 days successively, Schizandra is said to purify the blood, sharpen the mind, improve memory, rejuvenate the Kidney energy (especially the sexual functions in both men and women), and cause the skin to become radiantly beautiful.
The Taoists especially revered Schizandra. Schizandra was my teacher’s, Sung Jin Park’s, favorite herb. This is because Schizandra contains all five elemental energies in abundance, contains all three treasures in abundance, and enters all twelve meridians. Master Park considered it to be the quintessential herbal substance.
Schizandra is said to increase the Water Qi in the Kidney. In particular, it is said to vastly increase the “water of the genital organs,” referring to the sexual fluids. Schizandra is said to promote the production of semen. It is famous for its ability to relieve sexual fatigue and for increasing the sexual staying-power in men. Schizandra is also said to increase circulation in and sensitivity of the female genitals. Many women claim increased genital warmth and sensation after using Schizandra for a period of time. The Chinese sexual classics claim that continuous use by a woman will increase the amount of “female elixir,” a euphemism for vaginal secretions, during intercourse.
Schizandra is considered to have “aphrodisiac” qualities, especially when combined with other Kidney tonics.Furthermore, Schizandra is one of the most important astringent herbs used in Chinese herbalism. An astringent herb conserves fluids, and in the case of Schizandra, it tends to contain sexual fluids until the appropriate time of release. Thus, consuming Schizandra for a period of time, one tends to build up sexual fluids. Schizandra is used in sexual formulations to prevent premature ejaculation and to help promote incredible endurance.
Schizandra is widely used to beautify the skin and to protect the skin from the damaging effects of the sun and wind. Due to the astringent quality of Schizandra, the skin tends to hold its moisture and becomes full and beautiful. It has always been very popular with the wealthy men and women of China because of its youth preserving and rejuvenating effects. I have seen the benefits of this herb with my own eyes hundreds of times in my life. People who start taking Schizandra regularly all change for the better. Their skin virtually glows and becomes clear and fine after several months.
This herb is considered to be one of the premium mind tonics of herbalism. It is used to sharpen concentration, improve memory and increase alertness. Yet, unlike caffeine-like stimulants, Schizandra does not produce nervousness. In fact, some people consider Schizandra mildly “calming” while producing wakefulness and improved focus.
It has been demonstrated that human intellectual activity can be enhanced and work efficiency increased by consuming Schizandra. Various tests have shown that moderate therapeutic doses of Schizandra can improve various activities requiring concentration, fine coordination, sensitivity and endurance. The tests in humans confirming Schizandra’s efficacy in these areas range from threading needles to running marathons.
Human studies have also shown that Schizandra can improve vision, even enlarging the field of vision, and can improve hearing. It also improves the discrimination ability of the skin receptors. It has been determined that this increased sensitivity is due to improved function of the central nervous system’s ability to analyze data flowing to it from the peripheral sensors.
Shiitake mushroom is a potent immune modulating herb. It contains the beta-glucan type of polysaccharides that have been found to bolster the immune response of humans. Shiitake also helps reduce blood lipids and “bad” cholesterol. Shiitake is widely used as a food, though it is also available as a food supplement.
Siberian Ginseng is an incredibly important and popular tonic herb. It is another relative of true ginseng, though it shows no physical resemblance to Panax Ginseng. Wild Eleutherococcus senticosis grows widely in Siberia,Mongolia and Northeastern China. It is famous as an adaptogenic herb, thus aiding in handling of stress. It has been used for centuries to increase physical and mental endurance, to build blood and to improve memory. It is now widely used to regulate blood sugar levels, and is especially popular among athletes and those who work hard. It is perhaps the most popular herb in the world among martial arts practitioners.
Snow Lotus Flower
This herb is extremely rare and precious. It comes from one of the most remote areas of Asia. Snow Lotus has a general health promoting effect. It regulates the functions of different organs. In particular, it improves the immune system, prevents internal and external diseases, improves adaptability, and eliminates body toxins. Snow Lotus is anti-aging, strengthens the body, preserves youthfulness, and helps with all kinds of diseases. Snow Lotus calms and eliminates wind, smoothes Liver function, sedates rising Liver yang. It replenishes the Yin, strengthens the Yang, tonifies the blood, strengthens the sinews, relieves swelling and pain, improves blood circulation, removes blood stagnation, is said to remove “sludge” from the blood vessels, and promotes longevity. It clears away heat, toxic material and dampness. It is extremely rare and precious. Though it is equally beneficial to men and women, Snow Lotus was the favorite herb the most beautiful women of the Chinese Imperial Court for centuries because of its beauty enhancing benefits.
