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Ancient Secrets Of Tonic Herbalism with Mason Taylor (EP#05)

Mason (SuperFeast founder) is travelling through China, visiting the pristine mountains and valleys where we grow and forage our SuperFeast tonic herbs and medicinal mushrooms. Right in the middle of these experiences, he is dripping with the awareness and perception of the Daoist (Taoist) tonic herb tradition.

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Mason (SuperFeast founder) is travelling through China, visiting the pristine mountains and valleys where we grow and forage our SuperFeast tonic herbs and medicinal mushrooms. Right in the middle of these experiences, he is dripping with the awareness and perception of the Daoist (Taoist) tonic herb tradition. This tradition has emerged on our ancient land, as well as the beautiful majesty of the herbs and Mason shares these experiences in today's podcast. 
You are going to learn all the ins and outs of wild foraging. Plus hear about the conscious farming operations of SuperFeast medicinal mushrooms and tonics and how to ensure you’re sourcing the absolute greatest possible tonic herbs for you and your family. If you are buying your herbs from SuperFeast, you will learn why our products work so well and are superior in quality. If you’re not using our herbs you will learn all the relevant questions to ask when purchasing tonic herbs, to ensure you are not being swindled into buying an inferior product.
We will take a journey into the roots of this herbal philosophy and learn when the split occurred, away from traditional healing towards a reductionist approach to healing and herbalism (aka towards modern medicine), and the dire consequences.
Mason covers what is needed to become an integrated practitioner that develops expertise in the prevention and optimisation approach to health; the philosophies which tonic herbalism and shamanic Daoism is rooted within. 
In this episode we will cover:
  • Why wild chaga is superior.
  • The origins of Daoist tonic herbalism.
  • Why modern doctors have got it wrong.
  • Why prevention beats treatment every time.
  • How Traditional Chinese Medicine lost its way.
  • How to grow the best schizandra / schisandra ever.
  • Why mushrooms grown on grain are the worst ever.
  • Dì Dào (地道) (Di Tao) as the ultimate way to source herbs.
  • The two types of people that grow mushrooms on grain.
  • What Shen Nong had to say about where to source herbs.
  • What Shen Nong had to say about where to source herbs
  • How to ensure your herbs stay heavy metal and radiation free.
  • How to make a herb more adaptogenic through conscious farming.



Shen Nong The Divine Farmer’s Materia Medica



Check Out The Transcript Below:

Hello everybody and welcome to the show. I am coming to you live with this podcast today from China, near the Dabie mountains where we grow our Reishi. I've been on a tour through China so far. I've spent five days up in the northeast of China in the wilderness up there checking on a bunch of sources and a bunch of herbs and just basically nerding out and feeling like I am coming home to a place I've been many times before. I feel like I'm already so intimate with the land. I feel like I'm already so intimate with how the herbs have been sourced and how they've been grown and how they've been foraged for. The thing is with it, like I've been all over and I've had every single photo, video question asked and answered over the years. I worked with someone personally on the ground here to make sure that the standard is absolutely next level.


But coming here and seeing it for myself, I've been able to go into some various and different nuances of the way we source the herbs and I've been going into the various nuances of the sourcing philosophy that we have, which is Dì Dào (地道). And I am really feeling this more than ever. I'm feeling just the ancient roots of this sourcing philosophy, which is Dì Dào (地道), which I'm going to be explaining to you on this podcast, which I'm quite excited about.


Now, the other thing I want to be talking on this podcast with you about is basic all the little bits and bobs behind the way that we source, behind what the concept of wild-crafting is, the concept of semi wild crafting. Basically, I'm just wanting to be looking in and giving you some understanding of what are the differences behind growing Chaga and having to go and get that wild. What's the difference between that and lion's Mane? What kind of techniques do we have with lion's Mane, and how do we grow that compared to Reishi.


And so I want to go through this a little bit, but I definitely want to talk a little bit about ancient time tonic herbalism at the same time. And so let's start there. A lot of you are quite aware of a book called the Shennong Ben Cao Jing, and that is materia Medica, the divine farmers classic Materia Medica. And this was a Shennong was a herbalist, Sherman, Emperor, one of the godfathers of TCM, of Chinese herbalism. That style of herbalism that was very all including; very, very intrinsic to the Dao, to looking at patterns within the human body within not just treating the body but then ensuring that you are really laying down foundations for a nice long healthy life.


And so I'm in this Materia Medica, the first Materia Medica to emerge. We start seeing classification of herbs. And I know a lot of you have heard this before, but let's go over it again. And some of you can say it with me. And so we have lower grade of herbs, middle, and upper; lower, middle, and upper. And then we can translate that a little bit more directly to be inferior herbs, regular herbs, and superior herbs.


It's a very beautiful and different classification of herbs coming through. And this is ... remember, this is pre-Christ, so this is 200 BC. This is at a time when you see humans moving off the land and more into cities and civilization, whatever that means. To be more or less civil is up for debate. And at that point it's very relevant to have a Materia Medica laying out which herbs are appropriate for what time and what they're for.


So if you're very, very sick, you are requiring something that really has like a strong effect on the body, you are requiring something that is going to push your body out of the danger zone. So a lot of the herbs you have when there's like an extreme neurological Lyme infection and you need the symptoms to come down quickly on that Lyme infection, you're going to be taken some heavy hitting herbs to push the body in one direction and the infection of the immune system on one direction to ensure that that person basically stays alive or doesn't have heavy life threatening, mind threatening symptoms going on. Something like also like black salve, you might've heard of black salve, something you apply to your skin with abnormal cells. Very aggressive herbs. These are the inferior herbs, great for healing. However, you don't have them on a daily basis. It's just they have extreme symptoms on the other side, unfortunately. But fortunately, the medicine is in the poison with these herbs. And so they're the inferior herbs.


