When it comes to charismatic healing gurus look no further than turmeric.  It’s not just a sunny bright spice to curry up dishes, it’s also commonly used in Ayurvedic and Unani medicine. Turmeric originates from the root of the Curcuma longa plant, which is a member of the ginger family and it’s one of nature’s most powerful healers and a true guru.

I know you will relate to this cleansing tea with its alkalizing and detoxifying properties which provide powerful anti-inflammatory action within your body. Turmeric is a superhero ingredient to help heal and prevent dry skin, slow aging, diminish wrinkles and improve skin’s elasticity.

Indian women use turmeric as a facial cleanser and exfoliant. If you are using fresh turmeric, handle with care as it stains easily. If you do happen to turn your favorite garment yellow try squeezing on lemon juice or eucalyptus to remove the stain.
So here’s to my number one health guru turmeric. Make it yours too!

Ingredients

  • 250 ml almond or walnut milk
  • 2 tsp ground tumeric
  • 1 tsp finely grated ginger
  • Coconut sugar/Stevia/Honey

Method

  1. Add the almond milk to small saucepan and heat gently until it reaches room temperature.
  2. Add the turmeric and ginger to a mug.
  3. Pour a small amount of warm milk into the mug and stir to create a liquid paste, ensuring there are no lumps.
  4. Add the remaining milk and sweeten with stevia.

Nothing can compare to the love Indonesians have for their crushed chili paste called Sambal. Sambal is a typical Indonesian condiment prepared with the main ingredient, chili, and other ingredients, such as salt and dried shrimp. The heat of Sambal may vary from sweet and spicy to extra hot. There are many different types of Sambal in every region in Indonesia. For example, Sambal Matah from Bali, Sambal Goang from West Java, Sambal Dabu-dabu from Sulawesi, and many more. However, there are also more creative and experimental Sambals that are just as amazing. Here are 28 kinds of Sambal found all over Indonesia, down below!

for Vegan they are all can be adapt please omit the non vegan ingredients ……………

# 1 Sambal Terasi Brambang Tomat
Sambal Terasi Brambang Tomat has a combination of spicy chili paste and fresh tomatoes, with the addition of distinctive shallot flavor.

# 2 Sambal Mangga Muda
Sambal Mangga Muda has unripe mango as its main ingredient, mixed with just the right amount of chili and other spices.

# 3 Sambal Tubruk
Tubruk means “crushed” in English. Sambal Tubruk contains red chili usually crushed by traditional cooking tool called Cowet.

# 4 Sambal Wader
Wader (spotted barb or common barb) is a very small kind of fish usually served deep fried. In Sambal Wader, the deep fried Waders are crushed and finely grinded with chili and shallot which gives it a deliciously savory flavor.

# 5 Sambal Jamur
Jamur means “mushroom” in English. This sambal is known for its juiciness, which comes from the mushrooms, and is very refreshingly spicy. It is very suitable to accompany your warm steamed white rice.

# 6 Sambal Cumi
Cumi or “calamari” gets mixed with crushed chili, and voila! There you have it, Sambal Cumi!

# 7 Sambal Udang Pedas
Udang, which means “shrimp” in English, gets mixed with crushed chili and other flavorful spices.

# 8 Sambal Terong
An extra-large Terong (Eggplant) is cooked and then mixed with crushed chili and shallot.

# 9 Sambal Gobal-gabul
Sambal Gobal-gabul surely has a unique name. This sambal was created by mixing 5 kinds of other sambals which are Sambal Teri, Sambal Bajak, Sambal Terasi Matang, Sambal Rampelo Ati and Sambal Gudangan.

# 10 Sambal Tomat
Fresh tomat (Tomato) is mixed with crushed chili, shallot and other delicious spices which bring out the refreshing spiciness with just the right amount of ‘oiliness’ .

# 11 Sambal Bajak
Sambal Bajak will deliver a very distinctive flavor because the crushed chili and shallot are sautéed with torn lime leaves and other spices.



# 12 Sambal Goreng Rampelo Ati
This sambal contains crushed chicken liver. It is cooked with chili paste, coconut milk and other flavorful spices.

# 13 Sambal Rampelo Ati
Sambal Rampelo Ati contains diced chicken liver, mixed mainly with crushed chili and shallot.

# 14 Sambal Kecap
Sambal Kecap is usually made of sweet black soy sauce, mixed with sliced cayenne pepper, sliced raw shallot, and maybe some diced tomato.

# 15 Sambal Goreng Brambang
The flavor character of this crushed chili paste is spicy, slightly salty, slightly sweet, savory, fresh, and with a pinch of sour lime.

# 16 Sambal Bawang Gobal-gabul
As unique as its name, the kind of this Sambal will leave you with the impression of a distinctive aroma of lime leaves.

# 17 Sambal Bawang Lombok Ijo
This sambal mainly contains green chili and shallot, hence ‘ijo’ in the name: ‘green’.

# 18 Sambal Bawang Tomat
Bawang merah, which means shallot in English, is one of the main ingredients of this Sambal. Besides this, there are also red chilis, crushed tomatoes, and other seasonings.

How your food is served at Warung SS (Special Sambal)

# 19 Sambal Bawang Goreng
Goreng can be directly translated to “fried” in English. Sambal Bawang Goreng mainly contains crushed red cayenne pepper and crushed shallot which are then fried or sautéed with the addition of other spices.

# 20 Sambal Bawang
Sambal Bawang is one of the most basic kinds of sambal which is usually used as a substitute for other sambal. It contains crushed red chili, shallot and other seasoning to taste.

# 21 Sambal Terasi Lombok Ijo
Terasi is made of dried tiny shrimps which are processed into paste. Terasi has a very distinctive savory flavor and very commonly used in Indonesian dishes. Sambal Terasi Lombok Ijo contains crushed green chili, terasi, usually shallot and other seasonings. Terasi needs to be fried before use, and gives a distinctive smell when you cook it…some would describe it as the smell of feces.

# 22 Sambal Terasi Tomat Segar
Sambal Terasi Tomat Segar has crushed red chili, terasi, and crushed fresh tomatoes which will make this Sambal a bit watery.

# 23 Sambal Terasi Matang
This sambal contains crushed red chili, shallot, the shrimp paste and other spices. It usually gets fried before being mashed.

# 24 Sambal Terasi Segar
The shrimp paste usually comes in the form of a solid cube. Before it gets mixed with other ingredients, the shrimp paste usually gets half-grilled by stove for about 30 seconds to add more flavor into it. In making Sambal Terasi Segar, the mix of red chili, shallot, terasi and other seasonings is not fried before getting grinded.

# 25 Sambal Tahu
Sambal Tahu contains tofu, and crushed red chili, shallot and other seasonings to add taste.

# 26 Sambal Tempe
Tempeh is definitely the highlight of this Sambal as it gets mixed with usually red chili, shallot and other flavorful spices.

# 27 Sambal Teri
Fried Teri or Anchovy fish gets mixed with red chili, shallot, and other spices to taste.

# 28 Sambal Belut
Belut or Eel fish in English, gets deep fried, crushed and mixed with grinded red chili, shallot and other spices. This sambal tastes spicy, slightly salty and deliciously savory.

Sambals are best eaten as the dip sauce of the protein on your plate. Start with ayam goreng (fried chicken), ikan bakar (grilled fish), or even with tahu and tempe goreng (fried tofu or tempeh). As you dive into your plate, usually the protein gets accompanied with steamed white rice and sautéed vegetables as a side dish.

Is your mouth watering after reading all those kinds of Sambal above? Why don’t you come to your nearest Warung Special Sambal in Indonesia? You can not only find one or two kinds of sambal there, but also all 28 kinds of Sambal mentioned above! Warung Special Sambal has poured tons of imagination into creating all these kinds of Sambal, so what are you waiting for?!

In the small village of Demulih, a group of devotees in a Hindu temple eagerly await the arrival of Ida Resi Alit, the youngest high priestess of the Indonesian island of Bali, who conducts the purification ceremony.

Around 20 women – most of them dressed in sarongs (a fabric wrapped round the waist) and kebayas (traditional Javanese blouse) – and one man meditate before a water ritual carries away bad energies, negative thoughts and past problems, making room for the new.

Ida Resi, 31, pours water on the visitors with a metal container while reciting mantras and instructing them to let go of the emotions inside, to express them and to breathe.

Melukat is a traditional blessing ceremony done in Bali and the purification with water is like taking a shower with which one cleanses the body and, at the same time, the soul, Ida Resi tells EFE inside the temple.

The priestess, who was ordained the high priestess by the Hindu organization, Parisada Hindu Dharma Indonesia, 10 years ago, explains that she performs the ceremony every day, usually with groups of 20-50 people.

The ceremony is free but visitors can make donations of any amount.

