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(4 pages total)

Tonic Herbs that Every Qigong Practitioner Should Know

[Editors note: Due to the length of this article, it was run in two of our printed issues, this is part 2 which describes the last 25 herbs. The introduction and sidebars are repeated for clarity as well as emphasis. The author uses terminology with which most of our readers are familiar, but briefly, the three treasures of Chinese medicine are "Jing" (essence), "Qi" (energy), and "Shen" (spirit). To achieve health, these treasures are balanced by bringing yin (deficient) or yang (excessive) qualities into equilibrium by using herbs, diet, meditation, exercise, lifestyle changes, etc. See Part 1 for a list of the first 25 herbs.]

Superior Herbalism

Chinese tonic herbalism is the most sophisticated and effective herbal system in the world. It differs from other herbal systems in that it emphasizes the promotion of health rather than the elimination of disease. In this sense, tonic herbalism is extremely similar to qigong. Though qigong offers a wide variety of remedial exercises and techniques, quite clearly the emphasis is on developing superior health and spiritual power by performing exercises that harmonize the body, mind and spirit, that develop the Three Treasures, Jing, Qi and Shen, that integrate the organs, and help us harmonize with the environment and the universe.

Of the several thousand herbs used in the Chinese herbal system, there is an elite group of about fifty herbs known as the Superior Herbs. These very special herbs have also become known as the tonic herbs of Chinese herbalism. 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 authors 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.

Ligusticum Rhizome

Ligusticum wallichi is a very widely used blood tonic. It is especially common in womens 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 Fruit

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.

Longan Fruit

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.

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