(Modern Herbalism Made Easy – Part 2)
Check out this exclusive interview between superfood expert, author, and host of the Longevity Intensive™, David Wolfe, and Master Herbalist, Ron Teeguarden and discover:
- The essential purpose of tonic herbs used by Chinese herbalists for thousands of years to help the body maintain homeostasis, develop a robust immune system, and achieve extreme longevity.
- How to achieve the ‘state beyond all danger’ with the world’s most potent and life-sustaining superherbs.
- The theory of ‘life cultivation’ that enables you to nurture and develop the three most important energies in the body.
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Transcript of Modern Herbalism Made Easy – Part 2
Some people have to work harder to detoxify their bodies or to work on their immune systems than others. We get a different set of cards dealt to us at birth.
I get people who are wondering if they can actually change the cards that they were dealt at birth. For example, maybe one person lives without a robust immune system. It’s genetic. It’s what they’re born with.
But the Taoist tonic herbal perspective is different. Give us a little insight on that, just so we can give those folks who have worked hard on their health, but who are still struggling, a little bit of hope. Where can this really take us?
I think people should have lots of hope. The whole idea that we are genetically predetermined is, even in science, becoming very Old School.
Yes, when I went to college, they said nature vs. nurture, like the way you’re born, that’s your destiny. You can’t do much about it. But now we know. Science knows and herbalists know, and it certain reflects with Chinese herbalism. Herbalism has always said that we can influence how our genes manifest or don’t manifest. As we get older, certain genes turn on and turn off, just according to the experiences we’re having in our lives.
We are a reflection of how we live and where we go and how we walk and how we think. Every time you think about something, it produces chemicals in your body that go down into the cells of the body and actually change the chemistry of your chromosomes. Those become either dirty, or they become very clean, or mixed up, depending on how your life is.
So when you’re living a messed up lifestyle… Say, you just don’t have much knowledge about how to live well. You don’t live on a regular pattern. You eat poorly, the American conventional diet. Say you don’t exercise enough and are exposed to stress. All these things are producing these chemicals that make your genes produce certain other kinds of chemicals that then create an inflammatory state in the body, states that ultimately cause us to die sooner than we should. And we also are unhappy and suffer.
The other possibility is to make the choice to live well. Improve your diet. Eat healthy, natural food. Exercise at least once a day, get your heart rate going and sweat a little. Take the tonic herbs.
The tonic herbs have been used, for the same reason as superfoods, for centuries. These actually inspire epigenetic changes in the chromosomes and the DNA and help us to manifest our life much more efficiently.
We could get into detail on that at the conference. We’ll talk about that a lot more, but the fact is that you can protect yourself dramatically. That’s why people who live really long are typically people who do some gardening, they walk some hills every day, and they eat a Mediterranean diet or something like that, a diet that’s full of good food and good oils. They avoid, certainly, too much cooked meat. Those kinds of things really impact you at the genetic level.
Going back to jing, qi, and shen, those were just old-fashioned ways of saying the same new thing.
Your jing is your pre-destiny, but you can change that. If you’re born with strong jing, you can still live a short life if you ruin it by living poorly. You’ve got to make your lifestyle bring it up to a level that supports longevity. It’s called Life Cultivation. That’s where the tonic herbs fall in, where meditation falls in, where exercise and the right state of mind play a role, probably right state of mind more than anything.
Yeah, I mean, when you say “right state of mind,” I think of that golden meaning that Aristotle talked about. The yin and yang of the Eastern system.
Let’s talk about using these herbs to help us bring balance. In your opinion, out of all the herbs that you love and that you know about so intimately…
By the way, if you’re listening right now and you’ve never heard from Ron Teeguarden, Ron goes to China four or five times a year, at least. Probably more. To hunt down these herbs himself. He goes to the sources of where all this stuff comes from.
So Ron, in terms of that herbalism, what do you think are the best go-tos to deal with the imbalances caused by screaming kids. You’ve got to drive to do five errands. Then you’ve got to get home, get on the computer, answer emails, etc.
Where can we get some help?
The nature of the tonic herbs, there are only about maybe 40 or 50 true tonic herbs in the world. Even out of millions of different vegetables and foods that humans could possibly eat. Out of these few herbs, they have what we call double-direction, or bidirectional activity. Which means that when you consume an herb like reishi mushroom, or chaga, or the herbs we mentioned before–gynostemma and schizandra–and a few others… I can mention more in a couple of minutes.
When you take these kinds of herbs that have what we call bidirectional activity, they support the normal flowing, the biorhythms of the body. So when it’s time to go to sleep, you can take these herbs and they will help your body do what it’s supposed to be doing right then, which is go to sleep. Then you get a deeper sleep, and you’re more rested. Therefore, the body repairs itself and has time to heal.
