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 top 2 tonic herbs used by Chinese herbalists for thousands of years to help the body adapt to stress and develop optimal physical resilience.
- How to slow down the ravages of aging with ancient herbal secrets that restore and rejuvenate your body at a cellular level.
- 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 1 of 2
Hi, everybody. This is David “Avocado” Wolfe, and I am joined by none other than Chinese herbalist, Taoist tonic herbalist, and really one of the leading authorities in Chinese herbs worldwide, and that is Ron Teeguarden.
We’re going to be together for the Longevity Intensive™ at the Hyatt Hotel in Westlake Village, California. That’s just north of Los Angeles about 45 minutes. We’ll be there from Friday, March 4th, through Sunday, March 6th, 2016, we’re going to be doing an intensive. We’re going to get into some of the longevity materials we touched on at the Women’s Wellness Conference™ and definitely at the Longevity Now® Conference. We’re going to go for a more intense look, to cut it down to what we really feel are the most critical distinctions. And we’re going to cover a little bit of that here right now together.
Now, Ron is the cofounder of Dragon Herbs® in Los Angeles. They distribute their products worldwide. He’s actually one of the foremost herbalists in America. Even though his focus has been the Chinese tonic herbs, just his knowledge of what herbalism can do for us, what it really means to have a tonic herb or a superherb in your diet, and how to get this all going–that’s really his specialty.
He’s written several classics in the field. He’s been at many of our conferences. He’s an incredible friend and mentor, and I feel fortunate to have this time with Ron, and I hope you do too. Without further adieu… How are you doing out there, Ron Teeguarden?
Hi, Dave. I’m great. Thank you very much. It’s a great time of year.
We’ve gotta catch up here for just a second. You’ve been working on this incredible tonic bar in Los Angeles, in Santa Monica. If you could give us just a quick overview of what’s happening. A lot of folks come over from Australia, and they come to L.A., and they’re gonna want to go visit your new place. Give them a quick one-two. How do they get there? What’s happening with the new facility?
Well, we’re building a new flagship store on what’s called the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, which is the beachfront community of Los Angeles. I’m putting my lifetime’s worth of knowledge and understanding into this elixir bar we’re building, and the store. We’re going to have a lounge, a lot of products, of course, that people can take home, but we’re also going to build what we believe will be the ultimate elixir bar and superfood bar in the world.
At this point, we have a menu of about 100 different drinks, amazing teas and superfoods and beverages and even some superfood-types of soups that you just can’t get other places. You can come and taste them and test them and enjoy them and feel them right then. If you enjoy them, then you can continue using them. That’s the real point, of course. The first rule of tonic herbalism is compliance, so we want to introduce them to people.
We think it’s a lot of fun. We’re going to be open probably in February. That’s our target. We’re in construction right now, so it’s an amazing project. For me, it’s kind of the coup de grâce of my life, to build this elixir bar in Santa Monica.
I’m very excited about it. I’m sure everybody else is, and I just want to mention that if everything comes together, and it looks like it’s going to on that March 4th-6th weekend, probably that Monday afterwards, after we do the Longevity Intensive™, we’re going to take all you folks who join us for the Longevity Intensive™ and bring you down to Ron’s new elixir bar/tonic bar. It’s really like a tonic bar nightclub. It’s just awesome. It’s big, with lots of space. And we’ll probably do some kind of an event there as a kind of post party.
What do you think about that Ron?
That’s a dream come true, David. First of all, it’s a really beautiful space. It’s really fun. There are lots of other things to do in the neighborhood. People are really going to enjoy coming to the Third Street Promenade. We are serving a bunch of beverages that include all kinds of Longevity products from you, and we’re very pleased.
Fantastic! I can’t wait to get back and see the progress that’s been made. I’m not in Los Angeles right now.
Tell us, Ron, you know, we’re going to be focusing on detoxification. It’s one of the things we’re going to do together at the Longevity Intensive™. I want to just ask you about the Chinese system of herbalism and its history.
The population of China has always been greater than in any other part of the world. Give us a little insight about how Chinese tonic herbalism and Taoist tonic herbalism help us to adapt to the toxicity of our environment, which at this point is loaded with harsh chemicals. What can we do from the tonic herbal perspective to assist our bodies to stay clean?
Well, first of all, the tonic herbs have been used in Asia for thousands of years. The Chinese developed a pretty fantastic system of using the tonic herbs. The tonic herbs, first and foremost, are the kind of herbs that are used to promote your wellbeing. So, they’re like super health foods. They’re not necessarily the herbs that are used to remedy problems. That’s actually a different kind of herbalism, which we all could know about.