Ida Resi’s fame – she has been invited to events such as the World Economic Forum on East Asia 2015 and the New Earth Festival 2017, held in Jakarta and Bali respectively – arises not so much from her post but more owing to the peculiarity of her case.

Greek engineer Maria Kellis, who holds a PhD in mysticism and spiritual healing, and who is writing a book on Ida Resi’s life, tells EFE that the post of a high priest is usually occupied by men, while their wives automatically become high priestesses and, therefore, it is very rare for a single woman to occupy the post.

After graduating from college, Ida Resi tried to find work on Bintan Island, a popular tourist destination for wealthy Singaporeans, but failed to do so and returned to Bali, suffering from depression.

Her grandfather, the village priest, initiated her into the practice of meditation and yoga.

Ida Resi explains that, one day, after having a near-death experience, she began reciting mantras without ever having studied them before, which caught the attention of the high priests.

She was named high priestess, despite being unmarried, on Mar. 14, 2007, the day she turned 21, making her the youngest women to hold the post – the average age to do so is between 60-70 years.

According to Kellis, Ida Resi is a model for Balinese women, who often suffer gender inequality and societal restrictions, and she serves to spark change in society from within.

Meanwhile, the youngest priestess of Bali, who seems quite unaffected by her fame among tourists nor concerned about money, says her mission is to build an ashram (meditation center), where she can share her wisdom with the rest of the world.

So Many guest ask me to teach or sale this to them it seem that Mr Turbot work
i learn in in Java the first time and then in Jakatar and Bali 3 different people i now understand the wellness behind it and it is that what i teach the most in classes Today
it take time and everything is done by hand old people seem to teach me not the same as younger generation it is today very popular with Indian and Asia but mostly with people who have health issue
Sukoharjo district of Central Java is famous for being the sales centers of Jamu. Many of Jamu merchant who sells Jamu in big cities such as Jakarta, Bandung, Bogor, and Surabaya are coming from Sukoharjo. With so many Jamu merchants in Sukoharjo, later the statue of a farmer and a”Jamu Gendong” merchant (a term for Jamu merchants who sell their Jamu by carrying their Jamu in their back) was as the identity of Sukoharjo and named “Gendong Jamu” in Bulakrejo
 
During the Hindu-Buddhist kingdom era in 722 AD, there are relief in Borobudur temple that describe the habit of making and drinking Jamu as a way to stay healthy. In fact, the discovery of Madhawapura inscription as the legacy of the Hindu kingdom of Majapahit state that there is a profession of “making herbal medicine” called Acaraki. These are a solid proof that Jamu has been around since years ago
 
 
The Benefits of Jamu
 
Every Jamu has their own benefits and mostly will have something to do with maintaining a good health. One Jamu can have more than one benefit to human health.
 
Jamu Beras Kencur can help you relax your muscles after a long day of work, as well as stopping your coughing when you catch a flu.
 
Jamu Cabe Puyang can help you relax your mucles, especially the waist area, as well as reducing fever.
 
Jamu Kudu Laos can help reduce the blood pressure, accelerate the blood circulation, warm the body, increase appetite, and refresh the body.
 
Jamu Kunyit can help refresh and warm the body and heal sprue.
 
Jamu Pahitan can help those who suffers from diabetes, get rid of body odor and reduce the cholesterol.
 
There are actually many more benefits from Jamu but most of it come from different merchants and sometimes it’s hard to tell which is really right. But overall, the consumption of Jamu under the watch of doctor is very healthy and helpful.

Avocados are originated in Puebla, Mexico. The oldest evidence of the avocado was found in a cave in Puebla, Mexico and dates back to around 10,000 BC.

Native to Mexico and Central America, the avocado is classified in the same family as camphor and cinnamon. An avocado is botanical, a large berry that grows on a tree that can reach 6 feet tall. Just like a banana, the avocado ripens 1-2 weeks after being picked.

Avocados are the healthiest food due to its impressive nutritional value.

An avocado contains these vitamins and minerals:

Vitamin B1
Vitamin B2
Vitamin B3
Vitamin B5
Vitamin B6
Vitamin B9
Vitamin C
Vitamin E
Vitamin K
Calcium
Iron
Magnesium
Manganese
Phosphorus
Sodium
Zinc

•Avocados contain more potassium than a banana. Avocados have 14% and a banana contains 10% potassium.

•Folate for your heart’s health. Avocados have 23% folate which lowers incidences of heart disease. Vitamin E, monounsaturated fats, and glutathione are good for the heart. Folate can lower the risks of having a stroke.

•Folate is also essential for the prevention of birth defects such as spina bifida and neural tube defect.

•Eating avocados helps our bodies absorb 5 times the amount of carotenoids (lycopene and beta-carotene).

•Eye Heath- Avocados contain more carotenoid lutein than any other fruit, protecting against macular degeneration and cataracts.

•High in beta-sitosterol, avocados lower bad cholesterol by 22%, raises good cholesterol by 11% and also lowers blood triglycerides by 20%.

•Studies show high oleic acid prevents breast cancer, inhibits tumor growth in prostate cancer and seeks out pre-cancerous and oral cancer cells and destroys them.

•Avocados are high in fiber and will help you feel fuller longer, potentially helping with weight loss. High fiber helps metabolic health and steadies blood sugar.

•Avocado extract paired with a carrier oil can reduce the symptoms of arthritis.

•Pholyphenols and flavonoids within avocados have anti-inflammatory properties.

•Avocados cleanse the intestines, relieving bad breath.

•Avocado oil greatly nourishes the skin and is a beneficial treatment for psoriasis and other skin irritations.

•Avocados contain an antioxidant called glutathione that prevents heart disease, cancer and slows the signs of aging.

Our blood and cells carry oxygen all throughout our bodies. When we are exposed to environmental pollutants, these toxins change the oxygen in our mitochondria into free radicals, destroying our cells and DNA. This damage creates chronic illnesses. Researchers from the Federation of American Society for Experimental Biology have found glutathione in avocados can be absorbed into our mitochondria and then neutralize the free radicals. Glutathione also fights free radicals.

I include avocados on all of my bean and grain dishes as well as in my salads.

Eat food in its most natural state to benefit the nutritional value of omega fats … Eating olives, nuts, avocados, and seeds are paramount in preventive healthcare. But once the oil is pressed from those foods, it becomes pure fat and is detrimental to your health especially your heart, liver, kidneys, arteries and weight management,… Now, that said, use oils as a natural skin moisturizer…

Miso has been a staple in Chinese and Japanese diets dating back about 2,500 years. Today, most of the Japanese population begins their day with a warm bowl of miso soup believed to stimulate the digestion and energize the body.

When purchasing miso, avoid the pasteurized version and spend your money on the live enzyme rich product, which is also loaded with beneficial microorganisms. I drink miso as a beverage. I buy the white organic miso paste as it has the least amount of salt. Take one tablespoon and dissolve it in warm water, don’t boil the water, just very warm water. Add lemon to taste……..

Miso is also very low in calories and highly nutritional as you can see below. Miso also protects against breast cancer and prostate cancer. The Japanese and Chinese had a very low rate of breast and prostate cancer until McDonald’s and KFC moves into town…..

For dinner and breakfast, I have been taking a tablespoon of Miso, dissolving it in warm water (don’t boil Miso) and adding cubed sweet potatoes and greens like kale and spinach… I gently simmer until the sweet potatoes are tender, which is about fifteen minutes or so…. That is my meal and it is very filling, nourishing and satisfying…

10 benefits of eating Miso

1. Contains all essential amino acids, making it a complete protein.

2. Stimulates the secretion of digestive fluids in the stomach.

3. Restores beneficial probiotics to the intestines.

4. Aids in the digestion and assimilation of other foods in the intestines.

5. Is a good vegetable-quality source of B vitamins (especially B12).

6. Strengthens the quality of blood and lymph fluid.

7. Reduces risk of breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers.

8. Protects against radiation due to dipilocolonic acid, an alkaloid that chelates heavy metals and discharges them from the body.

9. Strengthens the immune system and helps to lower LDL cholesterol.

10. High in antioxidants that protect against free radicals

Credit to Veganhurth ..

Chinese Herbs, Rebuild with the Superior Tonics

chinese-herbs-major-tonic-herbs

When most people speak of “Chinese herbs” they are most commonly referring to the class of superior tonic herbs widely used in the Chinese herbal system. These are natural herbs taken as teas, patent formulas, powders or liquid extracts ideally tailored to help nourish or activate specific bodily systems.

Although these tonics are natural herbal remedies for many health conditions, they are not normally used medicinally to “treat” specific illnesses. Tonics are “tonifying” and work to build and strengthen our immunity so we are less susceptible to getting sick or vulnerable to what causes disease in the first place.

In other words, tonic herbalism is a preventative approach, emphasizing the promotion of health as oppose to the purging of disease once it has taken root.

