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(6 pages total)

Page 2 - Tonic Herbs that Every Qigong Practitioner Should Know

50 Tonic Herbs

There are currently 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 supersonics, the greatest list of herbal substances in the world.

The following descriptions are not exhaustive. They present insight into these 50 great tonic herbs and provide the most important functions of each oneknowledge that every qigong practitioner should have. The information provided here is designed to lay the groundwork for a broader understanding of tonic herbalism. If you are a health care practitioner, you may read descriptions in a number of texts, including the author's most recent book, The Ancient Wisdom of the Chinese Tonic Herbs, published by Warner Books, that provides complete information on all of these herbs. In actual practice, most of these herbs are combined into formulations that may be consumed on a daily or otherwise regular basis to promote our long term health and well-being.

The herbs are presented here in alphabetical order for your ease in referencing them.

Agaricus Mushroom

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 auto-immune 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, or Panax Quinquefolium, is a true ginseng family member even though it grows in North America. It contains phytochemicals known as saponins, that are similar to those found in Oriental ginseng (panax ginseng). However, American ginseng is considered to be a yin tonic herb, especially nourishing to the lungs, skin and stomach. It builds adaptive energy without the warming effects of Asian ginseng and is thus the ginseng of choice for overly Yang people. American ginseng is extremely popular in China. The wild variety is far superior to the cultivated, but is much rarer and much more costly.

Asparagus Root

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.

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