A Brief introduction to Tonic Herbs...

Nutrition plays an enormous role in promoting general health and wellbeing. It has been noted that 85% of the foodstuffs that we commonly consume supply a mere 15% of our total nutritional intake. This means that we rely on the other 15% of our food to meet 85% of daily nutritional needs. If this is true, it would only seem logical that, if we wanted to be really healthy, we would seek to include as many of the higher quality foods from the upper 15% category as possible in our day to day diet. This would seem to afford a substantial benefit by maximizing the amount of nutritional value in each bite of food.

What if we could take this principle even farther? What if we could concentrate our efforts on the healthiest 2% of available foods? Think of the advantage gained by cutting the gross amount of empty "filler" in our diet and replacing it with the most super of all "superfoods". This is entirely possible through the consumption of "Tonic Herbs".

Tonic herbs represent an elite group of roots, barks, leaves, fruits, etc. which have been discovered to contain healthful benefits significantly higher than the foods that we normally consume. By definition a tonic herb is one that promotes health and wellbeing above and beyond what is considered normal. According to the molecular and energetic profile of each specific herb, and working through a multiplicity of different channels, the various substances that constitute the 'tonic herbs' have a wide variety of influence on human health.

For thousands of years, tonic herbs have been consumed by a wide variety of different cultures. Two of the more well chronicled tonic traditions exist in both the Ayurvedic healing system of India and the traditional medicine of China. Both of these traditions look beyond the obvious material physical benefits of these substances for deeper healing qualities found on the level of subtle energy. In Traditional Chinese Medicine the human body is associated with three basic forms of this subtle energy: Jing (basic primordial essence--largely inherited from one's parents), Qi (vitality--largely derived from one's dietary intake), and Shen (spirit--largely cultivated through spiritual practice). Each of these subsidiary energies is part of the total package that constitute the energetic fields that surround and permeate the physical body. Called, respectively, Ojas, Tejas, and Prana in Ayurvedic terminology, these three energies need to be cultivated as to quantity and quality to provide the prerequisite backdrop for optimal physical health. A tonic herb is defined as one that nourishes at least one of these three basic energies. Some herbs nourish two, while the truly elite tonics nourish all three.

It should be noted that while the total pharmacopoeia of India and China includes hundreds, if not thousands, of herbal substances, only the top few receive the designation of "Tonic". These are what are referred to as "Superior Herbs" in the Chinese tradition and "Rasayana" in Ayurvedic terminology. The more common 'inferior" herbs are "medicinal" in nature and used situationally to rectify specific imbalances. They come replete with side effects and are normally only employed temporarily. Tonic herbs not only help restore general balance but then raise the total level of vitality beyond 'normal' levels. These special herbs, typically, are devoid of undesirable side effects and can be safely consumed regularly over long periods of time.

It is interesting to observe that while these herbs have been used globally for thousands of years, modern science has recently taken up the cause and, through the scientific method, validated many ancient claims. In fact, the modern pharmaceutical industry derives many of its patented drugs from synthesizing various components of both Ayurvedic and Chinese herbs. One of the most easily verifiable merits of tonic herbs has to do with their ability to supply rare vitamins and minerals that are often lacking in modern diets. This includes both macro and micro-nutrients. Since adequate levels of vitamins and minerals are essential for optimal health and vitality, this factor alone suggests the advantage of consuming these substances.

The ancients, as part of their system of categorization of the different properties of herbal substances paid particular attention to the taste of different plant matter. The Chinese system recognize five major taste groups: bitter, astringent, sour, sweet, and pungent. The Ayurvedic system divides the 'pungent' category into both pungent and salty so, thus, includes six major groups. Each of these tastes came with different general healing qualities. A diet laden with a good balance of these tastes was viewed as essential for optimal health. Many 'healing' qualities are associated with the sour, astringent, and especially, bitter tastes. These are the flavors most dramatically lacking in the typical modern diet. Tonic herbs help bridge this gap.

