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Shen is one of the major Treasures of Taoism, translated as our Spirit or higher consciousness.
The SuperFeast SHEN blend contains herbs that have been traditionally used in Chinese medicine to strengthen our Shen while calming and soothing the mind and spirit.
The Shen herbs have traditionally been used in combination with mediation, energy cultivation, and spiritual enquiry to bring forth a loving nature, compassion, forgiveness, generosity, and acceptance as naturally expressed aspects of our being.
The SHEN blend is a formula of the most revered Shen herbs that are perfect for bringing a feeling of peace to the body while helping a levelling of mood and erratic emotions, all so we may calm the mind and further develop ourselves.
The herbs in the SHEN blend include:
Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi mushroom)
Albizia julibrissin (Albizia flower)
Asparagus cochinchinensis (Asparagus root)
Wolfiporia cocos (Spirit Poria)
Polygala tenuifolia (Polygala root)
Rehmannia glutinosa (prepared Rehamannia root)
Dimocarpus longan (Longan berry)
Pericarpium citri reticulatae (Aged citrus peel)
All herbs in this formula are sourced Dì Dào from herb-producing regions of China.
Sourcing herbs from their spiritual homeland is born from the Taoist philosophy Dì Dào.
Dì Dàopoetically translates as ‘the way of the Earth’ and shows us where to harvest herbs if we wish to experience the herb’s true Spirit. From its ‘original place’ or ‘spiritual homeland’, a method that results in a product that is both full spectrum and medicinally robust.
SHEN blend can sometimes cause lively dreams/nightmares, in the majority of people Shen herbs create a sense of calm and relaxation, however, some individuals do experience vivid dreaming and sleep disturbance when taking Shen tonics, particularly before bed. To reduce the likelihood of vivid dreaming/nightmares we suggest taking your Shen herbs in the AM and reducing your dose until you feel comfortable to continue to take them before bed.
What is Shen Essence?
Shen is the Third Treasure in the Taoist system of tonic herbalism. Shen, along with the other Treasures; Jing and Qi, lacks a direct translation in English but is roughly explained as one’s Spirit or higher consciousness. Shen can also be conceptualised as one’s personality, joie de vivre (joy of living) or soul.
Shen is expressed through the higher part of ourselves that sees life, and the situations and challenges we encounter, from a birds-eye view. Shen energy allows us to go beyond reactivity into a space where we can gain an understanding of our lives beyond the physically identified ego and the realm of right/wrong, good/bad. Allowing us to remember who we are, not only as spiritual beings but as physical beings too.
The Heart is the home of our Shen (Spirit) energy. One of the Heart’s primary roles is to protect the Spirit/Shen. If the Heart is a calm and comfortable place for Shen to inhabit, then we will be calm, and content and have the potential to develop our higher consciousness through our daily activities, gaining wisdom as we go.
Maintaining Heart Fire Flow: Why it is important for balanced Shen
The Heart Fire regulates the activeness (Yang) and quietness (Yin) of a person. In harmony (which means the Shen can be adaptively expressed), the Heart Fire allows a person to be serene and poised while also being driven in their aspirations.
A good way to identify whether the Heart Fire is balanced and in sync with the world around us is our ability to rise with the sun, be active through the day, and retire to rest deeply at night. When there is a disturbance in the Heart Fire (and hence a lack of Spirit/Shen being expressed), disharmonies in one’s ability to be restful and/or active will become evident. If this state of disharmony becomes chronic, the body will lack the ability to embody Shen energy.
What does a Shen disturbance/deficiency look like?
In Taoist philosophy, there is an inextricable connection between the Heart and the mind. As an instrument of the Heart, the mind acts as a means through which our Shen, soul or true personality can anchor and channel.
The mind will be clear, crisp and quiet when the body is balanced, in this state we are more able to receive a steady stream of Heavenly Shen energy. When the body is out of balance, Shen flow is interrupted and the mind loses its purpose, becoming erratic, polarising and chatty. In the West, we call this state “the monkey mind”. When one is prone to anxiousness, depression or erratic emotions, the Taoists will look firstly at the person’s Shen.
Shen herbs work primarily through the Heart meridian system to keep this cycle of Qi flowing smoothly. The Heart controls the rhythm and circulation of Blood throughout the body, delivering life, nourishment and Spirit to every cell (Blood follows Qi remember).