Tonics are considered “foods” that can be used on a regular basis throughout the course of one’s lifetime. In fact, their effects tend to increase the more you use them, yielding cumulative long-term benefits.

This class of superfoods can be extremely valuable as dietary adjuncts to our overall well-being in ways that can’t be matched by most commonly consumed foods. Regarded as a major food group in Asian cultures, some popular herbs, like astragalus, jujube and goji, are often used in everyday meals, brewed into soups and cooked with grains or legumes for added nutritional fortification.

These very special herbal substances have long been respected and successfully used for several thousand years by Taoist masters. Associated with living a high quality life, they can help to enhance energy, physical strength, sexual vitality, mental acuity, spiritual wisdom and have also gained the reputation as life extending longevity herbs.

The superior class of Chinese herbs was first defined in the ancient herbal text, the Shennong Ben Cao Jing, about 2,500 years ago and includes approximately 52 top tonic herbs. Some of the most famous Chinese herbs known around the world come from this category of tonics, the most well-known of which is ginseng.

What are Tonic Herbs and How Do They Work?

Chinese herbs are superior tonic roots, barks, leaves, berries and mushrooms that are used to “tone”, through their adaptogenic nature, the major organ systems of the body. They are often referred to as adaptogens because they increase our body-mind’s ability to “adapt” to change and help us overcome daily life stress. They help to encourage resistance to trauma, anxiety and fatigue by allowing the body to naturally regulate itself, normalizing over-activity or under-activity of the organs and glands.

Each of the 52 major tonic herbs work specifically on different vital organ pathways to rebuild, rejuvenate or activate life-force energies. They not only bring about positive changes in one’s physical being but also greatly influence overall wellness on an emotional and spiritual level.

Tonics have a protective nature beyond that of other more common nutritive, sedating and cleansing herbs.

To enable the release of beneficial components, all of these herbs must be simmered in water as a tea, infused in an alcohol menstruum or must go through a special hot water extraction process. These three methods produce either a tea, a liquid solution or a powdered extract.

The Three Treasures of Chinese Herbalism

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, there are believed to be three different types of energy in the human body, known as “the three treasures.” These are Jing, Chi (Qi) and Shen. Each of the tonic herbs works on either one, two or all three of these elements to varying degrees. They are the primary foundations of the Chinese herbal system and frequently referenced to develop personalized tonic herb formulations.

1) Jing – This is the first treasure and is the energy that is passed onto you from your parents at the moment of conception. It is our deepest stored energy reserve or “root of our vitality” associated with kidney essence and the kidney-adrenal complex. Jing herbs are divided into two different categories: yin and yang. Yin herbs build and replenish depleted Jing energy and as a result are known to increase sexual libido and fertility. Yang herbs invigorate Jing essence and are highly rejuvenating to the reproductive system, skeletal structure and mental functions.

2) Chi – The second treasure is the energy we use on a daily basis that is created from the food we eat and the air we breathe. It is therefore most closely related to the lung and spleen/stomach organ systems. Chi is about movement of physical energy and is also divided into two separate categories of herbs: chi (energy) tonics and blood tonics. Chi tonics work to build sexual energy, creative drive and physical strength. They are fortifying to the respiratory, digestive and immune systems. Blood tonics nourish bodily tissues and help to build blood.

3) Shen – The third treasure resides in the heart and is linked with higher consciousness and awareness, often translated as “spirit.” Shen tonics work to impart a calm heart-centered nature and encourage a clear and peaceful state of mind.

As the great Chinese Taoist sage Lu Zi once stated:

“The human body is only Jing, Qi and Shen. These are the three treasures. These three treasures are complete as a human being. In order to attain true health and happiness, you must value the three treasures. Without the three treasures you cannot live long, and deep attainment cannot be reached in a lifetime. The three treasures must not be wasted. They must be nourished and protected as one’s life.”

chinese-herbs-superior-tonics

Tonic Herb Formulations

Chinese herbs can be taken alone but are often consumed as blended formulations that consist of about 5-8 different major tonic herb varieties in varying proportions. Most all of the herbs are of more benefit when they are combined as a unit with other herbs. In Traditional Chinese Medicine herbs are used together to create a synergistic effect that works to most accurately balance any one particular diagnosis. These formulas are often modified over time to make them more suitable for subtle changing conditions of the patient.

Creating highly individualized tonic herb formulas is an ancient Chinese practice that requires a large degree of knowledge and education. There is definitely an art to blending different herbs to achieve specific health goals. Because there can be a myriad of different scenarios occurring within any one particular individual, it may be appropriate to seek the advice of a qualified tonic herbalist for additional assistance. This will allow the practitioner to tailor the most ideal formula and blend of herbs that can work to balance specific deficiencies and/or activate energies where needed.

This is not to say, in our opinion, that we can’t experiment with different herbs or read more about the unique properties of each in order to personalize our own preparations when appropriate.

We also recommend purchasing pre-formulated herbal extracts that are specific for certain health conditions. Our two favorite companies are Dragon Herbs and Jing Herbs. Both provide numerous tonic products that can be helpful for balancing many common health problems, like adrenal fatigue, sexual impotency, insomnia, joint inflammation and mental decline. Jing Herbs also offers a free 30 minute health consultation and analysis. Visit Jing Herbs Health Analysis for more details.

List of Top Chinese Herbs

This list of Chinese herbs is designed to lay a groundwork for broader understanding and help you become more familiar with the different herbs and their range of functions. We don’t list all 52 major herbs, but have selected among the top most common herbs traditionally used among Western herbalists.

Asparagus Root

chinese-tonic-herb-asparagus-root

Asparagus root (Asparagus lucidus) is one of the major Chinese herbs that works on all three treasures, supporting the lung, heart and kidney systems. It is most famous in TCM as a Shen tonic, specifically used to calm the heart and is often prescribed as a natural antidepressant because of its uplifting nature. It is also supportive as a Chi and Jing tonic working as a natural energizer for the lungs as well as a nourishing tonic for kidney Yin deficiencies. It is a particularly beneficial to women, taken to help increase fertility, sex drive and used in many beauty formulas as it is known to add luster to the skin. Asparagus lucidus is closely related to the Ayurvedic herb Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus) and is often used interchangeably.

Astragalus Root

chinese-herbs-astragalus-roots

Astragalus root (Astragalus membranaceus) is a primary Chi (Qi) tonic that has been long revered as one of the most potent energizing tonics available next to ginseng. Working directly with the spleen and lung organ systems, the root is warming to the body and promotes strong musculature, good posture and healthy respiratory, metabolic and eliminative functions. It is also well-known for its immune enhancing attributes, containing unique astragalosides an polysaccharides that encourage increased immune response. Astragalus contains a saponin called cycloastragenol which some health authorities believe is directly linked with what the Chinese call “Upright Qi.” This is thought to be the energy that counteracts the effects of gravity associated with the aging process.

Chinese Cinnamon

chinese-cinnamon-and-twig

While it might seem somewhat unusual to call this common culinary spice a tonic, but the cassia variety is in fact considered a Jing herb. Also called Rou Gui, its hot energy and sweet pungent taste promotes good circulation and is helpful for balancing cooling herbs used in tea formulations. Both the bark and the twigs of the Chinese cinnamon tree (Cinnamomum cassia) with their warming, yet demulcent qualities, increase Yang energies, strengthen kidney Yang and are likewise considered mild sexual tonics. The cassia variety should be used in small quantities because of its potential liver damaging coumarin content that can be harmful when consumed in very high doses. This is not the case with Ceylon cinnamon, but ceylon is less tonifying to body.

Cistanche Stem

chinese-herbs-cistanche

Cistanche (Cistanche deserticola) is the stem of a desert plant most famous as a potent tonic for enhancing sex drive and virility, often referred to as the “ginseng of the dessert.” It is specifically a kidney Jing herb that works to increase kidney Yang, offering a number of benefits that encourage optimal functioning of the reproductive organs and glands. Like eucommia and morinda, it is likewise strengthening the skeletal structure, especially the back and knees. Cistanche extracts also fortify the Yin element and are rejuvenating to the kidney-adrenal complex. The herb is made up of unique plant compounds such as phenylethanoid glycosides and cistanocides that contribute to its adaptogenic nature and range of actions.

Codonopsis Root

chinese-herbs-codonopsis

Codonopsis root (Codonopsis pilosula) is a mild, yet energizing, Chi tonic considered the “poor man’s ginseng” and often used in formulas as a ginseng substitute. It is not as strong as most ginseng varieties, which may be preferred by certain constitutions. Specific to the lungs and spleen, it helps to clear out excess mucus from the respiratory tract, but also moistens and nourishes the tissues and organs where needed. It is particularly well-known for providing greater balance to the major metabolic systems. It also acts as a blood tonic to detoxify and build blood and encourages a beautiful complexion. It is considered a wonderful immune boosting tonic root for those who are severely depleted or weakened after prolonged illness.