Then you have the regular herbs, those that you can take a little bit more regularly in terms of getting medicinal value, something like Ginger, Garlic, Andrographis, even Echinacea for many people; it's a regular herb. You can take that for a few months, you might have a few symptoms here and there, but generally you're not going to have it as like a a solid ensconce part of your diet.


And then the superior herbs is what Shennong was writing about in here being those herbs that are gentle enough and somewhat intelligent enough in the sense of ... now in the West, we'd classify them as adaptogens, remembering that pretty much all tonic herbs are adaptogens, but not all adaptogens are tonic herbs. In the sense, tonic herbs we can take every single day and over time those we build up in the benefits, within our body. And our body becomes more robust, more adaptable, and more centered in the sense that it knows what it center is, and the body knows where it wants to center and becomes much, much better at doing that and coming into homeostasis. The rhythm of the body becomes rad, you have a lot more fun in life. And those are the superior herbs. Those are the tonic herbs.


Now, Shennong and the physicians that have enjoyed this classic. This is considered somewhat the roots of being a practitioner here in TCM. It's one of the, you respect your elders and you respect this book along with a few others, the yellow Emperor. And what I want to talk about just quickly with you is this resurgence of tonic herbalism coming back into the modern world today as not only as something extremely legitimate that we should be considering and practitioners should be considering, but as very much a missing link. And why is it that talking about a herb like Reishi mushroom, why are there still times when practitioners today who are very much in the mindset of treating symptoms, treating diseases, using herbs based on their modern like almost pharmaceutical star Materia Medica classification. Like Reishi is an immune stimulant, so therefore you only use it in treatment settings to stimulate the immune system.


I want to talk about where that mindset of the herbs a basically a drug and you use them to treat a disease. And it kind of like a commodification of like the style of being a practitioner where you can go to school and you learn. You read this book here, that symptom, you use this herb, this disease, you use this herb. And it becomes much more of a reductionist feel within TCM or within ancient Chinese herbalism. There is a split at around 400 AD is when I kind of like ... I'm definitely not an expert on the topic, but when I can definitely see that that's something like that emerges in the Song dynasty, and you start to see a division between the more Shamanic Daoist approach to herbalism.


And basically that's a style of practitioner and medicine where you are spending a lot of time with the patient. You are well versed in the inferior herbs. Those that if someone's very sick, you are aware of the inferior herbs, you use them, you know how to use them in the body to get someone out of a dangerous place to get symptoms down. That part of the treatment is part of your ensemble. And then the regular herbs, maybe we'll get you on these herbs for a month or two, if there's extreme coldness within the body, we can use something like ginger, we can use hot herbs like cinnamon and we can warm up the body over time, but no one will be able to watch or teach the person how to watch the signs for when you don't need any more aggressive warming, that your body is coming back to a normal state, and so educating and using that style of herbalism.


But then also using the superior tonic herbalism, and this is that whole mindset. And this is that place where the whole idea, I think it was in ancient Greek times in ... I think it was as well in Egyptian times and then basically in all cultures because this is what makes sense is the physician is only going to be paid if you stop getting sick, unlike the modern Western world where you stay sick and you keep on paying the doctor and you keep on paying the institution and they're protected behind the white coat. And sometimes like kind of a fundamental science that says, we've got the absolute best, we're doing the best we can, if you're getting sick, it's out of our control. And so yeah, just keep on paying us.


Basically the ancient Daoists would have that saying like, well don't pay me. I don't get paid or often it wasn't about being paid for most physicians and healers around the world anyway. There wasn't payment, there was just a service. But at that point they have included in their repertoire the use of tonic herbalism and the philosophy around that. And why that's important to understand is because physicians were well versed in what it took and not just general advice like you get from a modern doctor, like we spent 15 minutes together and you should drink more water and you should exercise more. That advice is really nice and noble, but are they an expert in that capacity to live that preventative lifestyle? And so a lot of physicians are nowadays, and I feel like there is a resurgence, and that's why tonic herbalism is definitely resuging at the same time because it's intrinsic to this.


But a doctor or a physician in herbs, yeah, great, know the inferior herbs, know the regular herbs, but be very well versed at the same time in the superior herbs. And those are the herbs like Reishi, Chaga, the herbs in Jing, Eucommia bark, Hi Shou Wu, dendrobium, and they are that bridge. Now, a bridge has got two points of course, right? So that bridge that sits on the side of that part of the treatment where you are moving from the intention of say those middle herbs, those regular herbs, there's still symptoms and basically using tonic herbalism as a foundational ongoing practice in a healing. A physician should have this understanding of using a tonic herb where it's appropriate. And toning, remember, doesn't just mean tightening and making the muscle stronger, it's toning function, physiological function, energetic function. And this is where the concept of an adaptogen coming through, although with tonic herbs, it's much more complex than just the scientific application of a of an adaptogen.


And especially when you're sourcing the way we do, you're going beyond it just being an adaptogen because everyone's still in the West just trying to wrap their heads around adaptogens and people are still just using it as a marketing term. We're kind of getting a little bit more of an understanding of the heart of what that actually means. Within tonic herbalism, is that the energetics included within these very revered herbs that are able to go into the body and nourish core cell function or metabolic function and organ function when used in an appropriate dose, which has got a wide range; it's easy to hit an appropriate dose with tonic herbalism, it's very easy. And one that fits into your sovereignty even if you're beginning out in this, it's very safe. This is why they're tonics, that you take those tones that function whether it's immune, whether it's liver, whether it's putting kidney essence in, and then your body has the capacity to come back into balance itself.


So that aspect of healing and herbalism has been lost for a lot of practitioners. I think it's coming back, but basically, as I was saying before, and that Song Dynasty ... just have a little sip of [inaudible 00:14:07]. It's early morning here. We went late, late night, last night. Flew from northeast China here to kind of like closer to the coast and the east still, but down like midway near the Dabie mountains. Got a bunch of neural nectar and Jing in my coffee this morning, which is absolutely delish.


