Taoist tonic herbalism is an ancient system of healing that has been used for centuries in China. This system is based on the belief that a human being is composed of three "treasures," also called "Three Treasures": Jing, Qi, and Shen. The Three Treasures are the foundation of our life, and the goal of Taoist tonic herbalism is to help replenish and balance these energies in order to promote overall health and well-being. In this blog post, we will explore the concept of the Three Treasures and how it is used in Taoist tonic herbalism.
Jing: also translated as "essence," is the primal energy of life. It is closely associated with our genetic potential and is associated with the aging process. Jing is often compared to the wax and wick of a candle, with a candle's life expectancy depending on the quality of the wax and the size of the candle. In Taoist tonic herbalism, Jing is associated with regeneration, longevity, youthfulness, deep, long-term vitality, mental energy, and the source of power for the reproductive system and the immune system for optimal functioning. Jing energy also supports our skeletal system, renal functions, and our ability to hear. It's believed to govern our courage and is the power behind our will. Jing, is stored throughout the body, especially in the primary organs: Liver, Heart, Spleen, Lungs, and most especially the Kidneys, which stores Jing for the whole body.
Qi: symbolized by the flame, is energy manifested and provides the source of light. In Taoist tonic herbalism, Qi is associated with our vitality, adaptability, and immune response. It's also considered as the fuel for the body, providing energy for all the body's functions. When Qi is balanced and flowing freely throughout the body, one will have good physical and emotional well-being. However, when Qi is blocked or out of balance, it can lead to physical and emotional imbalances such as fatigue, pain, and disease.
Shen: symbolized by the light given off by a candle, is our spiritual power, awareness, and consciousness. It is also associated with the mind and our true wisdom and our universal love. This is ultimately the most important of the Three Treasures, because it is the basis of our higher nature as human beings and is expressed as our wisdom and happiness in life. A balance Shen leads to a sense of inner peace, calmness and joy, while a disturbance in Shen can manifest as anxiety, depression, and other emotional imbalances.
The major tonic herbs used in Taoist tonic herbalism are believed to have an abundance of one or more of the Three Treasures. They, by definition, are the natural sources of the Three Treasures. Herbs such as deer antler, goji berry, and ginseng are considered to be tonic herbs because of their ability to replenish and balance the Three Treasures.
Deer antler is considered a "superior tonic" that is used to replenish Jing and Qi, and stabilize the emotional body so that Shen may fully develop. It is believed to help promote overall health and vitality, sexual function and fertility, and nourish the "Jing" which is the vital essence that is said to be responsible for one's physical and mental well-being.
Goji berries are believed to replenish Qi and Jing, strengthen the immune system and support the eyes, liver and kidneys.
Ginseng is considered to be a "king of tonic herbs" that is used to replenish Jing, Qi, and Shen. It's believed to enhance overall well-being
and improve physical and mental performance. It is also believed to help reduce stress and promote longevity.
One of the key principles of Taoist tonic herbalism is to balance the Three Treasures by using herbs that are appropriate for the individual's specific needs. A practitioner of Taoist tonic herbalism will take into account a person's constitution, symptoms, and overall health before making a recommendation for herbs to use. This approach allows for a customized treatment plan that is tailored to the unique needs of each individual.
When using Taoist tonic herbalism, it is important to remember that balance is key. While certain herbs may be used to replenish a specific Treasure, it is important to also address any imbalances in the other Treasures in order to achieve true balance.
It is also important to note that while traditional use of Taoist tonic herbalism has been used for centuries and there are some claims to its benefits, it's important to remember that there are limited scientific studies to support these claims, and more research is needed. Additionally, it's important to use herbs that are of good quality and purity, and to consult with a qualified practitioner of Taoist tonic herbalism before using any herbs.
In conclusion, the Three Treasures system of Taoist tonic herbalism is a unique and holistic approach to health and well-being. It focuses on the balance and replenishment of Jing, Qi, and Shen, which are the fundamental energies that make up our body and mind. The use of tonic herbs, such as deer antler, goji berry and ginseng, can be beneficial for promoting overall health and well-being by replenishing and balancing the Three Treasures. However, it's important to use high-quality herbs and to consult with a qualified practitioner before using any herbs, and also to remember that more research is needed to support the claims.