Tibetan Rhodiola Root
Tibetan Rhodiola is a relatively rare herb that grows in one of the harshest environments in the world. In the Orient, it is called “Plateau Ginseng,” and the Tibetans considered Rhodiola to be a sacred herb. It has been used by the Tibetan people as a powerful adaptogenic vitalizer and as a substantial medicinal agent since the beginning of Tibetan civilization. Rhodiola has also been prized by the Chinese and was very positively reviewed in the first Chinese herbal classic over two thousand years ago. Three closely related Himalayan species are used interchangeably and there is no substantial difference in their tonic qualities: Rhodiola sacra, Rhodiola himalensis, and Rhodiola crenulata. Rhodiola rosea is a significantly different plant that grows primarily in Russia. For over a thousand years, the Himalayan varieties have been considered to be the superior varieties. Tibetan Rhodiola has traditionally been regarded as a life-prolonging, wisdom enhancing “superior herb.” However, the rarity of Tibetan Rhodiola has prevented it from becoming a well-known commodity outside of Asia until now. This incredible herb was used by the Tibetan monks to enhance their inner spiritual power, the power of concentration and physical endurance. It has undoubtedly played a major role in the development of Tibetan culture.
Evidence has shown that Tibetan Rhodiola is in many ways more powerful than Ginseng. It is a superb herb for people who work very hard, either physically or mentally. Tibetan Rhodiola has been shown to improve endurance and mental capacity, including memory enhancement. It has been shown to be a superb tonic and energizer for those into physical fitness, and a superior tonic for those stuck behind a desk or at a computer terminal for long periods of time.Consumption of a small amount of Rhodiola extract significantly improves a person’s capacity to absorb and utilize oxygen.
Tibetan Rhodiola is especially beneficial to those who live under stressful conditions. It has been proven that Tibetan Rhodiola reduces the body’s stress reactions, and thus relieves mental stress as well. People stay focused and suffer far less from fatigue even under severe stress. It is the ideal herbal supplement for the modern world.
Tibetan Rhodiola has been found to be extremely beneficial to the cardiovascular system, and has been found to prevent heart disease, the number one cause of death in the United States. It is also a powerful immune modulator, building the immune system into a well tuned fighting machine.
Tibetan Rhodiola also is being used as a powerful and safe antidepressant. It is believed to be more powerful than St. Johns Wort, currently the world’s number one selling natural antidepressant substance.
The shell of the tortoise is a very special and potent Yin Essence tonic that also builds blood. It is said to increase fluids, build hormones and to replenish substances lost to stress and excessive behavior. The species used is cultivated for food and is not endangered.
Salvia is a “blood vitalizing” herb used to improve circulation. Recent research in China and Japan indicates that this herb can improve the condition and functioning of the cardiovascular system. It is a famed longevity herb.
This is a well known edible fungus and is a precious tonic herb. It is rich in vitamins and minerals. Tremella is sweet, mild and non-toxic. Tremella strengthens the vital energy, harmonizes the blood, stimulates the heart and nourishes the brain. It enriches the Kidneys, strengthens semen, relieves Yin deficiency, lubricates the Lungs, promotes the secretion of saliva, nourishes the stomach, is able to lubricate the intestines, and stops coughing. It is anti-pyretic.
Though tribulus grows in China, it is the Bulgarian variety that has gained worldwide recognition as a powerful adaptogenic Qi and Jing tonic. Bulgarian tribulus utilizes the entire plant. Bulgarian tribulus promotes the functions of the adrenal glands, and can have profound benefits to menopausal women and to men with weakening sexual function. Tribulus also has powerful, safe anti-inflammatory action.
Walnut kernel is used to strengthen the Kidney functions, and therefore it is used to strengthen the lumbar region of the back, the legs and the sexual organs. It is commonly combined with other Kidney tonics to enhance this action. In addition, the Walnuts are said to be beneficial to the brain since the brain is believed to be controlled by the Kidney function.
Wild Acorus that grows near or under waterfalls was traditionally used by Taoists to open the senses, clear the mind, overcome illusion and to elevate Shen. It was used as a tool to help develop intuition, the sixth sense. It should be used sparingly by those on a spiritual path. Acorus is said to nourish the heart and is a Shen tonic.
Zizyphus is one of the most commonly used herbs in Chinese herbalism. It is the quintessential tranquilizing herbal substance. Being neutral in energy and mild in nature, it is the most commonly used lead herb in sedative formulas designed to help relax the mind and induce sound sleep. It is especially useful for people who are experiencing restless sleep with excessive, vivid dreams and / or nightmares. It is categorized as a heart-blood tonic, therefore directly calming the heart, which is of course the seat of Shen and which determines our emotional stability. This is a very good herb for women who suffer insomnia do to a slight or profound anemic condition.
Ron Teeguarden of Dragon Herbs