So 400 BC, you see in the Song Dynasty, there's a particular practitioner called Lee Chow, and he wrote processing of drugs. And so this was Kind of like the first big staple book within China that wasn't rooted in the theory of Shennong Ben Cao Jing. And it didn't have an intense study and understanding of those Shamanic roots of herbalism. And so it missed out on the tonic herbal practice in which it went beyond, if you have these symptoms or this disease, you use this herb or this formula. This book, the processing of drugs, referring to herbs that have an energetics,, herbs that have personalities, herbs that like to grow in particular places more than others, herbs that like to suck up the atmospheric magic and like to suck up the cosmic energy from where they are and then make that available to organs and cells. And that's what comes out with long term usage, when it comes to tonic herbs.


There is obviously a lot of holistic, cosmic, magic, practical elements when it comes to tonic herbalism and longterm creating a life where you're just like you have a nice long and happy life, when you have a life that leads to longevity.


And it was in 400 ... In the Chinese system, it's 400 AD when that processing of drugs becomes very obvious in that split where you have an integrated and possibly the Shamanic Daoists, perhaps it wasn't remaining relevant enough to the folks living in cities and folks living in civilizations. It needed to become more integrated, but at the same time, you see that like more cosmic, holistic considering Ying Yang theory, five element theory, heavily and living in and really working with the pattern within a human body. Finding the rhythm, not treating the disease or the symptom, which is still my camp and where I like to sit.


And then you see this other camp come up with this kind of physician that is riding the processing of drugs and referring to herbs as drugs, that's more of the reductionist, right? What is the symptom? Let's treat that symptom. And you can see the intention can be good because it makes it easy for young and aspiring practitioners to emerge, makes it easier for people in city, makes it more efficient, but you heavily begin to lose something in terms of that practitioner and patient relationship. You might want to commodify medicine, you might want to make it more efficient and yes, there are ways to make it efficient organically through dialectic and conversation of various parties and various angles and approaches to medicine. And you can come together and become more integrated and work as a team more and in that integration, you can be more effective, more humble eyes on the patient and help them come back into balance and then have that system in place where it's not only treating the disease but then bringing in that Dao side where you use superior herbalism, where you'll use that ongoing education of intention pouring into lifestyle where you create habits that breed energetic flow, that breed a healthy breadth of the organs.


And that's generally what you're going to be lacking in that reduction side. It's going to be treat the disease, treat the symptom, boom. Okay, get that down now, off your pop, get out now, superior ... like over the years and over the centuries, there's like this back and forth in between these two parties, right? So there was like that more like cosmic Daoist Shaman style of herbalism that's considering as a practitioner sit down and really ... let's spend like half a day looking at the tongue, looking at the pulse, and of course these treatment and diagnostic techniques of course in TCM and of course that aspect of TCM leaning over to more reductionism, but at the same time it's treatment, it's is a little ... you can see it, you know it, it's a little bit more quick in and out verse like spending half a day or spending a nice long ongoing time to be able to like really get to know the psyche of that person, where did you come from? What happened when you were a child? Where do you live? All right, we're seeing liver symptoms, but let's really consider this, let's really follow that pattern.


Because it's like trying to describe a beautiful piece of art. Like it's like trying to really describe a beautiful song. Within the human body, there are patents and rhythms, you can't just go like right, boom, that's the cause, that's where the disease is coming from. That's the only symptom we needed to treat. Of course, underlying there is going to be this ongoing build up like this accumulation of symptoms and that might be due to deficiency of blood. It might be the liver chi stagnating over time and that might be because there's a blockage within the heart and then you might see that that liver chi moving up into the neck and so on and so forth.


You go down, down, down and around and you start to create this big like piece of art and understanding of the rhythm of that human and you can start to educate that human as a practitioner of these are your patterns and ongoingly, these are the emotions you're going to work on, you are going to need to really focus on your kidney essence, maybe spending a year or two taking Jing herbs and particular Jing Herbs and building that up. And then you might want to include them as a part of your diet, coming from the mindset, not of your sick, of that mindset of like we're going to get used sovereign, we're going to turn you into the practitioner because one of the things about how convoluted medicine gets and that's including TCM, traditional Chinese medicine.


It's an incredible thing that it is so and modern medicine that it's so complex and that there's so much that you can understand and go into like how a cell works, how this disease works, what that's a manifestation of in the body and getting all these really minute testing done. But ultimately, if you talk to that doctor that understands all those things in his understanding that he needs to do a certain amount of things in his life to have a long and happy life, he's not really drawing on that knowledge in order to help his family, his kids be strong and healthy and treating little symptoms as they go along. Because it's not practical, it must be more simple, it's good understanding and better to be able to understand it and then communicate concepts of cellular metabolism or the way the stomach and the spleen interact with each other and very simple almost story like ways that is going to be relevant in the way that you keep yourself and your family healthy over decades long of a span. Right?


What we're talking about here is the philosophy of tonic herbalism and that which started to be contended with in the Song dynasty with that processing of drugs book and that cut of physician. And you see the back and forth between those two sides of the coin, bang, bang, bang. Really, it'd be nice to get some ego out of the way and get some integration between these two parties. And I feel like we're doing that now. But in both camps, you get people on the far out cosmically cracked out, won't consider anything about society or civilization or other humans like legitimate enough and just like, I'm going to be a hermit, I'm just going to go off and live in the mountains and if anyone wants to join me, come out here.


That's a very legitimate type of practitioner or healer. You see a lot of those, is very self righteous, don't love it. You also see the extremes of like a doctor that's just like, this is ridiculous, you think that massaging and organ is going to help you overcome a disease like polycystic ovaries. No, get outta here. Like you think that you can take medicinal mushrooms while you are undergoing ... I'm just kind of like, I got to be careful and not mentioning a lot of these treatments guys, that's why I'm hesitating.