Cordyceps Mushroom

chinese-herbs-cordyceps

Cordyceps mushroom (Cordyceps sinensis or Cordyceps militaris) was described by herbalist Li Chih Shen to be equivalent to ginseng in its restorative qualities. As both a Chi and Jing tonic, it acts as a immune system modulator and natural energy stimulant. Also known for its effects at revitalizing the sex glands and reproductive system, the mushroom is considered a potent aphrodisiac and top tonic for increasing one’s sex drive. Cordyceps is known to be useful in recovery from adrenal depletion and helps increase lung capacity as well as oxygen utilization, making it a great tonic for improving athletic performance and aerobic workouts. Cordyceps is a fungus that originally grew off of insect bodies but today it is widely cultivated, usually on rice cakes.

Dong Quai Root

chinese-herbal-tea-dong-quai

Dong quai (Angelica sinensis), also spelled dang gui or tang kuei, is a top blood nourishing tonic for both men and women, useful for revitalizing the blood and increasing circulation. As a Chi tonic it has been praised as the “woman’s ginseng” because of its reviving effects on the female reproductive system. It is a commonly used ingredient in many Chinese patent formulas for this purpose. Working primarily with the spleen and liver systems, it is used to promote menstrual stability in women, reduces PMS symptoms and is also recommended for those with anemia to restore blood balance. Dong quai is good for men as well, helping to build muscle by increasing blood flow to the tissues.

Eucommia Bark

chinese-herbs-eucommia

Eucommia (Eucommia ulmoides) is a potent kidney tonic and Yang Jing herb most well-known for its ability to strengthen the skeletal structure of the body. It is specifically effective for joint and back pain as well as stiffness, especially in the knees, ankles and lower back. Eucommia, in many cases, can be used as a nutritional tonic for the elderly to ensure healthy cartilage and to guard against conditions like arthritis.Also considered a Yin Jing herb, it encourages flexibility in the ligaments and tendons and is known to help fortify and nourish the bones. Eucommia additionally supports healthy endocrine and sexual functions. It can be used by both men and women for such purposes.

He Shou Wu

list-of-chinese-herbs-he-shou-wu

He Shou Wu (Polygonum multiflorum), or also called fo-ti, is a tonic adaptogen, top superfood and premier Yin Jing tonic. It is one of the fundamental Chinese longevity herbs used extensively in TCM. According to Ron Teeguarden, “This herb has been consumed by almost every Taoist master that has ever lived.” It is very effective for replenishing kidney Yin and deep deficiencies associated with adrenal exhaustion. While acting as an energy restorative, it is simultaneously very calming to the nervous system. Containing high amounts of zinc and iron, it can be  fortifying to the blood and also very cleansing to the liver. It is a highly respected sexual stimulant that is known to encourage fertility in both men and women. Fo-ti is traditionally “prepared” with black soybeans to activate its health enhancing constituents. We do not advise consuming herbal teas made with raw fo-ti root as they can be toxic to the liver.

Ginseng Root

chinese-herbs-panax-ginseng

Ginseng (Panax ginseng), is one of the most valued Chinese herbs used in Asia and known around the world for its extremely energizing and health promoting effects on the body. As a premier Chi tonic, ginseng is a warming and stimulating adaptogenic substance that is prized for its restorative and strength building compounds, called ginsenosides. Ginseng has tonifying effects on both the lung and spleen, the two organs responsible for extracting energy from the foods we eat and the air we breathe. Although primarily used to activate Chi, ginseng also works on all three treasures including Jing and Shen as well as Chi. There are many different types of ginseng roots with varying qualities depending on source and age of the root itself. American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) is another variety that is often used as a sometimes preferred alternative because of its cooling nature.

Gynostemma Leaves

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Gynostemma (Gynostemma pentaphyllum), or jiaogulan, is a popular Asian green leafy herb commonly prepared as a tea infusion.  In Traditional Chinese Medicinal, gynostemma leaf has properties that are bitter and cool, and are beneficial to the lung and heart organ systems. It is believed to offer effects that clear heat, reduce inflammation, moisten the lungs as well as build adaptive energy. The leaves are the most potent part of the plant, containing triterpenoid saponins called gypenosides which are often compared to the ginsenoside saponins found in Panax ginseng root. Both the saponins and Gynostemma pentaphyllum polysaccharide content has shown to exhibit antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antitumor activity. Teas and hot water extracts help prevent fatigue and are supportive to those with cardiovascular conditions, type 2 diabetes and obesity issues.

Jujube Dates

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Jujube dates (Zizyphus jujube), or also called “red date”, are a Jing and Chi herb and blood cleansing fruit that are also known to regulate fluids, useful for either drying up excess mucus or moistening the tissues when needed. They are used to “clear the five openings”, which includes the eyes, ears, nose, throat and sinuses. Jujube is a great harmonizing adjunctive herb to use with other tonics in herbal formulations. They are especially appropriate for neutralizing the fiery nature of Yang herbs, like ginseng. The dried fruit is added to preparations for toning and purifying the stomach, acting as a mild laxative.

Licorice Root

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Chinese licorice root (Glycyrrhizae uralensis) is a deliciously sweet and unctuous tonic that is known as “the great adjunct” for its harmonizing or supporting influence when used with other herbs. This is due to its effectiveness at enhancing the main properties of other herbs and is therefore a common ingredient in many Chinese patent formulas or herbal preparations. It is a Chi tonic beneficial to the spleen, stomach, kidney and lung systems. Licorice is also known for its detoxifying effects that help to neutralize and eliminate toxins from the body. These cleansing attributes are said to “allow for all energies to flow more smoothly.” Licorice helps to enhance digestion and its cooling nature can be effective as a natural anti-inflammatory. It is building to the muscles and nourishing to the adrenals.

Lycium Fruit

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Lycium fruit (Lyciium barbarum), or also called lycii or goji berries, are a tonifying blood tonic and Jing herb, helpful for improving functions of the kidneys, liver and immune system. In Chinese medicine gou qi zi is considered a major tonic herb for restoring Yin Jing and can be a nourishing decoction to use with other tonic herbs, like fo-ti and rehmannia, in cases of kidney Yin deficiency, often associated with kidney-adrenal burnout. High in species-specific polysaccharides referred to as Lycium barbarum polysaccharides (LBPs), the berries are known to stimulate the production of superoxide dismutase, catalase and glutathione. Goji is comprised of carotenoids like beta-carotene and zeazanthin and are additionally a good source of iron. They are often used as a harmonizing ingredient blended with other herbs to increase their effectiveness.

Morinda Root

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Morinda root (Morinda officinalis) comes from the same genus as noni fruit and is a Yang Jing tonic with similar properties to that of eucommia bark, it is also a very useful tonic for bone and joint health and is commonly combined with eucommia in herbal formulations for these purposes. It is influential as a strength building herb and an often added ingredient with other primal Jing preparations to improve, not only physical strength, but cognitive capacities. Morinda root is warming to the kidneys and is used to treat kidney Yang deficiency and those with specific sexual issues such as premature ejaculation, impotence and infertility. It is additionally supportive to maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system.

Rehmannia Root

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Rehmannia (Rehmannia glutinosa), is a thick dark root that works specifically as a Jing herb, both as a blood and kidney Yin tonic. Often compared to fo-ti root for its ability to nourish Yin depletion, rehmannia is a prized longevity herb known to provide potent restorative, building properties that can have a beneficial effect on increasing fertility as well as sex drive. The root is used in tea decoctions for strengthening the tendons, bones and bone marrow in addition to supplying nutriments to the ears and eyes. Like fo-ti, rehmannia is always usually “prepared” to activate its health promoting compounds that are specific for Yin deficiency. Raw roots, however, are also used for other medicinal purposes.

Reishi Mushroom

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Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) tonifies all three treasures: Jing, Chi and Shen and is often referred to as the “great protector”, guarding against the effects that physical, immunological and mental stress can have on the body over time. When taken on a consistent basis it is said to profoundly strengthen immune functions, calm and protect the nerves and help us to positively adjust to potential anxiety in our lives. Reishi is a highly respected Shen tonic reowned as the “herb of spiritual potency” for its ability to open the heart and encourage a meditative state of being. Reishi’s active ingredients include water-soluble polysaccharides and peptidoglycans, in addition to more than 100 triterpenes, like ganoderic acid, depending on the strain and quality.  (*)

Rhiodiola Root

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Rhodiola (Rhodiola Rosea) is considered a sacred herb among Asian as well Russian peoples. It is an energizing Chi tonic adaptogen particularly famous for its beneficial influence on reducing the secretion of cortisol, the “stress hormone.” It is often viewed as a top herbal aid for relieving daily stress and anxiety for this reason. It is well documented for its capacity to increase mental alertness and concentration skills, often recommended for overworked individuals or those who sit at a desk or do computer work for extended periods of time. Useful as a restorative herb for treating adrenal fatigue, it has also been shown to help effectively alleviate conditions such as insomnia and depression. It is tonifying to the lungs, heart, and effective as a strong immune system modulator.

