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(8 pages total)

Page 4 - The Dao of Herbs


Ancient Pharmacy

The Yin and Yang of People

Our personalities reflect yin and yang. A person who is shy and inward would be said to have a yin personality. An outgoing, assertive or aggressive individual would be said to be more yang. Of course, our personalities change throughout the day and over time. We all go through yin phases and yang phases.

Our personal relationships also manifest the principle of yin and yang. Sometimes we dominate another individual and sometimes we are the dominated. Sometimes we are the giver and sometimes we are the receiver. Giving and receiving in life are but a reflection of the universal law of yin and yang.

Yin and yang is a concept of relativity and each person must be looked at relatively. An aggressive person with a hot temper would be considered to be of a yang nature, irrespective of gender. A cold, inward, passive person would be considered relatively yin, irrespective of gender. A person who is dry (yang) will need to increase their fluids and blood (yin) and a person who has cold extremities will need to invigorate their circulation and metabolism by increasing yang in order to establish a healthy, balanced physiology.


Herbs and the Regulation of Yin and Yang

In Chinese tonic herbalism, we utilize the law of yin and yang constantly. Tonic herbs are categorized according to yin and yang. It is the attempt of tonic herbalism to provide yin and yang energy in an appropriate balance so that the individual eventually attains a proper dynamic balance and thus attains radiant health. Thus it is important to discern which balance of yin and yang herbs is appropriate. A person who shows signs of yin deficiency will do well to take more yin herbs while a person who shows signs of yang deficiency should take more yang herbs.

It is our belief that, since yin and yang are always both necessary, both yin and yang herbs should be consumed by everybody. Since yin is by definition cooling, moistening and relaxing, yin deficiency is often characterized by hot conditions, hot feelings, dryness and agitation. Yang, on the other hand, is warming, drying and invigorating. Therefore yang deficiency is characterized by cold feelings and conditions, excessive moistness and a lack of vitality (fatigue).

Chinese tonic herbalism is an adaptogenic system. This relates to the concept that the body-mind is naturally and innately self-regulatory. Human neurological and endocrine functions have evolved over millions of years as the primary human regulatory systems designed by nature to maintain homeostasis (functional balance), even under an enormous variety of stressful conditions, thus allowing the whole system to survive and even thrive.


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