But when you're undergoing treatment to say radiate particular cells, you think that you are going to be taking medicinal mushrooms and that's going to be building up your immune system and helping you, no, that's ridiculous, let's just to stick to radiating, that's where the science is, reduction is just like just treat the symptom. Treat the symptom, fingers crossed, that's going to help you out in the future. There's no wide world view and there's no consideration of where that person's immune system is going to be in 10 years time, which is something that a practitioner should absolutely be responsible for and shouldn't get paid really, unless he has the ability to get that person out of their illness and get that person well. Because maybe that would get them off their ass, get them off their affluent ass, and get them going and studying various techniques and elements.


I'm not saying that ours is better. I think it's exactly the same with holistic practitioners getting in and drawing from modern medicine and becoming more integrated and learning that, yeah, if you want to get your paycheck, you got to better make sure that that person's personal family culture over the next five years is absolutely rocking and then they're empowered and that you have the knowledge and the ability to simply communicate with that person how they will stay healthy over time.


Because especially in the west, it's such an independent kind of state. Everyone's independent in their own place, it's hard for a practitioner to take responsibility for someone else's sovereignty and what they will or won't do that. But hey, when you step out of your own from under the banner of an institution, I get it, if you're working in a modern medical institution, you are a doctor, it's hard for you to have your own say, you need to tow that company line. But at the same time, when you step into your own sovereignty as a practitioner a little bit more and you start drawing on more of that philosophy of like, yeah, I need to make sure that ongoingly this person has health and maybe that's getting relationships with natural paths, with tonic herbalists, with yoga teachers, and not just going, oh, yeah, go and see this someone. Refer you to this person, refer you to this person.


Really create some kind of support or like a funnel. It might not work every time, but create a funnel for that person to go and really discover how they are going to take control of their own health in simple terminology. How we are going to take care of our own health. What I'm talking about here, that's like that type of practitioner, that's the type of practitioner that I'm aspiring to be and that many of my mentors are, and that many people emerging in the world are. And it's worth acknowledging that integrated approach is occurring, and it's important to acknowledge that we can all do better at the same time.


And so that's ... Then in the 50s, right? And so we've kind of gone on that journey. Let me have a little sip of my neural nectar. I think it's just like turning on. And then in the 50s, and you see the Mao dynasty and you see a bit of a red washing, the commodification of TCM going up. Tiny talked about this a lot. I kind of like learned this from Tiny. She went down that rabbit hole in the 50s when that red wash came through.


You see that real stamping out, that final stamping out of more of the Daoists Shamanic arts, that aspect of medicine, and it gets heavily ... the medicine becomes heavily commodified. You can sell it to the West, you can churn out practitioners really quick at which means yeah, you're going to have more Chinese medicine doctors out there, but they're going to be more two minute noodle, non-experienced, they've got the theory, not the actual, the perception of how the elements work within a body, what the actual personality of an organ is, how to psychologically analyze someone in correlation with their tongue and pulse diagnosis with real investment, real feeling and investment. The only kind of like that, that feeling you get when you watch someone for so long, a mentor for so long really loving his patients, and really being invested in his patients, and really working with them.


You need to experience that over time for that to get into your own veins and for you to realize that we're not mucking around here. It isn't good enough for me just to toe the company line and churn this person in and out. Right? There's none. Like that that minimizes. So tonic herbalism and the concepts of sourcing cosmic tonic herbs or referring to herbs been grown deed out, that goes.


And actually in 400 AD, is when you start seeing what the practitioners were doing is they're like, well, let's just grow the herbs next to the hospital, which is a good idea, right? I like this idea of growing our herbs close to us or having a little herbal medicinal garden for like real quick, like get that living plant next to us in and around us, that's beautiful. But in terms of treatment, what Shennong and other Daoist herbalists like the ancient, the godfathers and godmothers of this tradition were doing was in these materia Medicas, they we're laying down what the concept of Dì Dào (地道) was. And so Dì Dào (地道), some of you have heard me talk about it, some of you haven't but Dì Dào (地道), Di means land. And so like to say earth in Mandarin is Diqiu. And Qiu is bowl, it's like land bowl.


And so Di is land and Dao is Dao the one. And so Dì Dào (地道) literally means land Dao. So what it means in its essence, is it's the original place of the herbs, right? So Dì Dào (地道) is the concept of growing herbs from their spiritual homeland, their preferred place to be growing. And it was laid down by Shennong, where you source herbs Dì Dào (地道). And then you have many other herbalists also giving their two cents. And you see in the ancient texts of herbalism, correlations between for Reishi, this province, for Chaga, this province. Chaga is a little bit not as much in the Pharmacopeia and so you don't see it referred to as much.


But for Eucommia, for He shou Wu, for Astragalus, for Schizandra, for Ginseng, there's these correlations of where to grow them in the sense that spiritually that herb, the energetics of that herb and the archetype of that herb, which is to grow here. For Schisandra, Changbai mountain that province, in order for the maximum energetics, personality, nutrient density. Literal capacity for that herb to tone your Jing, Chi, Shen, your essence, your vitality, your spirit, which is the intention of tonic herbalism. The longevity of those aspects of ourselves for us and our families.


The atmospheric energy and pressure and altitude in which those herbs want to grow, like to grow, and where to grow it to get the most potency. As well as where it is needing to grow, to pull in as much cosmic data star dust so that it can pass over those patterns longterm to our metabolic rhythm and the way that chi moves through our Meridians. These are all things that are not just like a little la di da side note in tonic herbalism, this is within the rich tapestry, within the foundations, these considerations which you see that been absolutely washed out in the 50s as TCM starts to get more commodified and now you see the resurgence of this type of herbalism, this type of tonic herbalism.