Schizandra Berries

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Schizandra berries (Schizandra chinensis) are one of the most popular libido-enhancing tonics known in TCM, rejuvenating the kidney Jing and increasing fluids to the reproductive systems and sex glands. The berries work on all three treasures, Jing, Chi and Shen and also function as both a Yin and Yang tonic. Taking the herb for periods of time is said to lubricate the area just under the epidermis layer, providing for soft, supple skin. Subsequently, it has been used in China by women of the imperial court specifically to enhance and preserve a youthful appearance. Schizandra (also spelled schisandra) is a blood purifier that also enhances eyesight and range of vision. Many of the tonic effects to the skin and eyes are also a result of its liver cleansing qualities. It is known to be one of the only Chinese herbs to effectively enter all 12 meridians and is likewise comprised of all 5 tastes. The berries are commonly soaked and brewed as a “five flavor tea.”

When Not to Consume Chinese Herbs

These herbs are best taken when one is free of sickness and disease. Because major Chinese herbs are mostly building to the body rather than cleansing, it is also appropriate to stop taking tonics for a period time when undertaking cleansing or juice fasting protocols

According to Ron Teeguarden “It is a strict rule of Chinese tonic herbalism that the tonic herbs are not to be used when acutely ill, even if the acute illness is just a common cold. Correct any acute ailments before starting to use the tonics, and suspend their use if and when you catch a cold or other acute illness.”

Chinese Herbs and Pinyin Translations

Many times Chinese herbs are referred to by their Chinese/English names, not the “Western” names many use to identify them.

  • American Ginseng – Xi Yang Shen
  • Asparagus Root – Tian Men Dong
  • Astragalus – Huang Chi (Qi)
  • Cistanche – Rou Cong Rong
  • Chinese Cinnamon – Guizhi and Rougi
  • Codonopsis – Dang Shen
  • Cordyceps – Dong Chong Xia Cao
  • Coriolus – Yun Zhi
  • Dong Quai – Dang Gui, Tang Kuei
  • Eucommia Bark – Du Zhong
  • Fo-ti – He Shou Wu
  • Ginseng – Ren Shen
  • Gynostemma – Jiaogulan
  • Jujube Dates – Ta Tsao
  • Licorice Root – Kan Tsao
  • Lycium fruit (Goji berries) – Gou Qi Zi
  • Maitake – Lian Hua Gu
  • Morinda – Ba Ji Tian
  • Reishi – Ling Zhi
  • Rehmannia – Ti Huang
  • Rhodiola – Hong Jing Tian
  • Schizandra Berry – Wu Wei Zi

Precautions:

Most all tonic herbs are safe to use on a regular basis, but each may come with there own set of side-effects when used inappropriately or not balanced with other herbs in personalized formulations. Sometimes the assistance of a qualified Chinese herbalist is recommended to achieve highest health results. Avoid taking Chinese herbs when sick or undertaking a cleansing diet or fasting protocol. Consult your physician if pregnant, nursing, taking prescription medications or when a serious medical condition is an issue.

What is a Raw Vegan Diet or “High Raw” Diet?

A raw vegan diet, based on both veganism and the consumption of raw plant-based foods, is a dietary practice that began on a small scale in the late 1800’s as a way to treat and heal various diseases. It wasn’t until the 1970’s and 80’s, however, that it became particularly popular in the U.S., along with the vegetarian health food movement, making a steady rise to fame in the mid 90’s.

Today, raw veganism is a term recognized by many mainstream audiences and embraced by health seekers worldwide. While it primarily encompasses a vegan diet, with the exclusion of any kind of animal derived foods either for ethical, ecological or health reasons, it does not include cooked grains, beans, heated or pasteurized foods which are typically consumed by most vegans.

The standard definition of “raw food” comprises eating organic vegetables, fruits, fats, nuts and seeds that have not been cooked over 115–118° F (45-48°C). This is to ensure that the food retains its natural living enzymes and nutrient content which is typically destroyed by heat or cooking methods.

Simply put, raw foods are “living foods” that are closer to their natural state, preserving life-force, fiber, water content and essential phytonutrients that help the body to function at its highest levels. These foods we call raw superfoods! They can be grated, blended, chopped and food processed to create different textures and taste sensations, but are made exclusively from fresh, whole, ripe uncooked foods.

In a 2013 study it states that “Cooking food destroys nutrients and enzymes, alters the structure and, thus, digestibility of food, and creates byproducts that may be harmful. For example, cooking vegetables decreases water-soluble and heat sensitive nutrients, such as carotenoids. The insoluble fiber in vegetables, which helps decrease fecal transit time and increase binding and excretion of carcinogens, decreases as a result of cooking. Heat initiates the Maillard reaction, which destroys many essential amino acids, causes proteins to cross-link with reducing sugars, and makes the food harder to digest.”

Many health experts additionally believe that cooking many common foods provides nothing but empty calories and the desire to consume more food because nutritional needs are not being satisfied. Raw vegan foods generally help you to feel satiated after a meal and assist in controlling appetite cravings.

Following a “High Raw” Diet

Although we are not of the belief that all cooked food is poison or eating a 100% raw vegan diet for life is needed for optimal health, we do believe it can be very helpful to add in more raw vegan foods to one’s daily diet on a regular basis. This concept is often referred to as a “high raw” diet. We personally practice and recommend consuming between 50-70% of foods in their uncooked, natural living state as an ongoing dietary regimen.

Eating a combination of whole cooked foods, along with ample amounts of raw fruits and vegetables helps to provide a good balance of fiber, pH alkalinity, structured water content and the enzymes needed for good digestion. These types of raw foods encourage regular bowel movements and, with their higher vitamin/mineral content and antioxidant-rich plant pigments, are nourishing as well as cleansing to the body.

We personally don’t have strict rules about eating meat or dairy once in awhile, but we do believe that consuming large amounts of animal products on a regular basis is not a healthy diet choice long term. It is really a personal decision you alone must make. We completely understand the concept of not eating ANY animal foods for moral and ethical reasons.

A high raw diet may also include the consumption of raw nuts, seeds, fats as well as high quality ethically raised animal and dairy products. Eating meat protein, eggs, milk or cheese is a choice dependent on one’s own personal beliefs and nutritional requirements.

For many people following a high raw diet, consuming raw vegan foods for the first meal of the day and eating some cooked foods at dinner is a practical and achievable health objective and diet plan. Eating mostly raw vegan during the day, may also encourage better dietary choices when it comes time to preparing a main entrée. Suddenly simple whole cooked foods, created from scratch without the use of packaged or processed instant, microwavable or canned food items, become appetizing and flavorful food choices.

What is a 100% Raw Vegan Diet?

A 100% raw vegan diet is the practice of consuming only raw fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, fats, oils and condiments for either short periods of time or as a long term lifestyle choice. It is a more strict commitment to the purifying experience that eating only raw foods can bring. Some believe in the notion  that eating any cooked foods causes diminishment of energy, spiritual conscious and cognitive functions.

Technically speaking, a raw vegan diet adheres to the elimination of all meat or animal products as a food source. This could be for both moral reasons (ethical treatment of animals) and/or because there is an opinion that meat is not a natural food we should be eating. There is also the notion that a plant-based diet, lower on the food chain, is more ecologically sound on a mass production level than raising livestock.

A Raw Vegan Diet Cleanse for Health and Energy

Those, eating a 100% raw vegan diet, even for short periods of time, often tend to experience great health benefits and the alleviation of many health issues.

Consuming raw vegan meals solely for many days in a row gives your body a break from cooked foods, meat proteins/fats and milk products that can overload the cells and digestive tract, leading to obesity, uric acid build up, excess mucus, inflammation, high cholesterol and a number of related health issues.

Living superfoods, seaweeds, raw greens, sprouts, and fruits provide the cleansing effects of food in it’s natural “raw” state with high amounts of vitamins, minerals and, as we mentioned, enzymes!  The results of eating this way for a period of time often leads to weight loss, increased energy levels and an enhanced outlook on life.

The warmer months of spring or summer, when fruits and vegetables are more plentiful, are the perfect seasons for eating more raw vegan foods, with fall and winter being the time to eat heavier building foods and (if you choose) high quality ethically raised meat and dairy.

We recommend experimenting for yourself, eating just one day on an all raw vegan diet. Here is our top 10 list of raw vegan food categories to choose from when following a raw diet.

