These are really exciting considerations/questions and shows that your tonic herbal journey is unfolding. Tune into this video below to gain insight to this transition period, and why focusing on building your Qi (chi) may be the next step in your journey.
Quite often when people enter into this realm of Taoist tonic herbs what they're going to gravitate towards first are the Jing herbs.
As many of you know we have Three Treasures in the body, Jing, Qi and Shen. Herbs can tonify and augment these treasures, ensuring that they are in harmony together. Herbs that are doing that, nourishing the Jing, nourishing the Qi, nourishing the Shen, that is what elevates a herb from an Inferior herb to a Superior or tonic herb, that became famous and revered among the Taoist.
In our western society, what is often happening is people are living excessively and people are leaking their Jing. How do you do that? You do that with not eating well. You do that through specific lifestyle factors, like not sleeping, drinking too much alcohol, basically living a life of lethargy. These are the things that are going to go in and eventually tax your adrenals and it's going to deplete your Jing. You know everyone relates when:
It's because most people in the west are leaking their Jing, and sacrificing their Jing for something else, (probably a societal or an industrial agenda), that's where people enter and start their tonic herbal journey; they enter in with Jing herbs. And so they will begin to take these Jing herbs like cordyceps, eucommia bark, rehmannia, he shou wu, and goji, and they begin that process of building back that Jing energy, by working with these Jing herbs.
As you work with Jing herbs over time, a couple of things could occur. The Jing herbs can get in there and do their tonifying and their fortifying of the Kidneys which is the home of Jing energy. The herbs can also get in there and really nourish the other four primary organs that house and store Jing as well. At that point, those Jing herbs can work to restore that foundation. When you restore that foundation, you become less susceptible to fatigue and physical stress.
Next, there's lifestyle. You can really learn with that extra breathing room that you've got through building back your Jing energy. If you are able to go and make further lifestyle alterations and you're pairing lifestyle-wise, a really nourishing diet, sleeping well, reasonable exercise, a sustainable amount of sexual practice, all these kinds of things, what you're going to realise is, that the Jing herbs weren't necessarily giving you something but you were restoring an endogenous, primordial energy. You are no longer leaking that energy. So you have those foundations.
What often happens is people go, "Hang on. These Jing herbs aren't giving me that hit that I'm used to. They're not working the same way that they used to." Now that's a time for celebration. That's not "oh the herbs aren't working," that's like you've gone through the process of restoring what was extremely deficient and you've also restored a lifestyle which is no longer leading you down that route of physical degeneration and deterioration because you're actually going to have that physical foundation to stop that from happening.
What happens at that point is you've had your primary herbal focus being on Jing herbs and what we need to alter at that point, is that primary focus. Sometimes people get a little bit worried that "...if I stop taking the Jing am I going to regress and just not have that energy anymore?" Generally, if you've gone to full completion and you can instinctively feel that it's time to move on to something else, then that's absolutely not going to be the case. The primary focus needs to move somewhere else.
So often people fall in love with the system, whether it's a diet or a particular herbal product that helps them restore their energy from a place that was seemingly injured or sick. Now it's very important to not let that happen with Jing herbs and alternate your primary focus. We're gonna talk about where that focus goes towards. But you know, be very grateful with those Jing herbs. They might not be the thing that you're taking all day, every day, but they will be a herb that you're gonna be able to maintain in your diet. So at this point, maybe you just want to start having Jing herbs two or three times a week and that intention is there. If you still have a lot of physical stress, those Jing herbs are there supporting your body, supporting that Kidney system so that it can shock absorb that stress and adapt around that and remain in equilibrium, and hopefully potentiating or you are going into more of that long-term Taoist thread.
If you have maintained those Jing herbs on top of a sustainable lifestyle, you are building back your Jing, you are building back your ability to have sexual vigour, libido, your ability to have strong sex hormones, your ability to have a nice strong skeletal system, the ability for your cells to reproduce, your ability for you to replenish flesh, and heal from wounds, and so on, and so forth, all those things associated with Jing.
But where does the focus go now? Now that you have replenished your Jing stores and feeling like your Jing herbs are not quite packing the same punch?
Quite often we're gonna go from that foundational treasure Jing (remember, we've got the Three Treasures, Jing, Qi, Shen) and we're gonna take that primary focus we had there and, most of the time, you're gonna see it flow into the treasure of Qi.
In order to have a nice strong spark in the machine, a nice strong flame, we need that foundation. We need, in that analogy of the candle, nice strong "Jingy" wax. Then the Qi flame can be really nice and strong.
We're looking at astragalus, codonopsis, white atractylodes, poria mushroom, and the medicinal mushrooms in general. These kind of Qi tonics are some suggestions to move your focus from Jing to Qi tonics (if you're no longer feeling that big bang from the Jing herbs). Excitingly, we now offer a signature QI blend, which is jam packed of these beautiful Qi herbs.
Now remembering that big, huge wave of energy you may have been feeling from our JING blend or whatever herb it is, if you feel it really impacts you and you're taking a reasonable dose, that's really good thing, but that's not really what we're looking for long-term. We want to ensure that our energy is balanced and harmonised enough so that our herbs that we're taking aren't really acting like a stimulant, where we are feeling them big time. We want to subtly feel them, but we don't want to feel those waves of being smashed with energy.
The Qi tonics are going to be working on your Lungs and your Spleen. The Qi energy that we're talking about especially that we're tonifying with the Qi tonics is that daily Qi, that Qi that we're harvesting through the fermentation of the food from a nice nourishing diet (that's appropriate to our constitution) and our ability to digest and also, then mixing that with the Qi that we're extracting from the air that we're breathing, hopefully nice deep breaths, nice strong Lungs.
That energy then fuses together and transmutes into our daily Qi that that goes in and nourishes our primary meridians, our primary organs. It becomes the Qi that courses through us and animates us, and animates us functionally. It sparks us. It's the spark in the machine! It's movement itself. It's thought process itself. It's the movement, the ability to move through emotions itself and move through time and space.
Also it's the very Yin, inner Qi, Qi that we're using on a daily level and then we're also sending it to be used as Wei Qi, surface Qi, protective Qi, Wei Qi. That's that Yang expression of that daily Qi. These Qi tonics, that's what they're working on. They're working on being the pre-cursor to building flesh and fluids, the pre-cursor to utilising that Qi in order to replenish our flesh and do that healing so that we're not needing to do what we were doing before when we were living unsustainably, were we are drawing on our Jing reserves.
We're literally using our daily Qi to function, heal, and operate, and animate.
So to wrap up, that's where you might wish to make that transition for your primary focus to be on Qi. It doesn't mean that when you're taking Jing herbs you can't take Qi herbs. It just means that your primary focus is going to be on those Jing herbs and then don't be afraid to make that transition when you instinctively feel it's time. Qi is definitely that treasure that is correlating to humans the most. You know, being that bridge between the Jing and the Shen, the earth and the heavens. And so that's why quite often Taoists would consistently use these primary Qi tonics like astragalus, so possibly that may be where you're at getting further into medicinal mushrooms, like the turkey tail, like the poria as well as those others, codonopsis, white atractylodes and astragalus. Seeing if this fits for you now that you've gone through that transmutation of your lifestyle where you're cultivating Jing, not leaking it and you're ready to experience what it's like to feel that subtlety of cultivating Qi.
Tracy Duhs is a modern wellness hydration expert who has devoted her life to helping people awaken their vitality and feel alive. Her education and healing work is underpinned by the belief that our cells have their own innate intelligence, and by removing the obstacles for healing, giving the body the building blocks for biogenesis, and allowing our cells to do what they know how to do, we can thrive in good health.