And so Dì Dào (地道) has been over the years researched by modern sciences at the same time where they will take Reishi from different places and they will find this is where it has been requested to grow, Dì Dào (地道), and these are the techniques and those techniques have been built upon over time. How you are going to grow that herb to ensure that it has the maximum potency. And so again, keeping it as close to nature as possible. So you're either foraging at wild. That's really true Dì Dào (地道) from like Schizandra from Changbai mountain, that's wild, that's on Dì Dào (地道) wild herb.


Then if you need to be farming it, which happens around six, seven, hundred, 800 years ago, you start really seeing the emergence of the industry of wild-crafting, semi wild-crafting, a place for these herbs to grow in a way that you are going to be able to make enough for the people. Because of what happened like those many hundreds of years ago, six, 800 years ago, is you start seeing the people through China really pushing for them to have access to these herbs and for them not to be held by that cast, that upper caste, the emperor, the emperor's concubines, emperor family, emperor's court, high society. The herbs were generally kept in store because that were rare for those folks.


And then you see that push all those hundreds of years ago, the people really getting access to those herbs and then developing practices for farming them in a way that they are dripping in their spiritual intention and their potency in the body. And that's one of the reasons I source here because here they get it, they get it. That's like when I met Ron Teeguarden years ago, five years ago, he was like one of my mentors and brought tonic herbalism to the west. I met him over in LA and I was talking to him about the fact that I've got this company, it's starting to grow and I really want to keep on sourcing from these deep rich places within China.


There's like general advice or worry here and there that maybe I should just get like US organic or maybe I should be getting more controlled facilities. And I wasn't ever going to do it. I was just wanting these advice, two cents, what would you do? And he was like, you get it. You get it. He's like, "There with these Chinese tonic herbs and with these particular medicinal mushrooms, they're in China, they have roots, they have their roots, their ancestral roots within this herbalism. They revere it, they hold sacred that flame." And the flame has been held kind of somewhat dwindling, it's just had to be like really kinda kept it hidden so it stays alive and now it's really resurging. And he was like, "You get it, you keep on going hard on that." And he really bolstered me on it.


And so that was a really defining moment for me and I did go hard because I was there's something about it. There's something about getting the tissue as Hi shou Wu, Astragalus, Reishi grown in particular ways in particular places, that when I tried other types, when I tried medicinal mushrooms sourced ... and let's go back a little bit before I go into that farming techniques that needed to happen because the wild harvesting wasn't enough to satiate the demand for say something like Reishi, even back then. And so you need to develop techniques to help create more of a crop while the understanding being present. You see the understanding and the mindset isn't about let's make as much money as possible, the mindset is like let's create herbs with maximum energetic potency, for the people that want them, but let's not lose the essence. And that's the way I like to still farm herbs.


I don't want to go too far into this conversation, but you see this correlation between growing mushrooms in this sense, in this way, Dì Dào (地道) and all those techniques have developed over those hundreds of years and are still developing. How do we keep this as close to the wild as possible so that as you get maximum energetic, maximum adaptogenic potency, while still satiating the demand. And it's a very hard process to go Dì Dào (地道).


Now, someone who's sourcing in that way say like Ron Teeguarden and what I aspire to do, the intention is that kind of that lineage of that practitioner that is well rounded and has that tonic herbal philosophy in his veins and is making decisions on from like Earth first and then herbs first. Making sure that you're interacting with the spirit and the personality of those herbs.


I remember when I first sampled herbs that were like the ultimate Dì Dào (地道), I felt it. I could feel the energetics in my body. I could feel the spirit in my body. And I went, "That's the one." I'd tried organic grain grown in the U.S. I'd tried organic ... I've since tried organic grown in Australia on grain. I've tried herbs grown in labs on wood still but away from wild environments. So not only are they not Dì Dào (地道) but they're not getting access to the elements, they're not getting access to the weather. So they just aren't as potent. So basically I tried them and I was just like, "Man, it makes so much sense to be going to something like easy and lab grown and like on grain at the time." I immediately knew that that was not the way to go.


I actually just I still just think it's such a ridiculous way and it's going to click for people at some point that you are feeding that mushroom something in which it isn't its natural diet. You're feeding it rice, oats and you are going to be getting false markers of Beta glucans. People might go, "Have this medicinal mushroom, it's got 30 percent polysaccharides and that's what's amazing for your immune system." But it was maybe grown on grain and what type of polysaccharide? Majority of that 30 percent or an element of that 30 percent is going to be made up from the starch within that growing medium. It's not going to actually be the Beta glucans that the mushroom develops through living off that type of food would that it enjoys growing on.


So I really do not agree with that style of sourcing that's emerging. I'm going to keep on hitting it, hitting it, hitting it, hitting it again and again and again because some people are getting like ... I don't get this personally, but ... and I thought this was been exaggerated, but it's not, I've had talked to enough people over the years now get on these grain grown mushrooms and if they're sensitive, they're really sensitive, and if they're very sensitive to grains or they've got some constitutional weakness that they're overcoming, the allergic reaction really flares up. And it can be ... it's just like that it just goes to show that that's not an ideal way of growing herbs.


And so basically what I've discerned is you see folks who opt for growing in labs, growing mushrooms on grain or opt for just the organic option of growing herbs maybe indoors or in a farm close to the processing facility, they're going to be generally leading with one or two things, reductionist, scientific mindset. It's like, it doesn't matter, compounds there, it doesn't matter what you kind of grow on, we do the testing, and these compounds are there and these compounds aren't there. Not consideration of the depth of that thing you feel when you take like a real Dì Dào (地道) herb and you go, "Oh, hang on, there's something different in that." They don't get that. They don't have the perception of that necessarily or that's not leading. Maybe they do, but they're not leading with that in terms of creating a crop for the people.


At the same time, on the other side of that fence is someone who's business minded, who is thinking of scalability. Because there's something in the way that when you're sourcing Dì Dào (地道), the way I like to source is you have to be aware of ... It's harder to farm this way and there's a glass ceiling on it. Like where I went like to harvest Chaga, it's completely wild Chaga.