We use the SHEN formula primarily to help release emotional disturbance, and mental chatter so we can move through our days, months and years, with a calm mind and joyful spirit, rising above the obstacles of our lived experience to gain wisdom and character.
The SHEN blend can be of great assistance when you are working to:
- Deepen your meditative practices
- Cultivate a calm and quiet mind
- Steady your emotions
- Harmonise mental disturbances. Shen herbs can help bring the Spirit back into the body. Depression, anxiousness and states of panic or despondency can suggest that there is a Heart Fire/Shen disharmony. Shen herbs will not come in as an absolute treatment, but rather as a nice support, along with professional care.
- Increase overall joyfulness and sparkle. Shen herbs can be used to cultivate a feeling of buoyancy when you’re feeling lifeless and dull.
- Take the next step in your tonic herb journey, after replenishing your Kidney Essence/Jing
Shen herbs pair well with
In the context of health optimisation and the Taoist tradition, tonic herbs are not directly used to treat or clear individual symptoms, but rather to create harmony within the system as a whole. To further utilise the medicinal magic of the herbs in the SHEN blend, pair its use with the following:
- Yogic practices
- Qi Gong
- Psychological development
- Tantric or Taoist sexual practices (or when bringing greater love and consciousness to your sex life in general).
- Emotional release
- Experiencing monkey mind
- Work to alleviate anxiousness
- Mental stress reduction practices
- Spirit work
- Work with master plants/plant medicine.
Tonification / Treasures
In ancient Taoist medicine, tonic herbs and medicinal mushrooms were used to nourish and tonify specific systems within the body. These systems correlate with the natural elements, and their direct effect can be classified as either Major or Minor.
Major - Heart Fire
Minor - Liver Wood, Spleen Earth & Lung Metal
When there is harmony between the body systems and elements, we cultivate the expression of health known as our Treasures.
Major - Shen
Minor - Blood
Time of day
Whatever feels best for you.
SHEN blend can be taken at any time of the day, however, it is important to note that SHEN is not a sleep formula. Some people experience a beautiful and deep sleep using SHEN before bed, however, others may experience vivid dreaming, and lay awake despite feeling tranquil and calm. If you find your dreams are becoming so active that your sleep is affected, simply eat more grounding food, ensure your movement practice is physical and connects you with your body, and lower your dose if you feel it necessary.
Generally, we recommend taking the herbs daily in small doses, to begin with. This allows you to develop an understanding and acknowledgment of how the herbs are unfolding their medicinal magic for you. Follow the dosage instructions on the package, or start with 1/8 - 1/2 teaspoon per day, adjusting the dose if you feel it necessary within your unique body system.
Doses can be taken as high as two teaspoons per day, however, most people find their sweet spot with 1/2 to one teaspoon per product, per day. We call this sweet spot your "lifestyle dose". We don't recommend taking more than two tablespoons of herbs a day. These extracts are potent, and you want to take care not to overload the body with too much of a good thing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I take SHEN whilst pregnant?
Tonic herbs are generally warming, building, and nourishing. In the context of health optimisation and the Taoist tradition, tonic herbs are not directly used to treat individual symptoms, but instead to create harmony and strength within the system as a whole.
In this regard, we generally recommend our Reishi and Eucommia Bark during pregnancy as there is quite a lot of empirical use of these herbs in pregnancy in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Taoist Tonic Herbalism.
To learn more about the tonic herbs best to take during pregnancy, read this article.
As pregnancy is a very individual journey, we recommend checking in with your healthcare provider when starting on any new herbs or supplements as they will have a more comprehensive scope of your medical history.
As pregnancy is a very individual journey, we recommend checking in with your health care provider when starting on any new herbs or supplements as they will have a more comprehensive scope of your medical history.
Can I take SHEN while breastfeeding?
Yes, our SHEN blend is safe to use whilst breastfeeding.
We always suggest introducing new herbs slowly and in low doses, this allows the body to adjust and benefits to unfold at a pace relevant to your individual system.
Calm Mind, Joyful Spirt: The SHEN Blend with Mason & Tahnee (EP#91)
Mason and Tahnee introduce us to Shen, the Third Treasure of the Daoist system. Mason and Tahnee reveal our new SuperFeast baby - the SHEN blend, journeying through the herbs present in the formula and the actions and virtues they afford us when we work in harmony with them.