From the Editor
TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) teaches “food and herbs come from the same source.” By using natural foods and herbs to balance the body, the body’s energy is restored which is crucial for wellness and longevity.
Both wellness and longevity are part of the process of nature. In order to maximize physical and mental well-being, we need to change the way we treat ourselves, the way we think, and the way we treat the environment that we live in. At the same time, we have to recognize that no one lives forever; there is no “magic elixir” that enables us to become immortal. But we can age gracefully in a natural and spiritual way. We must follow nature’s law – all life on the planet has its own life cycle. Mother Nature (the earth) provides nutritional energy (Qi) packed in “food” with healing powers. We need to learn how to utilize it according to our unique needs and capacities.
In our modern society, food and medicine are totally different entities. And nutritional values all point to supplements from vitamin A-Z, protein and fiber contents. Unfortunately, we use the same modern jargon to classify natural plants and food. However, we have left out something that doesn’t fit commercial jargon – the real healing power of food.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) the three most vital components for life are Jing (physical body), Qi (energy), and Shen (spirit). They are the so-called “Three Treasures.” A good diet not only nourishes our physical body and our organs, giving us vital energy, but it also nourishes our spirit. When Chinese medicine speaks of organs, it refers more to the energetic function of each organ than to anatomy only, as in Western medicine. If a person has a weakness in a certain organ and an imbalance between organs, as part of the treatment protocol, the diet can be modified to reestablish the balance and strength.
Natural food can be categorized as bitter, sweet, pungent, salty, and/or bland. Each taste corresponds to the promotion and nourishment of a particular organ function. As with different tastes, food also has different colors, each with corresponding tendencies to nourish different organs. For example, black-colored foods tends to nourish the kidneys, yellow foods tend to nourish the spleen, red foods correspond to the heart, green foods to the liver, and white foods to the lungs. Natural foods have different temperatures that balance the coldness and warmness of the imbalanced body as part of healing property.
In ancient times, people lived closer to nature in more integrated communities. Over thousands of years, through observation and by surviving many diseases and natural disasters, they discovered how various foods promoted longevity and well-being. Many of these longevity-promoting foods and herbs have been recorded in the history of Chinese medicine, including sesame seeds (especially black sesame seeds), mulberries, walnuts, wild yams, wolfberries (goji berries), and yogurt, to name a few.
All living creatures (including humans) are on the same energy wave line with the earth and universe. We are all sensitive to environmental changes, seasonal changes, cosmos changes and life stages. Our energetic body reflects other energetic living things in the same environment with the same adaptability and resistance to local environmental changes.
We need to eat locally organically grown food that will provide the body with better resistance and strength for healing. This concept has been utilized in TCM for centuries. A simple example: imagining a human body as a natural plant with a flower on the top as a human face; plant’s stem and branches as a human’s four limbs; plants leaves as our hands and feet; and plant’s roots as our internal organs. Based on this understanding, TCM herbalists using herbs to treat problems on the face use ingredients from flowers (the top of plant); stem from plants usually treat the blockage on the meridian of the limbs and joints, and the roots and seeds for the disorders in internal organs.
Our goal is to educate and guide our readers to choose the right foods for a nourishing life and for healing. It requires a life time practice to reach our maximum life span (heavenly age). It is called Yang Sheng (Nourishing life).
Yang Sheng, an online magazine, is on the cutting edge in bringing the most natural methods; thousands of years of wisdom and life style practices back to our modern society. Indeed, we are fortunate to have a range of talented practitioners, coaches, energy healers and teachers to further this mission.
As the author of Body Without Mystique, and practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine, I am on the same mission.
Yang Sheng, Associate Editor and Guest Editor for October