I have to consistently consider, consider, consider the glass ceiling at that point. And I'm getting clearer and clearer and clearer on it. We're not close to it, but when that stops becoming sustainable. So in the instance of Chaga mushroom on Changbai mountain, that herb and that crop is completely wild through. And so I'm going to start talking about the practices. I'm gonna start talking about Dì Dào (地道) now as I go along, but just like let's bear with me, let's go into it, let's get into this magic a little bit and see like what Dì Dào (地道) is and how that actually looks in a practical sense.


So that wild-crafting of Chaga because the practice of cultivating Chaga isn't present yet, but people are working on it. And there's an open area, a national park in Changbai mountain that opens up in the spring and summer and people can go in and harvest Chaga. But you need to trek in pretty deep into the land, there's a lot of snakes and a lot of elements that deter a lot of people. So it's only particular folks that go in. And it's not a big business, it's individuals that go in and we'll harvest that Chaga. And the Guy I met, Mr Sung, I went in up Changbai mountain with him. He had been doing it for 20 years. He had an understanding of the ecosystem of the Birch, and the oak and the land.


And had an understanding of like these are the signs of a healthy ecosystem up here. And there's many people that do have that. But the concern is as the demand rises in the West, you're going to start seeing more and more people go in there. Now, why it's not a problem right now, right away is because as I was saying, there's a lot of factors deterring people from trekking deep into Changbai mountain. There's no road access, and you need to be able to wave your way along the land. You need to be actually be tapped into the mushrooms because you're going in and finding them in the wild and then making sure you're harvesting in a way that doesn't deplete that mushroom's capacity to regrow. It's an ancient art.


But at the same time I've talked about what happens when you do get more people going out here, they'll figure out a way because there's economic drivers, business people always find a way, two minute noodle entrepreneurs always find a way to go in and help out to fatten their wallet. And so what is happening now is just the same way that in autumn time on Changbai mountain, they closed down access to the national park because too many people were going in and collecting the pine nuts because pine Birch and oak forest there. Because pine nuts are so expensive and people were going in and harvesting them and there weren't enough for the animals. And so they closed down access completely all of autumn for people to get into that place.


And so there is intervention. And so there's already talk around licenses been provided to people in the next maybe three to five years where you get a license to go and harvest Chaga and there's only certain amount available to ensure that the environment doesn't get depleted, which is beautiful.


So sorry guys, coffee just went down the wrong way. And so that style of sourcing requires you to be consistently engaged. That with a business drive and sole intention. And not to say that a business mindset and intention can't have really beautiful and noble intentions at the same time while doing this, but what that's going to lead to with a business mindset is like it doesn't make economic sense to choose a source where you have to be that involved, where you have to have your finger on the pulse that much because it's values and philosophy that drive you first, for us, the philosophy that Earth comes first driving you. And so you need to consistently be real and engaged and engage with the process. That doesn't make sense economically. That's taking attention and resources away from going and marketing yourself and scrapping over market share and at the same time opting for something like where we source our lion's mane up in Heilongjiang Province.


It's an open operation. It's an outdoor operation in a place that is far away from the processing plant because in the text, in the ancient texts, that is where you grow your lion's mane to get the maximum potency. And you grow it out there in a place where it's rural and you open up ... it has a little canopy over the growing space to ensure that you're creating a dark, wet growing environment. This is our lion's Mane. And that wall is all straw, right? So it's all straw with like a little light mesh on the outside. But what they do is they are getting spring water, so not municipal water, which would be the easy thing to do. You get spring water and you put spring water on the straw. You don't actually grow it on the mushroom ... you don't put the water on the mushroom itself. And that creates the damp environment. Right?


And so the lion's mane are grown in bags. Those bags are internally ... this is why it can't be organic because what you're using in there is wild oak tree chips; wood chips, not grain. And those oak trees are at least 10 years old. And I've been talking about that process of how the oaks are harvested and there is a sustainable, very knowing industry around regenerating at the exact same time that you're taking. And so I'm going to get to know that more and more and more that process, but this is where the oak is coming from.


And that's why it's not organic because that oak wasn't confinely created on a farm, it's a wild oak. And so that can't be controlled, it can't be organic therefore. And I don't want organic if I have to like detour from ... if I have to go away from that philosophy of like as much wild energy as possible and using that kind of intention. When I have to give this to people who are ... I'm giving this to my mom, that's why I got lion's mane in the first place because after my mom had an aneurysm, I wanted her on that to prevent anything from happening again and making sure her healing was incredible.


And there were thousands of people in similar positions or just like students who need their brains to be on, myself, my family that need these things to work and be as potent as possible. And I'm not just looking at chemically getting that person a hit so that they enjoy, they get some gains out of that lion's mane because they're into bio-hacking or just gets them through their studies. I've got that Daoist longterm mindset that we want this lion's mane in that person's diet or any tonic herbs in general in that person's diet long term. And what we're hoping over years and decades is that's going to nourish the whole brain stem nervous system, gray matter, white matter, and help prevent anything from happening as much as possible and help potentiate that person; get that person to optimal, so that life is just absolutely awesome.


And therefore that's why I source Dì Dào (地道) and we use that style of semi wild crafting farming for lion's mane and the other herbs that gets as close to that wilderness as possible. And so that lion's mane is growing in bags, partnering, the lion's mane like in the wild. Lion's mane is going to be growing in pairs. And the farmer there, who's been doing it for a long time as well, was telling me that when you go out into the wild and he goes out into the wild every year to collect new wild spores, to find lion's mane, he was like very adamant that there's not enough lion's mane in the wild anymore. It's getting rarer, and so that's not a sustainable wild harvesting industry. But he goes out and finds the spores because he doesn't want to just keep on using solely pores from the crop, although he uses them as well.