Tonic herbs operate in many various ways to increase vitality. These would include: boosting the immune system, supporting one or more of the various organs, cleaning and detoxifying the tissues, aiding the digestion, optimizing the elimination of wastes, tonifying the brain and nervous system, and, as mentioned, increasing and balancing the various energies that constitute the 'subtle' bodies. Each individual herb has it's own unique way of influencing physical, mental, and spiritual vitality.

Both Indian and Chinese herbalists recognized the benefit of synergistic combinations of herbal substances. When properly combined, the various components enhance each other in ways that maximize the beneficial aspects of the individual herbs so that 'the whole is greater than the sum of the parts'. Thus, in both traditions, numerous formulas are employed. Some of these formulations are thousands of years old while others continue to evolve in present times.

Tonics are consumed in a wide variety of ways. The simplest method is to dry and powder the herbs and then swallow them as normal food. In present times this is often done by pressing them in pills or else encapsulating them in a gelatin capsule. The Chinese have traditionally employed decoctions of herbs. This entails making a 'tea' by simmering the dried herbs in water. Tincturing in alcohol is one of the most effective methods of preserving and delivering the medicinal qualities of herbs. The Ayruvedic healers would often create a formulation of powdered herbs and then mix them with honey and/or ghee to form an edible paste. Different herbs lend themselves to differing methods of administration. Substances like ethyl alcohol, honey, and ghee were employed, not only because of their preservative qualities but, also, as a way of delivering the essence of the herb deep into the body.

Some tonics are so accessible that the effects can be felt immediately upon consumption but others may take weeks or months until they have penetrated the body tissues and begun to work their magic. It is usually best to develop a program using a variety of these tonic substance for a more holistic effect.

 

 

Featured Herbal Products From Pantrix...we are pleased to offer a limited supply of our favorite herbal tonic formulations in tincture, paste, and capsule form...most of the combinations are based on classic Chinese and Ayurvedic formuations while a few of them are our own...

 

Tinctures:

*Alcohol tinctured Chinese herbs in 60ml dropper bottles

Adaptogenic
Adaptogenic formula contains a balanced spectrum of many of the top supertonic adaptogenic Chinese herbs. An adaptogenic herb is one that has a 'nonspecific' modulating effect on the the body, boosting its ability to adapt to stressors in the environment. This combination works on a wide variety of the body's various systems, nurturing all of the "Three Treasures". Most of these herbs are 'double directional' meaning that they have the capacity to either boost or suppress elements of the physiology in order to balance or 'normalize' the entire system. Anybody and everybody can benefit from taking this formula regularly to maintain optimal vitality in the face of our modern stressful lifestyles. 60ml/600 Baht

Three Treasures Tonic
This is one of the most classic of all Chinese tonic formulas. It supports all three of the basic energies that combine for optimal human health and vitality. By tonifying the Jing (both yin and yang), nourishing the Qi, and strengthening and supporting the Shen, Three Treasures Tonic is a vitalizing full spectrum tonic which helps maximize human potential. 60ml/500 Baht

Three Sisters Plus
Three Sisters Plus is a superb woman's tonic that benefits the young and old alike. It combines three fruits that have been traditionally renowned for for their power to keep a woman young and beautiful in body, spirit, and mind. The addition of Dang Gui adds a dimension of blood tonification and menstrual regulation. Three Sisters Plus puts the twinkle back in a woman's eye and keeps it there. 60ml/400 Baht

Stem Cell Magic
Stem Cell Magic features deer antler combined with many of the top supertonic Chinese herbs. This combination is a major revitalizing formula. While giving a major boost to the Jing energy to encourage strength and power, it also supports dynamic Qi function. Stem Cell Magic is perfect for anyone looking to build and maintain optimal vitality. 60ml/700 Baht