The tonic herbs themselves are these premiere herbs you take every day to build your inner power, your mental energy, your sexual energy, your resistance to disease and so forth, basically building the immune system. Also, they slow down the ravages of aging by, perhaps, reducing the amount of chronic low-grade inflammation people develop. They also, perhaps, repair damage that occurs within the body, both on a macro scale and on the micro scale, down to the cellular level.
So the ancient Chinese, they were blessed to have developed a system called Taoism that actually had a philosophy by which you could cultivate your life. It was called Life Cultivation. Therefore, you could get your body and mind into such a state that you would be able to make great progress in your wisdom and spiritual growth within one lifetime.
So, longevity became a very central focus of Taoism: Live long, don’t suffer from diseases and so forth. The tonic herbalism was built into the concepts of living long, living well, and progressing–growing as you live.
You know, when I think about the tonic herbs, especially the Chinese tonic herbs, and detoxification, everything I’ve learned from you, Ron, and what you’ve picked up from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and their extraordinary amount of research on these herbs, I always think about gynostemma, and I always think about schizandra. In particular, schizandra for liver detoxification. Can you give us a little bit of information on those two in particular?
These are popular herbs now. People are turned onto schizandra and gynostemma, thanks to you. Give us a little insight there.
First of all, schizandra has been one of the most popular herbs in this Life Cultivation system from the very beginning. It was always one of the most important herbs in the Taoist art of radiant health. It’s called the Quintessence of Chinese tonic herbs. It boosts all the major types of energies in the body.
The three main types of energies were jing, qi, and shen. I don’t want to get too philosophical at this point, but jing is your basic primal energy that determines your lifespan and your inner power. Qi is the energy we use to be active, to think and to move and to resist disease, and to adapt to the environment. Shen is our spiritual energy, our mental energy. It’s our capacity to grow as human beings in the sense of wisdom.
Schizandra is one of these rare herbs that can actually boost our power on all those levels. On a real fundamental level, as you take schizandra your resistance becomes stronger. You can handle a lot more adversity in your life, and you don’t notice it. Therefore, you can succeed more effectively in whatever you’re doing, because you just don’t get knocked off the horse so easily. That’s schizandra.
It’s an herb that was famous for enhancing beauty. It beautifies the skin. I know that’s a popular reason why a lot of people might take it. It’s a good reason, too, because the skin makes you beautiful and it’s the organ that protects us and helps us to adapt to the environment.
It also is great for mental energy. It has been proven in lots of studies that it’s stronger on your mind than caffeine. Yet, it doesn’t have the side effects of caffeine. There are many other reasons, too. I could go on about schizandra for a long time. Schizandra is such a great herb that my teacher, a great Taoist master, it was his favorite herb. We’ve made it a part of our practice since I studied with him 45 years ago.
Incredible! What about gynostemma? Give us a little about gynostemma. What came to light about gynostemma from your research is that it’s really one of these herbs that was in South Central China. It was very highly regarded there, but not in every province of China. Over the last 100 years, it has really come to prominence.
Give us a little bit about that, how it helps our bodies, what it can do to help us detoxify.
Gynostemma is a green leafy herb, kind of like a tea that you can make a drink with. Or you can extract it. As you said, it wasn’t a classical Chinese tonic herb, but it was very, very popular in the South of China.
As it turns out, back in the 1960s, there was a study done of the longest-living people in the world. It turned out that the longest-lived people in the world lived in this one pocket in Southeast China. There were more centenarians (100-year-old people) there per capita than anyplace else in the world. What distinguished their diet and lifestyle was that they consumed gynostemma tea on a daily basis.
These people still did hard work. They were exposed to all kinds of tropical conditions, but they lived long. The reason is that gynostemma is very closely, chemically, related to ginseng, such that it has these adaptogenic substances called saponins.
Right now, it’s known that gynostemma has over 145 of these saponins. The number has been growing. It used to be, in my old books I’d say it had 80, which was a lot. But it’s 145 now.
Saponins are amazing things. They’re two-headed chemicals. One end binds to alcohol, or fatty parts. And one end binds to the water part. So it goes in and helps clean out the body. In a certain sense, saponins are like soap. As a matter of fact, that’s what you make soap out of is saponin.
So every time you drink gynostemma, you’re not going to bubble, but it is going to go in and detoxify the liver, detoxify all the tissues of the body. Plus, because of the nature of the saponins, it helps you to become very, very flexible in terms of what you can handle in the environment.
You can handle more heat, more cold, more work, less work. You can meditate for longer. It’s just one of those great adaptogenic herbs. Properly prepared, like schizandra, it’s delicious and very easy to consume every day.
You’re right, gynostemma went from being a small herb in China, to right now being the most popular herb in Asia.
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