He selects like what was the strongest mushroom, the most robust mushroom, that one that is just dripping in potentiation, we'll use that. But he also wants to keep the wild spores in circulation so that it stays connected to its wild roots. But in wild, you go and source Lion's mane it's going to be, you see one, you know there's gonna be another nearby. So it's companion growing. And so the positioning of the bags when there's growing, he's companion growing them. So they're looking at looking at each other. And they've got back to back as well. And so it looks like it just makes sense in terms of growing them that way. But he's like, "Nah, they like looking at each other." And so they're especially more like bang, we pair them up. And so that kind of intention, that's what's going into creating Dì Dào (地道) product like that lion's mane, like that Chaga that I was talking about.


And so I'm getting completely ... I'm like absolutely nerding out on it over here because it's hard to communicate at times that the amount of times I've had people tell me to go organic because dude, people will not understand China. People will write you off, people will say, "China, no way." And they will write you off. And I'm like, "Yeah, but I need to sleep at night. I need to take these herbs." And so people don't get that, and so people will tell me, "Go organic, go organic, get that little sticker, so you can put that on your product and you can sell more product." And I say, "Yeah, cool. No thanks. I'm not going to go down that route. I'm going to go down the route of sticking to my values and sourcing Dì Dào (地道) and being finger on the pulse involved in the farming process, involved in the growing process, understanding it ongoingly for the life of the company."


That flies in the face of getting down, compromising the values, getting more into like what's a scalable business that I'm going to be able to sell? All right, because of that, I'm going to grow on grain. It's easy. There's a lot of grain grown mushrooms coming out of Australia right now. And I like the fact that we're growing lion's mane in Australia. I like going and sourcing the lion's Mane here and there from Australia and frying it up a little bit. But growing on grain, for me, it's just a no, no. Okay. So I won't be partaking in that. I've bought my own bags of a cereal like rice and oats and grain and then it's got the domesticated mushroom plug, you don't know what the source of that that mushroom is. It's probably not going to be a wild herb.


And then you spray water directly onto that mushroom. You're not like ... the way that we were putting just water, just that spring water on the canopy of our lion's mane growing facility, and so that there's water in the atmosphere so that the mushroom and the spore needs to come out and meet the atmosphere. It gets pulled out, it needs to work for it. You don't spray it on the bag directly.


And so what you have to do with those bags, those plastic bags full of grain with that commercialized spore inside of it, you're spraying the water right on there, so you're getting an inferior product in that sense. And then you've got the fact that you grew it on grain. And so that's a big no, no for me, even though it does make sense as a business to go down that route, go down that route where you're controlling the process heavily. And when you control the process heavily in you're using organic fertilizers, you're not using say soil from the wild forest of Changbai mountain like is the way with Schizandra berry, you're not letting nature in on the process, you closing the doors of the lab in order to get organic certification.


Unlike with other process, like with the lion's mane, it's wide open, it's like their wind, let it let it come in. You're in a rural environments, a pristine environment. I've been taking my Geiger counter around testing the radiation in these areas, coming up with beautiful results, super clean. And we test, we make sure we still test the crop and the herb in China and in Australia, heavy metals, microbes, pesticides, every one of our products is absolute zero pesticides and also testing aflatoxins. And what the ... our better than industry results for all of those things like better than what the TGA requires from you that we're getting, especially with the aflatoxins and microbes or especially aflatoxins, is you see that we are putting care into how we are drying the herbs.


And so in the lion's mane sense, we drive for two to three days in the sun, make sure that it's nice and dry and makes sure it's had that natural drying process where it's been able to interact with the sun. This is Dì Dào (地道), that's why you're getting a superior product. But then doing a very light dehydrating at the end to make sure all moisture is gone. So you ensure that you're not going to get the growing of mold right in the process where you take that herb and you take it to the facility and you process it in that facility. So this is like the intricacy and care that we're going to.


And so this makes it a less scalable business and so if you're in a highly scientific reductionist mindset, medicinal mushrooms are good for this and good for that and not so much in the like cool, we want to see like this medicinal mushroom in someone's diet longterm, like that's why I don't do capsules; that's highly scientific. Take this pill, take this Chaga and it does this in the body and it doesn't have longevity. You don't actually wave it into the romance of your personal culture and therefore it's not gonna be very useful to my intention to see a dramatic reduction of degenerative disease in our culture and a flourishing of sovereign health and longevity as much as possible. That's my intention.


So you're not gonna get that with that scientific mindset as much as well as that business mindset that goes, cool, let's go in a very scalable business. Let's grow in labs, let's grow on grain, and then as the market share grows, we're just going to be able to just pop more labs on there. It doesn't matter that it's an inferior product, there's marketing ways we're going to be able to justify that it's not, that it is actually amazing. And so that's that other approach.


And so I prefer what we've been talking about is what was being spoken about by Shennong in 200 BC, what's been spoken about through by herbal men and women and Shamans that get it, that they're completely invested in the long term health, not just getting that person's symptom down or not just say in the world at the moment or in the market at the moment, just getting people on mushrooms and getting them feeling like an energy hit or feeling like they're on trend, but making sure that you're sourcing herbs in a way that that mushroom is approachable and grown Dì Dào (地道) full of the energetic. So over the years that that person brings their intention to create a healthy life for themselves and their families. That it meets those herbs and then there can be a nice ongoing relationship. Real preventative health relationship. One that's just not reacting to symptoms, not reacting to trends and fads and that's where I'm really liking coming from when it comes to this style of herbalism. And that's Dì Dào (地道) guys.


And I might just comment on the Schizandra farm that we went to. And so by the way, you can go back and you can go into our Instagram and look at all these photos that are coming up of myself at these operations, meeting the farmers, taking you through videos. There's lots of video that's I'm putting out that is really showing you the ins and outs of something like the Schizandra farm and how we get that Dì Dào (地道) is you grow it on Changbai mountain in the rural environment, but then you see what the Schizandra, the forest, the pine forest, oak forest is just right up there hugging the orchard.


