The Tradition of Chinese HerbsThe Tradition of Chinese Herbs

In ancient times, hermits and monks carefully studied the cycles of nature in China’s high mountains. Their tradition of spiritual and natural life science came to be known as Tao, which literally translated means 'the natural way.' They experimented with the best methods for achieving balance, and their studies ultimately led them to the use of herbs. Practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine believe that our bodies and spirit have the innate ability to avert illness and heal ourselves, if given the proper nourishment.

Wood Element / Detox

It is the Liver/Gall Bladder system that maintains the smooth flow of Chi, our life-force energy. Because the nervous system is the first to develop in a fetus, Wood is also referred to the ‘Beginning of Life.’ Liver cleanses the blood and regulates the function of the nervous system, thus fatigue is an indication that one’s Liver energy is depleted.

Fire Element / Circulation

The Heart/Small Intestine governs the Blood, and is the seat of the spirit. In old Taoist classics, the Fire Element is often referred to as the Robust Growth phase. A strong Fire Element is necessary for proper blood circulation, for mental acuity and creativity, and for controlling anxiety and excitability.

Earth Element / Digestion

The spleen, stomach and digestive systems are said to extract and separate the pure from the turbid. Because an efficient digestion provides the body with nourishment and causes it to mature gracefully, the Earth Element is called the Mature Phase of life. A strong Earth Element and helps control melancholy and worry.

Metal Element / Immunity

The Lungs and Large Intestine are said to dominate respiration and to maintain defensive Chi, or energy. The Metal Element is associated with the body’s first line of defense, the immune system. Having a strong Metal Element enables one to enjoy and maximize our lives, thus Taoist sages have referred to the Metal Element as the Harvest Time of life.

Water Element / Hormone Balance

Kidney/Bladder system is said to store ‘Jing’, or the essence of life. Jing is expressed as the hormonal and reproductive systems in living organisms. Our hormones function in delicate balance with each other, and help determine the rate of aging in the body. The Water Element is considered to be the Root of human life.



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November 2012

Volume 10, Number 11

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