Top 10 Raw Vegan Diet List of Foods

1) Raw Greens and Vegetables

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This includes most vegetables in their raw uncooked state. Broccoli, cauliflower, leafy green vegetables, squash and the many root vegetables, like beet, carrot, burdock and radish. We tend to stay clear of raw potatoes or yams, but sometimes use them prepared in vinegar and dehydrated as chips.

Green leafy vegetables are high in protein content and often make up a large percentage of a raw vegan diet. This comprises greens such as kale, collard, cilantro, bok choy, lettuces, arugula, parsley as well as wild edible greens whenever they are available.

2) Raw Fruits

Juicy raw fruits are packed with structured water content that rehydrates the body and provides a quick burning fuel source. Sun ripened fruits are cleansing to the cells and help to balance body pH. They are full of colorful antioxidant-rich pigments and can also be concentrated as a juice or eaten as a dried fruit snack.

Many people believe that fruits are one of the most natural foods for humans to eat as we have long arms and dexterous hands perfect for picking fruit from trees.

3) Raw Juices

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The process of juicing is achieved by pressing vegetables and fruits through a juicer. Raw living juice offers a concentrated amount of liquid nutrients that immediately flushes and nourishes the cells and provides cleansing actions to the lymph and bloodstream.

Integrating fresh juices into your daily routine can be a way to cleanse and simultaneously rebuild any possible vitamin and mineral depletion. This can either involve making straight green juice or concocting your own rainbow of juice blends, choosing from the plethora of tree ripened fruits and vegetables.

4) Raw Nuts and Seeds

These are any of the whole, raw, unprocessed, unroasted, unpasteurized, unsalted nut and seed varieties such as pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, pili nuts, filberts, sesame seeds, almonds, brazil nuts, cashews and pistachios.

Many traditionally prepared foods can be made using nuts and seeds to create burgers, milks, cheeses, hummus and pizza crusts. On average it is good to consume smaller amounts of nuts or seeds as compared to other foods on a raw vegan diet.

Recent U.S. regulations require some commercial nut and seed varieties (mostly almonds) to undergo steam pasteurization for “health and safety” reasons. There are some loop holes within these laws, however, and raw nuts and seeds are still available on a large scale by organic high quality growers. With the exception of some hard shelled nuts, most raw nuts and seeds will sprout when soaked and drained over a few days time. This is a good way to test their raw nutritional quality.

5) Raw Fermented Foods

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Unpasteurized fermented foods, like cultured seed cheese, rejuvelac, cultured vegetables and coconut kefir are great foods to include in a raw vegan diet. Kombucha is also another widely excepted fermented drink consumed, although it is made from a hot water infused tea base.

Adding both flavor as well as nutritional components, raw ferments are especially high in enzyme content which helps to improve digestive functions, normalizes bowel movements, processes undigested waste material and provides beneficial intestinal microflora.

6) Raw Plant Fats

Good fats are healthy fats that are derived from raw plants and their oils. Both saturated and unsaturated fats are healthy to the body when they are eaten in their raw state as opposed to high heat processed, hydrogenated or refined.

The raw oils we specifically recommend include coconut oil, olive oil, hemp seed oil and sacha inchi oil. Some raw plant-based fats include coconut meat, cacao butter, olives, avocados and durian fruit. Nuts and seeds also contain a large amount of fat and oil content and can also be processed for use as nut butters.

7) Raw Superfoods

This raw food list category comprises a wide array of top superfoods that have not been heat processed. Some of these are the microalgaes (like chlorella and spirulina), the super fruits (like camu camu and goji berries), shilajit, pine pollen, aloe vera, hemp seeds and many others found on the pages of this website.

Many of these superfoods can be conveniently consumed in raw smoothies and other blended drinks.

8) Raw Seaweeds

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All of the seaweed varieties like kelp, dulse, irish moss, bladderwrack and raw untoasted nori are an excellent source of ocean born minerals and trace elements as well as iodine and detoxifying long chain sugars or polysaccharides.

Seaweed flakes and powders can help provide necessary phytonutrients that are often lacking these days in store bought produce. They are excellent in raw soups, nut pates’ or sprinkled on salads. It is important to purchase high quality seaweed vegetables that are tested for radiation and other contaminants.

9) Raw Supplements

Sometimes during the course of our lifetime, we become nutritionally deficient in one area or another and need a little help from a supplement specifically concentrated in a particular vitamin, mineral, probiotic, enzyme, herb, extract or cleansing solvent.

These we like to get from raw whole food super supplements rather than highly synthesized extractions. When supplements are closer to the whole foods and herbs they originate from, their nutrients are made more bioavailable to the body when we consume them. Raw supplements also contain high amounts of living enzymes and other natural co-factors which helps increase their overall effectiveness.

10) Raw Sprouts

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Living sprouted seed varieties are a concentrated source of potent energy, packed with pre-digested vitamins, minerals, protein-rich amino acids, sugars, fatty acids and chlorophyll.

Some of these super sprout varieties include:  sunflower sprouts, fenugreek sprouts, cress, radish sprouts, broccoli sprouts, mung bean and an assortment of microgreen variations.

There are also a number of grains that can be sprouted and used to make essene bread, pizza crusts or sprouted grain crackers.  Some of these grains may include rye, buckwheat groats and wheatberries.

Precautions:

Seek the advice of your health care provider before adhering to a strict raw vegan diet, especially if you have serious health conditions or are taking prescription medications.

Ashwagandha, Top Ayurvedic Rasayana Herb

Ashwagandha root is one of the top most highly valued tonic herbs commonly utilized in Ayurvedic herbalism. Known as “Indian ginseng” for its energizing, strength building and restorative impact, it helps to relieve physical fatigue and is particularly famous for its revitalizing effects on the male reproductive system.

Traditionally consumed with other Ayurvedic herbs in herbal formulations geared to specific constitutions or body types, ashwagandha is found in many blends for addressing adrenal exhaustion, insomnia, hormonal imbalance, anxiety and debilitating weakness.

While the leaves of the plant have respected therapeutic value, the root of the ashwagandha shrub is the most common part used for herbal supplementation. Typically, the long slender roots are harvested when mature after a full growing cycle and sometimes sold as a whole dried root or in pieces. It is, however, more universally available as a bulk powder, encapsulated powder or compressed tablet.

In Chinese medical terms, it is considered both a renewing kidney Yang tonic and Chi (Qi) activator. Although, it is often seen as a male libido enhancer, it is generally fortifying for the reproductive system in both men and women alike.

According to herbalist Dr. Michael Tierra, author of Planetary Herbology, “It is easily the most potent tonic aphrodisiacs in the entire botanical kingdom.” (*)

Recognized as an ancient Ayurvedic “rasayana” herb used for thousands of years in the traditional Indian herbal system, it can be a rejuvenating yet calming nerve tonic and a frequent ingredient utilized in many energy building preparations to promote vigor, vitality and, according to Ayurvedic scriptures, increase one’s lifespan.

Rasayana herbs, like ashwagandha, are believed to nourish the whole body by strengthening the primordial tissue. Rasayana literally means “the path that rasa takes” (rasa: the primordial tissue and plasma; ayana: the path).

Functioning as an adaptogen, ashwagandha root and its herbal actions are double directional, offering different effects depending on what is most needed by any one individual. In other words, it can be stimulating like Panax ginseng or calming like American ginseng. Generally, it known to ground, center and enliven ones natural energy especially when used for an extended period of time.

Root powders and extracts have been examined for their ability to heighten resilience to stress and improve the body’s defense against disease through active antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds such as the specific phytochemicals referred to as withanolides.

Scientifically studied for decades regarding this range of unique plant substances, withanolides, like withaferin A, have been shown to provide immune modulating and neuroprotective activity as well as qualities as antitumor agents.

benefits-of-ashwagandha-root
benefits-of-ashwagandha-roots

Consumed as a tea, powder, tablet or as a tinctured extract, the root of ashwagandha is a nourishing herb suitable for a wide range of people from children to seniors. (*)

Ashwagandha is particularly good for correcting Vata imbalance and is a top renowned tonic for the elderly due to its potential usefulness as a pain reliever, anti-inflammatory and respected influence as a nourishing herb for nervous debility.

Understanding your body type, or “dosha”, is paramount in Ayurvedic medicine and is important for tailoring a dosha-balancing diet with a list of foods and Ayurvedic herbs, like ashwagandha, that are specific for your unique constitution and acute or chronic issues.

In the Ayurvedic system of medicine, this can be a preventative approach to health as it helps you to avoid sickness and disease before it takes form. Often times it is additionally beneficial to seek the advice of a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner, who can further evaluate your individual needs and the herbs best suited for your distinct situation and health concerns.

When to Take Rasayana Herbs

It is generally recommended in Ayurveda to undergo “rasayana therapy” (using rasayana herbs) after a detox or cleansing regimen. This is a time when the systems of the body are more receptive and “open to” the assimilation of rasayana herbal supplementation.