I just want to say right there…this is a common misconception, Ron. And you know this like everybody who’s deep in this work, people don’t believe they can take an herb at 8:00pm because they think they’ll be up all night. But that doesn’t apply to a real tonic herb. Does it?
No, it doesn’t. For sure. I think all of the herbs I just mentioned–reishi, chaga, schizandra, gynostemma, and most other of the major tonic herbs–you can take at any time of the day. They will just help your rhythm.
I think most people take them in the morning and then take them at night. Both. Because in the morning, the same herb will help your body to rise up.
The human body is so miraculous. It’s based on literally billions of years of evolution. It’s so sophisticated in its biorhythms with how the earth rotates and how the sun rotates and with the seasons. All we need is that fine tuning to help it achieve an efficiency.
Most of us these days lose that efficiency, because we have artificial lights at night, which I don’t want to get into now, but of course that’s changing our biorhythms. We don’t necessarily get up at sunrise. We may, but like a lot of people we are then getting into a car, and it’s air-conditioned. Whatever it is, we’re not really living a natural life.
Now, if you’re living a natural life, your chances of living longer are much better. The herbs just help your body get into those natural rhythms and adapt more appropriately.
The fact is, I don’t think you can micromanage balance too well. We all try. I think it makes sense that you go into a hot climate, you might want to take some herbs that you know are cooling. Or vice versa. But the real reality is that supporting our own body’s ability to adapt really well is a key to long life and to radiant health. That’s where the tonic herbs come in, because they’re bidirectional. They support the natural expansion of our capacity into whatever we’re doing.
If you’re going to work hard, work hard. The same herb–reishi, ginseng, astragalus, gynostemma–they will help you to go out to the garden and work hard, or go to the gym and workout really hard. But the same one, if you take it before meditating, you’ll be able to sit more quietly, with more focus and concentration, maybe not fall asleep and actually get something done with the meditation. The same herb you can take under different circumstances, and it will help you enhance. They’re life-enhancing products from nature.
You know, this is the big part about this. We come from a society, in the way we’ve been educated and the way we grew up eating, where these tonic herbs, that might as well have been a million miles away. We’re on Corn Flakes®, and whatever kind of food we’re eating.
What I love to do, Ron, and I know you love this too, and this is what we’re going to be doing at the Longevity Intensive™, is to bring these herbs into a primacy. So that someone might say, “I’m more interested in having reishi mushroom than I am in eating an apple.”
Do you know what I mean?
Yeah. Well, apples are great.
Well, I like apples. But apples have become an everyday thing. Apples are cool, but if I had the choice I’m going to go for reishi mushroom because it’s just more powerful.
So maybe speak to that a little bit, just for some of our folks who are new. These superherbs, people ask if it’s safe to have these. These are way safer than food! Like He Shou Wu, right?
Right. These herbs have been used by billions of people over thousands of years, and their reputation has always been that these are herbs you take to promote radiant health. Radiant health being defined as ‘health beyond danger’. That’s how they defined it in Taoism.
In other words, you can handle more dangers in your life. That’s one thing. Obviously, that’s the opposite of “not safe.”. The tonic herbs you can consume on a daily basis. That’s been the written notice on those for at least 3,000 years in Asia. These are the herbs you can use daily to promote your wellbeing and longevity.
That has all been very clearly supported scientifically. There are literally tens of thousands of studies done on the major tonic herbs, showing their safety definitively.
Now, reishi mushroom is a woody mushroom. You can make a tea of it and/or an extract of it and consume it on a daily basis, and it just enhances your life. As a matter of fact, that would be the most sought after…reishi is the most sought after tonic herb in the world. People would consume it any possible time they could.
These days, like you said, this miraculous time we live in, these herbs are available to everybody. They’re not just available to a Shaolin monk or emperor or some herbal master in ancient times. Right now, we can go out and get the best reishi we’ve ever been able to get and consume it ourselves.
I don’t know how appreciative a person could get, but we are very lucky.
I agree. I’m drinking reishi mushroom tea right now. We’re so fortunate.
Now, if you’re listening right now and you’re wondering what this Longevity Intensive™ is about, Ron and I are going to dive into detoxification from every angle.
You know, we have twice as much lymphatic fluid in our bodies than we do blood. That means we’ve got to work on that sewage system. That’s what the lymphatic system is doing, so we can stay clean and keep our bodies healthy and go into those later years, the 80s, 90s, 100s, and beyond. Then we’re going to get into body-mind balance. Of course, we’re going to do a whole segment on the immune system, developing immunity.
