Chinese Medicine Basics for Wellbeing
Vitality is most often measured by the quality and quantity of a person’s qi. Qi is similar to our idea of energy. It is an activating force in the body. Qi helps our bodies move, digest, think, grow, and transform. When we are in good health, our qi is abundant and flowing smoothly. When our qi diminishes or gets stuck, we find ourselves weak, ill, or in pain.
Balance is also required for the true picture of health and wellbeing in Chinese medicine. Balance between yin and yang, qi and blood, and all the organ systems ensures that the body is functioning well, resting well, and preventing disease.
Chinese medicine takes all aspects of life into account when considering wellbeing. Not only can we promote physical health, but mental, emotional, and spiritual health as well.
Major Organ Systems and General Wellbeing and Health:
The Kidneys are the root of all energy and life in the body. They store a special type life-giving energy savings account. Over time, we spend our reserves (through work, stress, drugs and alcohol, childbirth, illness, and simply living) and the result is aging. To prevent early aging and encourage a long and healthy life, we can support our Kidneys with herbal tonics.
Since the Spleen is a key player in making qi, Spleen tonics are often used in preventative herbal formulas. A healthy Spleen system can ensure good energy, quality sleep, and a strong immune system.
Heart and Liver
Mental health is just as important as physical health. In fact, they are one and the same in Chinese medicine. While all organ systems play a part in mental and emotional health, the Heart and Liver have a big impact. Tonics often help soothe the Heart to ease emotional strain and promote quality sleep. Other herbs can be used to keep the Liver in check and reduce stress, anger, and depression.
Common Well-being and Tonic Treatments in Chinese Medicine
Well-being is achieved with five different approaches in Chinese medicine. Acupuncture is an effective way to relieve stress and boost the body’s energy in both times of wellness and illness. It can prevent disease and strengthen our immunity. A healthy diet that balances our own constitution is also key for wellness. Exercise (specifically tai chi and qi gong) is well-known for encouraging wellness and longevity. Massage, called “tui na” in Chinese medicine, is used to help improve the flow of qi and blood through the channels and heal tissues to prevent injuries. Finally, Chinese herbs are used to keep our balance and promote wellness.
Chinese Health Tonics for Well-being
Herbal formula tonics are divided into four groups: qi tonics, blood tonics, yin tonics, and yang tonics. We all have a unique constitution that leans towards a particular weakness, so these tonics can help us restore a healthy balance based on our areas of deficiency.
Qi Tonics: Supplements qi to boost energy and vitality. Useful for those who are chronically tired, lack motivation, feel weak, or have digestive trouble.
Blood Tonics: Supports and boosts the blood to improve sleep, energy, menstruation, mood, and strength.
Yin Tonics: Nourishes the yin of the body to fight dryness, heat, skin conditions, aging, restlessness, and anxiety.
Yang Tonics: Supports the body’s “fire” to keep us warm, active, and engaged. Helpful for those who tend to feel cold, have cold-type pain or weakness, incontinence, and low libido.
A Sampling of Tonic Formulas:
Bu Zhong Yi Qi Wan: This formula is a qi tonic that targets the Spleen and helps with general fatigue, poor appetite, lethargy/fatigue, and abdominal bloating and distention.
Yang Rong Wan (Cultivate Splendor): This formula is popular in China as a general tonic for the aging. It nourishes systemic deficiencies of qi, blood, yin, and yang to address such symptoms as fatigue, cold limbs/aversion to cold, insomnia and palpitations, and spontaneous sweating. Great for the elderly or those recovering from prolonged illness.
Si Jun Zi Wan (Four Gentlemen): Si Jun Zi Tang is the basic formula in TCM used to tonify Spleen qi (i.e. aid digestion, reduce abdominal bloating, etc…).
(Clinicians: see also Si Jun Zi Tang (Six Gentlemen), which add two herbs to address nausea/vomiting, and Xiang Sha Liu Zun Zi Tang (Six Gentlemen Plus), which adds three more herbs to address nausea/vomiting and food stagnation).
Si Wu Wan (Four Substances Teapills): Si Wu Tang (Four Substances Decoction) is the base formula in TCM for tonifying Blood.
(Clinicians: see also Tao Hong Si Wu Tang a variation of this formula with two herbs added to invigorate blood).
Liu Wei Di Huang Wan (Six Flavor Rehmania): This is the base tonic formula in TCM to address Kidney Yin deficiency. It is useful for things like irregular menses, fatigue, insomnia, night sweats, lower back pain, etc…
Wu Ji Bai Feng Wan (White Phoenix): Excellent tonic formula based off of Black Chicken White Phoenix soup, which is a traditional Chinese soup given to help people recover from from chronic disease, surgery, or difficult child birth. The formula itself is excellent for bouncing back from immediate post-menstrual fatigue/low-energy as well as to help regulate irregular menses.
Jiao Gu Lan Wan: A single herb formula, Jiao Gu Lan tonifies Heart, Kidney, and Lung qi and has a wide array of effects, including reducing LDL cholesterol and increasing stamina. Follow this link to read the full description of the benefits of this herb.
Ba Ji Yin Yang Wan (Morinda Teapills): This is a Kidney yang tonic that is useful to address such symptoms as low libido, frequent nighttime urination, and lower back pain (when cool to the touch).
Jin Gui Shen Qi Wan (Golden Book): Classic formula (based on Six Flavor Rehmania) to tonify Kideny Yang… addresses lower back soreness, fatigue, frequent nighttime urination, and feeling cold/cold hands and feet.
Special Chinese Herbs for Tonic Formulas
The following are important herbs used in our popular tonic formulas.
Ren Shen and Huang Qi/ Ginseng and Astragalus: These two herbs are popular energy boosters that support the body’s ability to make qi.
Dang Gui/Angelica root: Dang gui is a traditional blood tonic, helping to stimulate the production of quality blood while also ensuring healthy blood flow.
Shu Di Huang/ Radix Rehmanniae Preparata: Sheng di huang is a dark, rich root that is commonly used in tonic formulas to strongly nourish the yin and blood.
Shop our Collection of Health Tonics and Well-being Herbal Formulas
Prevention is the best medicine. Chinese medicine shines when it comes to nurturing our body’s natural desire to be well. Herbal formulas are available for all body types and constitutions to help you thrive in balance. Shop our collection to find a Chinese herbal tonic for you.