In the words of Dr. Harsharnjit Puri, “It has been stressed that Rasayana administered without these treatments is like seed sown on barren land, from where no good results can be expected.”

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What is Ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha root (Withania somnifera) comes from the class of nightshades or family Solanaceae. It has been used as a popular herb in India and neighboring countries for literally thousands of years. Mentioned in classic herbal Ayurvedic texts, like the Charaka Samhita and the Bhavaprakasha, it was used extensively and incorporated into traditional preparations for a number of health issues.

Also known as winter cherry or poison gooseberry, the ashwagandha plant is a low growing perennial shrub, usually reaching heights of between 14–30 inches (35–75 cm) tall. Similar to the golden berry plant (Physalis peruviana), Withania somnifera produces flowers that eventually develop fruits within a papery thin skin or calyx. Unlike golden berries, however, the red-orange fruits are not usually consumed as a food source. The seeds within the berry are used as a replacement to rennet in cheese making and the berry pulp can be used as a poultice along with the leaves directly on the skin.

Ashwagandha is widely cultivated and most notably grown for its long slender roots that are typically harvested after the first year’s growth cycle. The cultivated plant is believed to have originated in Rajasthan, India where it was known as asgandh nagori.

The taste of the root is bitter, astringent and sweet. Mixed with water, clarified butter, honey or milk, it is most commonly used as a fine powder, created by grinding the unprepared dried roots.

Withania somnifera is known to produce certain alkaloid substances, such as ashwaganidhine, ashwagandhine and somniferine, that are uniquely found exclusively within this particular plant species.

Grow Your Own Ashwagandha Plant

We always promote growing your own superfoods and herbs whenever possible. Many species grow exceptionally well in permaculture settings with other types of edible foods and herbs.

Although ashwagandha is native to drier regions of India, it has also adapted to many tropical, subtropical and temperate climate zones around the world. As a perennial herb, it will live for two years or more, but will die back in the colder seasons and regenerate in the spring.

If you happen to have an outdoor garden space, seed packets can be purchased online to grow your very own ashwagandha plant. Because the long roots grow fast and need space to grow deep into the soil, it is not as suitable for growing in pots. The berries, which contain many seeds, can be saved to grow more ashwagandha the following year. They can be sown in pots, like you would tomatoes (another nightshade), and transplanted as starts.

Many herbalists suggest harvesting the root after the first year’s growth cycle, or no more than two years for maximum potency. The roots are harvested after the berries have ripened and the leaves begin to dry.

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Health Benefits of Ashwagandha

Immune Modulating and Stress Reducing Influence

Ashwagandha is a powerful immune system modulator that functions specifically as an adaptogen. Adaptogens, a common term used when referring to a number of Chinese major tonic herbs, help to increase our body-mind’s ability to “adapt” to daily life stress. They can act as a buffer protecting the body from the effects of trauma, anxiety and fatigue by normalizing the over-activity or under-activity of the organs and glands.

These qualities are beneficial for long term nerve regeneration and have a positive influence on the adrenals and the entire nervous system.

In Ayurveda it is considered one of the top rasayana tonics, specific for its effects at enhancing physical strength, stamina and “Ojas”, or the primal energy, essence similar to “Jing” in Chinese medicine.

In a randomized double-blind study analyzing the effectiveness of ashwagandha root extract on reducing stress and anxiety in adults, it was concluded that it “safely and effectively improves an individual’s resistance towards stress and thereby improves self-assessed quality of life.”

Rasayana herbs, like ashwagandha, are commonly utilized in the Ayurvedic practice of rejuvenation therapy, or rasayana chikitsa, and are valued as deeply nourishing herbal substances. As mentioned, they are especially appropriate after a cleansing period like pancha karma.

The root, with similar properties to that of rhodiola, is highly prized for its revitalizing effects on nerve and brain function and known to be helpful in the treatment of anxiety induced depression. It is currently being researched as an alternative treatment for those with degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

According to the journal, Alzheimer’s Research and Therapy, “A recent double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study on the effects of ashwagandha on stress found that it reduced symptoms of stress and inability to concentrate and reversed forgetfulness in a dose-dependent manner.”

Contains Unique Plant Compounds Called Withanolides

Ashwagandha root, as well as the leaves, have been extensively researched for their active triterpenoids and steroidal lactones referred to as withanolides. Withanolides are a class of naturally occurring phytochemical compounds common to many species in the nightshade family Solanaceae. This includes the golden berry species which also, like the ashwagandha plant, has a similar papery calyx surrounding its fruits.

In current research published in the 2015 Journal of Advanced Pharmaceutical Technology and Research it was identified that approximately 35 withanolides have been isolated from the roots. The major ones being withanoside V, withaferin A, withanolide A and withanolide B.

Withaferin A was the first withanolide isolated from the ashwagandha species and is the one most discussed in scientific literature as it has been shown to possess a number of benefits, including significant antitumor and anti-inflammatory activity. Withaferin A is one of the main withanolide compounds responsible for the roots effectiveness as an immune system modulator and neurological anti-anxiety agent.

Withanoside IV and V additionally play an important neuroregenerative role and have shown usefulness for spinal cord injury known to “improve hindlimb function and increase the myelin layer in the peripheral nervous system”, according to the previous journal mentioned. (*)

In a 2015 published study analyzing withanolide biosynthesis, the leaves were shown to be higher in withanolides suggesting that these properties actually transfer to the root system.

From an herbalist’s perspective, most roots of medicinal plants are most potent and ready for harvest after the leaves begin to lose their vitality in the fall season. Therefore, this withanolide transfer from leaves to roots does make sense as this is generally the time that the weather changes, signaling plants to store up nutrients and energy in their root system to persevere the colder winter months. This is the best time to harvest ashwagandha.

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Aphrodisiac Properties and Benefits to the Reproductive System

Although considered an aphrodisiac for both men and women alike, ashwagandha is often viewed as a “male herb” and frequently compared to ginseng for its energy enhancing effects and ability to significantly heighten one’s sex drive.

According to herbalist Dr. Michael Tierra, “In the TCM system ashwagandha would be used as a Kidney Yang tonic because of its warming, aphrodisiac properties. One may have to take ashwagandha longer, at least a month, to notice its aphrodisiac effects.” (*)

In Ayurvedic medicine the roots are considered a top tonic herb for male sexual disorders, like low sex drive, impotence and infertility. In the classic Ayurvedic text Charaka Samhita, ashwagandha as well as mucuna pruriens, were identified in the same class of “vajikarana” herbs or reproductive tonics for promoting virility.

It has been identified in published research that the consumption of the root extract was shown to improve semen levels as well as provide an “increase in sperm concentration, ejaculate volume and motile sperm count” in addition to an “increase in the serum levels of testosterone.”

In another study it was stated that “Measuring various biochemical and stress parameters before and after treatment, suggested a definite role of stress in male infertility and the ability of W. somnifera to treat stress-related infertility.”

The health enhancing benefits of ashwagandha can be augmented with many other libido-supporting superfoods like pine pollen, schizandra, cistanche, tongkat ali, and cordyceps.

Ashwagandha’s Health Benefits for Women

Ashwagandha is also utilized as a helpful herb, along with a health promoting diet, for strengthening the female reproductive system. It is frequently combined with other Ayurvedic herbs such as shatavari as well as the Chinese blood tonic, dang quai and it is particularly useful in treatment of irregular menstruation and anemia.

Ashwagandha is also known to revitalize libido, improve sexual and reproductive functions for women as well as men.

In one study published in BioMed Research International it was recognized that supplementation with a high-concentration ashwagandha root extract was beneficial for improving sexual function in healthy women. “The results suggest that ashwagandha root extract could be useful for the treatment of FSD [Female Sexual Distress].”

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Potential Energy Tonic for Increasing Physical Strength

Like ginseng and astragalus, ashwagandha is also classified as a rejuvenative Chi (Qi) tonic because of its  claimed actions at increasing physical strength and muscle mass beneficial for a wide range of people including children, seniors as well as body builders. It can be a preferred, as well as less expensive, option to ginseng which can be too over-stimulating for some people.

As mentioned in the book “Rasayana, Ayurvedic Herbs for Rejuvenation and Longevity”, the Indian name ashwagandha translates as “ashwa”, meaning “horse”, and “gandha”, meaning “smell.” This makes reference to the freshly harvested roots, which are believed to have a strong scent with a horse-like odor. This is of no surprise as potent aromas are commonly the case with many tonic roots. We, however, find that the dried roots or powders have a fairly mild earthy scent. In Ayurvedic texts, this association is also equated to the strength and sexual stamina of horses or stallions.

In a study analyzing the effects of Withania somnifera on muscle strength and recovery, it was reported that “ashwagandha supplementation is associated with significant increases in muscle mass and strength and suggests that ashwagandha supplementation may be useful in conjunction with a resistance training program.”