Let’s talk a little bit more about the dual-directional side of these herbs a little bit. Again, this is one of those programs that’s in our brains. We just say, “Oh, no, no, no. I can’t take herbs because of whatever.” Or, “I’m not sick. I don’t need to take herbs.”
But these tonic herbs, they’re like a food. It’s like a superfood, and it’s beyond. Give us a little bit more about some of the ones we love so much, Ron. Like He Shou Wu, for example. How does that play into the dual-directional activity, so that whether you have it at night or in the morning, it has a different affect on us.
Right. I’ll just go back to the basic principles. In ancient China, they described three different kinds of foods or herbs, three different levels. The lowest level was actually medicinal substances that you would take after you’re sick. That’s like saying, I’ve already got the measles, or I’ve already got acne. I’m already getting out of shape and in some kind of problem. There are certain herbs you can take to rectify problems. Those were called literally “the poisons,” the medicinal herbs. Those would be used for a short time under the direction of a specialist, like a doctor or an acupuncturist, or somebody who knew what to do with those herbs for the short period of time.
The second level of herbs were the general herbs that you could use for preventative medicine. Those were herbs you could take because you know that you are allergic to certain flowers in the spring, so you could take certain herbs that would help you to handle allergies. Or you know that you’re going to have menstrual cramps, so you could take certain things right before to deal with it.
But the tonic herbs are a different type of herb. That’s the third category. They’re called the “superior herbs.” These are basically… You’re right, they’re just superfood. They just happen to be too tough to just eat as a superfood, so we had to cook them into a soup, or extract them in some kind of way and then drink the tea.
Right now you’re drinking reishi tea, because you really can’t just eat a reishi because it’s very woody. But you can drink it and make a soup out of it, and that’s where you get the benefits. Also, that is the correct way to do it. No matter what anybody says, that’s the way it’s been done for thousands of years. That’s where the benefits are known to come from, from cooking it into a tea or extracting it in alcohol, or something like that.
The superior herbs were meant and designed to be used on a daily basis. They’re like prana. They’re prana, they’re the qi from the food we eat from the earth, just as we go out and breathe. You can’t say, “I don’t need to exercise, because I’m already a slim guy. I’m okay, so I won’t exercise until I’m a fat guy.”
That’s just ridiculous. We should start when we’re young. You should start taking tonic herbs. You should make sure you exercise on a regular, really sophisticated level if possible. Perhaps a little bit more sophisticated than only going to the gym. Actually do Qi Gong or Yoga, things that lift our consciousness and our energy flows, as well.
The tonic herbs are meant to be consumed on a regular basis. Most people take them every day. Something like He Shou Wu, an herb that’s a root, has been used for a thousand years or longer to build up the kidney energy, which is like your adrenals and reproductive system, and also to build your blood. People who take it just live well.
There are lots of studies on animals. They can’t do longevity studies on humans yet, because you have to wait for the humans to die. Those could take a hundred years. But the longevity studies on animals are showing that animals that consume He Shou Wu live longer. That’s true with most of the tonic herbs. They just help you to thrive.
They’re not medicinal. I think I’m going to spend my entire lifetime emphasizing that the tonic herbs are not medicinal. We have to take an attitude of what they call “assist the positive,” which means become healthy. Cultivate your lifestyle, so you don’t become sick. That’s the real primary approach.
And I’ll say this right now, if you wait until you’re sick and then start having to heal yourself, then you’re at risk. In real essence, unless you change your life, you can’t heal yourself. You might get rid of one symptom, or one sickness, but if you go back to the same lifestyle–McDonald’s or the ham sandwich–you’re just going to get sick again in a different way, and life will be miserable. You’ve got to become healthy. Focus on the positive of your life.
That sounds like great New Year’s Resolution stuff, cultivating your life. I love the way you say that. You bring with that, the way you say it, you bring with it the lineage. You can feel that this has been going on for awhile. The Taoist approach and strategy to lifestyle. Obviously, herbs are just one part of lifestyle, but they are such an important and wonderful part. But it’s an overall perspective, isn’t it?
Yeah. I’m not ragging. I’m not perfect, either. But I do think that I go through my day, when I eat I think about the function of the food. It’s a little bit more important than the taste, even though I want things to taste good because I’m a human.
When I exercise, I’m trying to do something that won’t wreck my knee or give me a concussion. I’m going to do something that’s actually going to make my qi stronger, or my jing stronger, something like that.
You know, you do things thoughtfully. You learn these things. You go to events like the Longevity Now® Conference, and you read the right books, and you learn how to cultivate your life. It’s like taking care of a good plant.
I’m a gardener. I have a very large garden, and you can’t just throw the plants out there and let them go. You’ve got to nurture them in some ways. You’ve got to put the mulch down. You’ve got to feed them, and so forth.
