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Chinese Herbal Tonics

Ancient treatment stakes claim in the western world

By Christina Fior

Throughout history, we’ve been blessed by those who have paved a path before us that we have not known before. This is especially evident in the world of natural health.

Many early visionaries of the West pioneered a holistic way of life that many of us thrive on today. These include: Linus Pauling, PhD; Paul Bragg, ND, PhD; John R. Christopher, ND; Bernard Jensen, DC; Ann Wigmore, Co-Founder of Hippocrates Health Institute and countless others before them. Their legacies have given us the tools for fusing nature’s wisdom with the body’s innate intelligence, while honoring the role of conventional medicine.

East Meets West

I fortuitously ran into another pioneer in the world of wellness a few weeks ago, Ron Teeguarden, Chinese herbalist and creator of Dragon Herbs. Ron is widely recognized as a “Founding Father of Tonic Herbalism” in the United States. His health approach is based on his powerful translation of Eastern philosophy and techniques that has helped hundreds of thousands of Westerners for almost five decades.

Ron wrote his first book, Chinese Tonic Herbs, in 1985 after opening the first Chinese tonic elixir bar at a trendy celebrity hotspot in LA called “Charmer’s Market.” Since then, thousands of herbal elixir bars have popped up all over the country.

The power of herbal tonics

Tonic herbs are “adaptogens,” meaning they intelligently adapt to whatever the body needs for self-healing and self-repair. Adaptogenic herbs come from harsh environments; they themselves have to adapt to weather extremes which chemically produce their versatile nature.

Ron explained that in Asian tradition the term “herbalism” includes not only botanicals, but also natural earth and sea minerals, as well as some animal products that have proven functions such as deer antler. Other major tonic herbs include reishi, pearl, goji, ginseng, rhodiola, ashwaganda and many more.

The Three Treasures

According to Chinese tonic herbalism, a human being is composed of “Three Treasures.” These treasures are called Jing, Qi and Shen. So, the value of an herb is reflected by the treasures it contains.

Jing is the primal energy of life and is closely associated with our genetic potential and the nature of our aging process. Jing is said to be stored in the kidney.

Qi includes both energy and blood and involves action and thought. These blood tonics increase our ability to function fully and adaptively.

Shen governs our spirit. Shen tonics have been used by the great sages of the Orient to assist their quest for enlightenment and harmony with nature and humankind.

Herbal tonic categories

To simplify, there are four major tonic categories for nourishing the body: energy tonics; blood tonics; yin tonics and yang tonics.

Energy tonics increase physiological energy production. They help the body function optimally with increased vitality. Energy tonics promote glowing health, protection and longevity.

Blood tonics nourish the blood and tissues to help the body function optimally. Blood tonics help build muscle and provide the key means of distribution of nutrients, hormones and immune cells in the body.

Yin tonics nourish the fluids of the body and provide the “deep substance” of life. Yin energy is generally condensed and affects kidney function. Yin tonics are considered to be of the most important anti-aging and longevity herbs.

Yang tonics are the “power herbs” of Chinese herbalism. Due to their warm energy, they are revered sexual tonics and are believed in China to build willpower, courage, strength and metabolism.

The great news is, herbal tonics can be customized to bolster one’s personal health constitution, enhance performance and build immunity from cellular damage due to stress and proximity to environmental assaults. Tonic herbs come in many forms depending upon their desired therapeutic usage.

Where to find herbal tonics

In addition to Dragon Herbs, there are many fine companies that produce herbal tonics and medicinal mushrooms such as Herb Pharm, Host Defense and newer companies such as Sun Potion and OM Mushrooms. Chinese herbalists and acupuncturists may carry these products along with others sourced from China.

It’s interesting to note that Dragon Herbs has been doing advanced testing of all their herbs (indigenously sourced) for over 20 years. They’re now the first and only company thus far in the U.S. and potentially the world to conduct DNA sequence scanning and certification on a large volume of their products by an independent third party in China. These actions have paved the way for helping consumers make educated choices when it comes to using Chinese herbal tonics.

Christina Fior, author and transformation life coach, has merged her 40-year professional background combining preventative wellness and metaphysics into a lifestyle practice that optimizes personal potential. www.christinafior.com.

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