While these tonifying effects are somewhat like the stimulating effects of Panax ginseng, ashwagandha is referenced by many herbalists as a nervine tonic known to have a more calming effect that is soothing to the nervous system. We actually liken it to be a combination of both American ginseng, which is slightly sedating, and Panax ginseng, which is more of an herbal stimulant. But, again these properties are more or less relevant depending on one’s unique constitution and health issues.

Energetically it has a warming nature that is not as hot as Panax ginseng or as cooling as American ginseng.

Traditionally ashwagandha can be combined in restorative energy formulations using tribulus, brahmi as well as the various types of ginseng roots.

Can Promote Restful Sleep

Ashwagandha root is commonly ground into a fine powder and traditionally blended with ghee, honey or milk and consumed before bedtime to promote restful sleep. The Latin word “somnifera” actually means “sleep inducer”, which makes reference to its sedative tranquilizing nature.

This aspect of Withania somnifera is especially helpful for Vata body types or women with menopausal sleep disturbance due to changing hormonal influences. We find that it is also helpful to mix the powder with an infusion of other nervines like skullcap and chamomile to increase overall effectiveness.

In addition, women experiencing peri or post-menopausal symptoms also might like to combine ashwagandha with other herbs like shatavari and Am. ginseng, both cooling herbs frequently used in herbal formulations specific for such female life cycles.

May Support an Increase Thyroid Hormones

Adaptogens also work to regulate endocrine functions and ashwagandha is particularly known for its ability to help stimulate certain thyroid hormones, like T3 and T4.

While consuming regular dose amounts of the powder, capsules or teas can be useful for those with hyperthyroidism or an under-active thyroid, we always recommend seeking the advice of a qualified medical practitioner before attempting self-treatment.

Earlier studies reveal that ashwagandha root extract can stimulate thyroid hormones and significantly increase thyroxine levels (T4) and in another 2014 published study conducted on patients with biopolar disorder, it was shown that “the thyroid enhancing properties of ASW [ashwagandha] may also represent a clinical opportunity for the treatment of subclinical (mild) hypothyroidism.”

 It is important to note that supplementing with ashwagandha has also been shown to cause thyrotoxicosis in some cases, a condition in which too much thyroid hormone is being produced. It is therefore important to consult your physician if you have either an under-active or over-active thyroid gland before using ashwagandha as a regular dietary supplement.

What is Black Garlic, Is It Better Than Raw Garlic

black-garlic-aged

Black garlic has a long history of use as a prized medicinal and culinary superfood in several Asian countries, primarily Korea, Japan and Thailand. It is often claimed to have originated in Korea where the aging process was thought to have been developed and perfected over many centuries.

Utilized today for its distinct flavor and texture as a gourmet ingredient, it is also becoming popular for its exceptional nutritional value that in some aspects supersedes the raw garlic it was created from.

Made from whole unpeeled Allium sativum bulbs, it is allowed to age for a period of time, eventually darkening the bulbs and turning the cloves a dark black licorice-like color.

Commercial aging or “fermentation” can range between 60-90 days or longer, depending on the designated temperature. This is achieved in a humidity-controlled setting using a specialized fermentation device in which ideal temperatures can range between 140-170°F (60–77°C).

When the moisture content is reduced to a certain level, the cloves blacken considerably and develop a unique soft sticky date-type consistency.

One of the most prominent features of black garlic is its taste, often described to have a slightly tangy yet subtly sweet flavor. To us it has a very unique but delicious taste, resembling a cross between shiitake, figs and balsamic vinegar.

The increase in sweetness is a result of fermentation in which the carbohydrates in raw garlic are broken down into simple sugars and the protein into amino acids. This essentially removes the spiciness and pungent flavor found in fresh cloves.

black-garlic-fermentation-or-aged

Is Black Garlic a Fermented Food?

While black garlic is often referred to as “fermented” it doesn’t actually involve specific microbial processes like other fermented foods.

Basically, the enzymes in raw garlic break down and encourage the Maillard reaction, a chemical occurrence between amino acids and reducing sugars known to “brown” food. This process is very similar to caramelization or the browning of sugar. It is therefore more accurate to say that it is “aged” rather than fermented.

However, according to some 2018 research, there has been some bacterial endophytes, like Bacillus, observed in black garlic production that have an affinity for high temperatures as well as the capacity to encourage fermentation. These are beneficial bacteria that are naturally present in fresh garlic and believed to play a role in aged garlic transformation, but are largely diminished at the end of BG aging.

So, while there is some truth to its reference as a “fermented food”, it is not found to contain high amounts of enzymes or probiotic benefits like other ferments, mostly because of the high heat exposure.

raw-garlic-versus-black-garlic

Black Garlic Versus Raw Garlic

Black Aged Garlic, Higher in Antioxidants Like SAC

So, what are the differences between black aged garlic vs. raw garlic? While fresh raw garlic or sprouted garlic is definitely a potent medicinal superfood, antibiotic and antiviral agent to include in the diet from time to time, when aged it essentially becomes much higher in antioxidant content.

The unstable compounds prominent in fresh garlic, such as alliin and allinase (which make allicin when garlic is crushed), essentially get converted after the aging process to potent substances that possess strong antioxidant activities. One of the major ones is a constituent known as S-allyl-cysteine or SAC. (*)

SAC, a water-soluble sulfurous compound and derivative of the amino acid cysteine, is amplified when subject to heat and the breakdown of protein. S-allyl-cysteine, compared to fresh garlic’s health-enhancing component “allicin”, is considered to be more stable and easily absorbed in the GI tract. It has been shown to encourage other enzymatic antioxidant activity as well as provide benefits as a powerful free radical scavenger and neuroprotective anti-inflammatory agent.

Along with S-allyl-cysteine, aged garlic also produces other antioxidants like S-allylmercaptocysteine, polyphenols, flavonoids and other lipid and water soluble organosulfur compounds. The process of garlic fermentation also likewise increases some of the “antioxidant nutrients”, such as zinc and selenium.

Because blackened aged garlic is much lower in moisture content its amino acids and other nutritional properties are considerably more concentrated. It is, in fact, identified in some research to have over 4 times as much polyphenol and flavonoid content.

Black Garlic Vs. Raw Garlic

Black Aged Garlic

  • Higher in Antioxidants
  • More Fiber and Protein
  • Easier to Digest
  • No Garlic Breath
  • Sweet and Tangy
  • Higher in Some Minerals
  • Mild Immune Boosting Effect

Fresh Raw Garlic

  • Higher Vitamin C
  • Less Acidic
  • Contains Allicin
  • Potent Antiviral
  • Natural Antibiotic
  • Spicy Pungent Flavor
  • Strong Immune Booster

Other Benefits of Black Aged Garlic

Fermenting garlic produces a sweet, tangy, mild umami-like flavor and removes the spicy pungent qualities, making it easier to digest for some people. It is often better tolerated by those with heat sensitivities or a Pitta body type. Because of the diminished allicin content, it also doesn’t give you “garlic breath” like the fresh variety.

After raw garlic is aged, it is higher in fiber, protein and certain minerals are also known to be increased, such as zinc, potassium, magnesium, iron, manganese, phosphorous and selenium.

Some scientific observation shows that black aged garlic has a more acidic pH than fresh garlic, which is 1-2 points more alkaline. According to one study, “the pH of BG [Blk Garlic} significantly decreased from 5.27 to 4.01 during thermal processing, compared with 6.29 for FG [Fresh Garlic}.”

Research on Black Garlic, Potential Health Enhancing Properties

In recent years there has been quite a bit of research demonstrating the protective benefits of black garlic consumption for a number of health conditions.

Black fermented garlic has been scientifically acknowledged as beneficial for:

  • Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (*)
  • Cholesterol Metabolism and Cardiovascular Health (*) (*)
  • Neurogenerative Conditions and Cognitive Functions (*) (*)

Make Your Own DIY Black Garlic

The price of black aged garlic bulbs, cloves or supplements can be quite high compared to fresh garlic because of the required fermentation process. However, if you’re serious about using it on a regular basis, it can be made DIY style using a rice cooker or a purchased black garlic fermenter.

The latter is a modern specialized appliance that keeps the garlic at a uniform temperature using a humidity controlled system. You simply place in your whole raw bulbs and push a button. From our research, most brands will ferment or age the garlic in about 8-12 days at a temperature of 100-170°F.

Black aged garlic has a much longer shelf life than raw garlic, but is usually best when preserved in a cool place or refrigerated.

Precautions:

Black garlic when consumed in large quantities may cause gastrointestinal upset and should be avoided if you have allergies to garlic or members of the onion family. Seek the advice of your healthcare provider if you are pregnant, nursing, taking prescribed medications or have a serious medical illness.