It's like it's in there. And the amount of weeds and mushrooms growing through the aisles and growing with the Schizandra, amount of Schizandra growing up and in through the pine trees, just absolute like such low and minimal fencing, really going off the back of hundreds of years of experience of how to grow these Herbs Dì Dào (地道) in their original place. Ensuring that you have to rely on organic fertilizers, not a drop of pesticide, and that's the thing that you realize when you're in this Schizandra farm and there's mushrooms growing old through the aisles and that there's weeds, beautiful weeds growing old through the aisles. It's an actual ecosystem that you're actually growing it within, not a lab, not in a scientific sense where we grow the Schizandra good in rows.


And not in like a right, let's just grow it organic and make sure we get the wild out a little bit more and just like ... and then intervene, humans intervene, intervene, the minimal ... This is this style of growing herbs minimal intervention by humans putting the earth first, minimal intervention, growing a crop to meet the demand of people that want to use a herb like Schizandra to build radiance from the inside out and ensure that they stay nice and healthy. That they get like that's an important herb with how amount of like liver disease and liver toxicity there in the world today. People want you to Schizandra in that diet. It's known as the beauty herb for many reasons, but especially because it gets into the liver and helps like scrub out that function and help that metabolic function through the liver so that the creative of the liver, the general, the warrior of the liver can actually govern the chi and where it goes in the body, the blood and where it goes in the body, which hormones need to be in and out. Schizandra is like rad for that.


So I need the spirit of that Schizandra to be like rocking in there because there's moms of four. There's like young women who have got like acne issues and like coming off the pill and these kinds of things. And then there's folks who were just like really got a strong intention for their health and longevity and they're taking these herbs and that's who I'm doing this for. And so I need it to be rad.


And so they're in this environment, that growing environment where all that stuff's present and not one pesticide used. And it tells and you can see, you can go and watch the videos that we've got up now on our social media and I'll get them up on our site soon as well. What you see is there it is, there's the weeds, there's the mushrooms, there's the crop of Schizandra. That doesn't happen if there's pesticides, right?


It's the same when I went to harvest where we get our ginseng rom, and we'll have ginseng available in the future. But we've got a relationship with this farm, we're harvesting, we're trekking until we find this Ginseng. Now, there's no one around. There's like, we're there on Changbai mountain and we have to trek up this big hill, the fence is this two bits of wire. And so this beautiful woman, she's taking us in, she's the head farmer, all family operations; not some big group or business that owns the farmers and that buys everything and bullies them and has like that mafia style of herbalism which 100 percent exists.


Buying directly from farmer, people who I'm like giving hugs to myself. Like I knew them before I got here. I knew like we said, we knew to an extent who was doing it, but it was whole different ballgame to meet their families and see their philosophies. Yeah, you get that glint in their eye. You get it, you get it. You're in love with this herb.


And so we trekked in. I'm eating wild Schizandra berries along the way going into where this ginseng is grown walking through wild horse tail groves, that beautiful bone strengthening grass, Turkey tails everywhere. Mushrooms growing everywhere. You get to this big canopy and then here in the autumn, it's not harvest time, more spring, summer that it's just covered in an oak leaves. And you can see the ginseng's popping up all over the place and he's like, "Oh, there's one. All right, let's get that eight year old ginseng." Leaves that. Let's dig in, dig in in very careful, careful, careful, careful, careful, and then bang, just earthworm just pops out. That's healthy soil. That's the environment you want to be growing your herbs.


And then then after that we collect the ginseng, the spring water there, go and clean up that Ginseng in the spring water comes straight off the mountain and then afterwards she's like, "We need to go up a little hut to give thanks to the mountain spirit." So thanks to the mountain spirit. And so sat there, went through our three bows, really feeling it, really feeling our thanks [inaudible 01:00:38] everything that makes it possible for us to have this Ginseng and also an acknowledgement that we are in a symbiotic relationship with the earth and with the herbs. Like really ensuring that those herbs are going to be available for future generations.


And so I really hope that you've got a, a real, a closer and more intimate understanding of the philosophy that's going into the sourcing of your herbs. Of where I personally like to sit in the intention when it comes to herbalism and why we are seeing a beautiful resurgence of tonic herbalism and more of this holistic nature of medicine and from more of that approach where we are arming ourselves with the wisdom and the knowledge for us to keep ourselves as healthy as possible and not have to rely on practitioners. And why really the practitioner's job should be able to take you from experiencing symptoms or disease, if you have it, all the way to getting you the knowledge for you to keep yourself healthy, to overcome those last few symptoms and then maintain practice and knowledge of how to keep yourself healthy over decades of time and ideally have those little bits and bobs in your [inaudible 01:01:55] and in your knowledge that allow for you to be the one keeping your family healthy at the same time.


And so big love to you everybody. Please. if you're listening to this in time, keep tuning in to Facebook and Instagram. On Instagram, I'm doing a lot of stories, showing you the farms, a lot of live videos, showing you the farms and I'm getting lots of footage on the website. Also, just make sure you're on the newsletter over at SuperFeast.com.au and you'll get sent those videos directly of me talking to you from Changbai mountain or, Heilongjiang province and all these beautiful places in which we source the herbs.


And so once again, big love everybody. I'm going to sign off. I'd really appreciate it if you went over to iTunes and left a review. It really helps us. Like it'll continue to make this podcast possible for me if you are enjoying it, going over and doing that for me; leaving a little rating and a review. That would be magical. So thanks so much. Enjoy your tonic herbs and I'm really hoping you guys are feeling connected to this herbal lineage.


Hey Everybody. Thank you so much for tuning in today. Now time to take that information round it into your lifestyle so you can amplify your health to the next level. You can really help amplify the health of this podcast by going onto iTunes and subscribing and leaving us a review. It really helps us spread this information around tonic herbs, around sovereign health further out there to the community so we can help more people experience the best out of this life. Thanks guys. I'll speak to you next time.

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