Chinese herbalism is the system of herbal healthcare developed over the last 5,000 years in far east Asia. The Chinese have chronicled their discoveries and have passed the knowledge along from generation to generation creating the most fully developed sophisticated herbal system in the world.
The Chinese are known to have recorded and preserved the oldest herbal text known in the world; The Divine Farmer's Classic of Herbalism. This classic was the work of a large number of physicians and herbal masters compiled and written over many centuries. It is so amazing and extraordinary because it presents an organized system of categorizing the herbs, proven and tested methods that still produce results, and is still used today Today, there are more than 5,000 species of herbs and plants used in Chinese herbalism.
One of the primary principles that distinguish Chinese herbalism from other health systems is the attitude that the Chinese and other Asian societies have taken toward health. The Chinese have created a body of knowledge that places emphasis on promoting health and longevity as opposed to emphasizing remedial methods. Unlike no other society or system, they focus on health instead of disease. This is a great contrast to the western allopathic medicine that focus on treating the disease with drugs and surgery, after they have occurred. According to Eastern wisdom, the promotion of health is one of the great secrets of a long, satisfying and happy life. This is also the mind set that creates the basis for radiant health. In Chinese herbalism radiant health is considered the highest level of health a person can attain. It is defined as “health beyond danger.” This happens when a person is so internally strong and adaptive to virtually all normal and extreme stresses and is therefore capable of overcoming most serious dangers.
Another health attitude adopted by Asians is longevity. It is universally regarded as one of life’s primary goals. Western culture seems to downplay the beauty of achieving great longevity. As an example, the average life expectancy of a Japanese woman is eighty-six years. It is a good idea to start thinking about longevity as an attainable realistic goal. When we watch our health and promote our well being on a steady basis, we can reach old age without undue suffering. This way the latter years of our lives can truly be experienced and enjoyed without the pain and suffering from various ailments and diseases. It is wise to seek radiant health while we are still young so that we can live a long, healthy, exciting and happy life.
Through the interaction of yin and yang, energy is created. Chinese philosophy is founded on the energetic nature of all things. Yin and yang can be defined as opposing energies, such as earth and heaven, winter and summer, and happiness and sadness. When yin and yang are in balance, you feel relaxed and energized. When they are out of balance, however, yin and yang negatively affect your health.
The Chinese word for energy is known as qi (pronounced "chee"). Qi permeates all things in the universe and is the most motivating force of all activity. In order for yin and yang to be balanced and for the body to be healthy, qi must be balanced and flowing freely. When there's too little or too much qi in one of the body's energy pathways (called meridians), or when the flow of qi is blocked, illness results.
In the Taoist tradition, which forms the foundation of the traditional Oriental healing and health promoting arts, there are said to be Three Treasures that in effect constitute one’s life. They are known as Jing, Qi and Shen. There are no exact English translations for these terms, but they are generally translated as Jing- Essence-, Qi- Vitality, and Shen- Spirit The ultimate goal of all of the Oriental healing and health promoting arts is to cultivate, balance, and expand the Three Treasures.