Reishi
Reishi mushroom is one of the jewels of the Chinese pharmacopoeia. Few substances can match its full spectrum affects. Its wide-ranging properties support all three treasures (Jing, Qi, and Shen) as well as the heart, liver, lungs, and kidneys. It is legendary for its double-directional ability to modulate an out of balance immune system. Long held in high esteem by Taoist and Buddhist monks in China, reishi promotes clear minded well being and deep inner peace. 60ml/400 Baht

Shen Tonic
While Shen Tonic has a broad affect on health and vitality, it specializes in enhancing the 'Shen' energy. Shen is the most subtle of the Three Treasures and represents the mental/spiritual component of the Three
Treasure system. Perfect for yogis, martial artists, meditators, and spiritual seekers of all paths, Shen Tonic supports expansive mental clarity, emotional stability, and physical ease. The perfect compliment to the practice of life! 60ml/500 Baht

Eucommia
Eucommia is a powerful "yang" kidney herb. It is one of the rare Chinese herbs that is balanced enough to stand alone in a formula with out any other additions. It is known to build "Jing" Qi and is used to strengthen the bones, muscles, and connective tissues of the body. For this reason it is popular with Yogi's and martial artists. Eucommia is also used for endocrine support and to help maintain healthy sexual function in both men and women. 60ml/500 Baht

Woman's Hormonal Helper
Hormonal balance is critical for optimum health and vitality. Woman' Hormonal Helper is a collection of herbs which helps modulate a woman's hormone levels. Modulation implies strategically boosting hormones that are weak and gently suppressing those that are overly dominant. In the modern environment, all women should consider adding hormonal support to their health and wellness plan. 60ml/500 Baht

Love Potion #9
Enhance your romance. Helps make those hot nights even hotter. Based on the combination of Eucommia and Epimedium, Love Potion #9 helps fortify the kidneys and adrenal glands by boosting the "Jing" energy. In general Kidney tonics fortify the system's basic vitality and, as a part of this process, give one's sexuality a lift. Simply put, Love Potion #9 is a great aphrodasic! 60ml/500 Baht

Anti-inflammatory
Chronic inflammation is a common result of today's stressful, sedentary, lifestyles. Lack of exercise, stress, constant exposure to environmental toxicity and poor dietary habits leaves our immune system in a state of extreme confusion leading to an almost imperceptible, low level, whole body inflammatory condition. This then becomes the cause and/or symptom of a wide variety of physical ailments. Anti-inflammatory Mix contains contains five of the most effective, time tested anti-inflammatory herbs. These herbs are nutritious, gentle and an extremely safe way to 'cool' down an aging and/or worn out body. 60 ml/400 Baht

 

Aromatase Inhibitor
Modern humanity is currently struggling with the many symptoms of hormone imbalance. Environmental and dietary factors, as well as aging can have a deeply destabilising effect on hormonal balance. A very common relsult is what is known as 'estrogen dominance'. Estrogen dominance is the underlying cause of many women's complaints but this is not confined to the female half of the population. One of the contributing factors leading to estrogen dominance is aromatasation. Aromatisation is the process whereby the body (in the fat cells) converts androgenic hormones into estrogen. In the modern climate with its overabundance of estrogenic influences, aromatisation can tip the scales even more sharply to the side of excessive amounts of estrogens coupled with an androgen deficit. This estrogen dominant hormonal imbalance surfaces as breast cancer, uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, menstrual problems, and acne to name but a few female complaints but also loss of libido, belly fat, and prostate problems in men. While people of all ages are subject to the effects of hormone imbalance, this is an increasingly big problem as we age. Aromatase Inhibitor is a mixture of the preeminent aromatase inhibiting herbs and is designed to curtail excessive aromatisation. This mixture can be consumed daily as an important part of the daily regimen for women and men of any age. 60ml/400 Baht

Mountain Ant
Although the thought of consuming extract of ant is a very foreign idea to most westerners, tinctured ant extract has long been treasured in the orient as a top quality tonic in the same league as Ginseng, Astragalus, Reishi, Jiaogulan, etc.. Ants can carry 80-100 times their own body weight and, indeed, ant extract is renowned for it's ability to increase strength and stamina. It is an adaptogenic substance with a double directional effect on the immune system. It is also considered to be one of nature's preeminent anti-aging substances as it strengthens almost every major system in the body. Mountain Ant is taken from a special species of non-toxic Chinese ant and provides such a noticable energy boost that 'ant elixir' has become legendary with hard working Chinese youth in modern China. 60ml/500 Baht

Woman's Monthly
Woman's Monthly has a broad effect on woman's hormonal balance. Based on the classic combination of Bupleurum, Peony Root, and Dang Gui, Woman's Daily has proven effective in relation to a wide variety of woman's complaints such as premenstrual syndrome, irregular menstruation, and hormone related emotional imbalances, etc.. Hundreds of years of history have made this a standby for generations of grateful woman 60ml/400 Baht

 

Capsules:

*Powdered Ayurvedic herbs in packets of 60 gelatin capsules

Yoga Soma
Yoga Soma is a classic mixture of eight of the most essential Ayurvedic tonic herbs. This broad-spectrum blend nourishes the "life energy", comprehensively supports the major bodily systems, and has a dynamic effect on the total balance of health and vitality. Because of the "rasayana" nature of the herbs, Yoga Soma is safe to consume regularly over an extended period of time. If one had to choose a single tonic formulation for daily consumption, this might well be it. 60 capsules/150 Baht

Apana Rasayana
Apana Rasayana is a well balanced formula meant to encourage the downward flow of "apana" in the human energy complex. Ayurvedic medicine considers healthy digestion as paramount for total health and vitality. The apanic energy stimulates the body's digestive process to set the stage for optimum health. Based on an enhanced version of the classic "Trifala" combination of the three fruits amlaki, haritaki, and bibitaki, Apana Rasayana is well suited for digestive problems, or else, as an all round tonic which promotes tremendous health and vitality. In Ayruvedic thought, this symbiotic combination should be a regular part of one's daily
health regiment. 60 capsules/150 Baht

Woman's Daily
Woman's Daily is the combination of Shatavari and Aloe Vera. These are the two preeminent tonic herbs for the female reproductive system. Proven over the millennium, this combination is meant to be consumed daily as a way or normalizing the feminine hormonal balance to help soothe "female complaints" of all types. 60 capsules/200 Baht

Mind Tonic
Mind Tonic is a combination of the most recognized "nervine" herbs from the ayurvedic tradition. This formula clears, sharpens, and calms the mind while having a general tonic effect on the entire nervous system. Recommended for many sufferers of "anxiety" related disorders, these herbs can be used by anyone to generally boost the mental function. This combination is safe and free of side-effects. Regular usage has an uplifting "rasayana" effect on total health and vitality. 60 capsules/200 Baht

Fountain of Youth Formula
Fountain of Youth Formula is a potent blend of many of the finest 'anti-aging' herbs from both the Ayurvedic and Chinese Traditional herbal systems. Working from many different collective perspectives, these herbs combine to ease or eliminate many of the common complaints associated with the aging process. While Fountain of Youth Formula is effective for those who have already arrived at an advanced age, it is also recommended to younger people who wish to take a more proactive stance and mature gracefully. This is a classic 'tonic' herbal combination. 60 capsules/200 Baht

Liv Alive
Liv Alive is a formulation of liver support herbs from the Ayurvedic tradition. This dynamic combination is designed for daily use as a way of cleaning, strengthening, and toning this critical internal organ. Liv Alive can be taken regularly to insure optimal function of the Liver.60 capsules/150 Baht

Skin Special
Skin Special is a time honored Ayurvedic formula used throughout the ages to promote glowig healthy skin. While most common modern skin treatments work form the "outside-in", Skin Special takes the oposite approach to skin health. In the eastern traditions the skin is viewed as a reflection of inner health. Working from within, