There needs to be a balance and integration between the heavenly yang therapies such as Qi-healing, Qigong and acupuncture with the earthly yin aspect such as diet and tonic superior herbs which together create harmony, healing wholeness of yin and yang and spiritual oneness with the universe to truely envision what Taoist master Chuang Tzu said, “There is nothing which heaven does not cover, yet nothing that earth does not sustain.”
Tonic herbs are herbs which promote a long, healthy, vibrant, happy life without any unwanted side effects even when taken over a long period of time. The tonic or Superior Herbs, essentially, are empowering and healthful “super-foods” which benefit our well being in ways that more common foods cannot. And they have a protective, balancing, vitalizing quality beyond that of any other herbs. They are generally consumed as a herbal supplement to a well balanced healthy diet for the purpose of optimizing our nutritional needs.
Applying the principle of the Three Treasures is the highest form of great herbalism. In the Orient it is called “the Superior Herbalism.” Six tonic or superior herbs revered by the great sages as the quintessential substances to cultivate the Three Treasures (Qi, Shen, and Jing) are Reishi mushrooms, Ginseng, Schizandra fruit (Wu Wei Zi), Asparagus Root (Tian Men Dong), Gynostemma Pentaphyllum (Jiao Gu Lan), and Rhodiola (Hong Jing Tian). Shen Nong Ben Cao (Divine Farmer’s Materia Medica) and Huang Di Neijing (Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine) described them as superior or immortal foods as opposed to the medicinal and radical herbs:
Huang Di asked, “Can you tell me about the three grades of herbs that were recorded in the Shen Nong Ben Cao (Shen Nong’s Materia Medica)?”
Qi Bo replied, “In ancient times the art of herbology was practiced by categorizing all herbs into three classifications. The first category of herbs was called superior, or immortal foods because of their lack of side effects and strengthening qualities. These were often incorporated into one’s diet and were used as preventive measures. The second category of herbs was called medium or medicinal and were used to rectifying imbalances in the human body. These were used until the patient recovered from their illness and then withdrawn. The third category of herbs was called inferior or radical herbs, so named because they are strong in action and not without side effects; sometimes they are toxic. Therefore these were used often in small amounts and once the desired action took place they were discontinued immediately.
“The paramount mission in healing is to dispel the pathogen and strengthen the patient.”
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