It’s the same with your self. You just can’t poison yourself and hope to come out the other end because science is going to save you. That’s not going to happen. You’ve got to start young and stay young. That’s the way you have to go with this.
And you know, we can do that these days. The tonic herbs are there, and we all have access to life cultivation techniques. We can all learn from a great master someplace on how to meditate, and do it! Compliance is the first rule of tonic herbalism.
If you hear what we’re saying today and don’t do it, then c’est la vie. Take your chances. But the truth is, if you start and actually pick one or two or three of the tonic herbs to take and just make them a regular part of your life, they will impact you. Everybody who takes them notices it. You see it all over the web. People take the herbs, they change. They feel it. But you’ve got to take good stuff, and that is an important piece to this–quality selection.
Yeah. And that’s what you’re such a master at, Ron. You take incredible pride in seeking out quality. It’s really the cornerstone of Dragon Herbs® and everything you’ve done. Thank you for doing that. I know when I take a reishi product from you, or a ginseng product from you, or He Shou Wu, or any of them, it’s the Best Quality Ever. And that is really wonderful.
The only thing that I can compare it to, by the way, in my experience as an herbalist, is what I pick out of the forest in the wild in my backyard over there. That’s the only thing that’s even close to what you’ve got. You’ve got those Te Tao principles down, which is getting that herb from where it’s locally, originally from.
Our approach is, we’re a Te Tao company. Te Tao is a Chinese word meaning “the authentic source.” That’s because certain things grow in certain environments that they’ve been growing in for millions of years.
For example, ginseng has been growing on Changbai Mountain for 65 million years, so if you transplant ginseng to my home here in Los Angeles, I can grow it. But it’s not going to have the same bacteria, the same wind, the same air pressure, the same temperature shifts that make ginseng the superherb that it can become.
My whole philosophy, which my teacher taught me, is that if you’re going to get tonic herbs, just get the best you can get, because these are the source in your life of jing, qi, and shen. You know, like everything, it’s one of the great choices of life. These are very primal. This is us. So, I’ve just passed that on. I’ve just made my world out of that.
We go and get the best, not only from China. We get herbs, like the best Tongkat Ali comes from Indonesia, from Sumatra. The best American ginseng, which is a slightly different herb, doesn’t come from China. It comes from Canada or upstate New York. All of us into herbs know where the best stuff comes from. That’s just how it is. That’s not to say, you’re right. If you all of a sudden you’re in your backyard and there’s a reishi mushroom growing on a tree, that’s a reishi mushroom. It’s wild. I do believe in wild nature, getting as close to wild nature and less cultivated.
I don’t want a great big fat herb that’s really been hot house puffed up. I’d be happy with a scrawny one, if it really had to go through 100 degrees in the summer and -40 in the winter. That’s, to me, a good herb.
I’m with you on that. I’m seeing that more in the youth, by the way. Kids today that are tuned into food and diet and lifestyle and health, they are actually aware that if the food has to be carried along and helped out constantly, it’s weaker. And it’s going to make us weaker. Whereas, if that ginseng has to survive year after year with the natural elements beating down upon it, it’s going to be stronger.
Yeah, like when we get ginseng, and I don’t know what other people do with their ginseng. But we get our ginseng from a high altitude farm, where we’ve been growing it for many years. It’s organic. That means that they got their certification 10 years ago, and then it took 10 years for the ginseng to actually mature. It’s a long time to make it happen.
They just planted the seeds of the ginseng and just let it go. The caretaker just does nothing all day. His job is just to make sure that bears don’t come and eat the ginseng. As far as putting stuff on it or anything like that, no. They’re going to let Manchuria select which is the strong ginseng. And that’s good ginseng. When you get that, then you’re going to feel it.
Right on! Everybody, I’m David “Avocado” Wolfe. You’re hearing Ron Teeguarden speak about herbalism. He’s going to be joining us at the Longevity Intensive™. That’s going to be March 4th through March 6th, 2016.
You can find the details if you go to www.longevitywarehouse.com. Right on the front page you’ll see a banner for it. You can click there.
Or you can go to this URL: www.longevityintensive.com for all those details.
Ron, thanks so much for joining us. By the way, this is an up close and personal event with Ron and myself. We’re going to limit it to about 400 people, and that’s it. It’s first come, first served.
Thanks for joining us, Ron. Any last parting words?
Thank you so much. I’m really looking forward to the conference.
Fantastic! I’m looking forward to seeing you again. I’m up here in Canada at the moment, so you know, I want to get back to L.A. We’ll hang out.
Take care, man. See you soon.
You too. Have the Best Day Ever. Cheers!
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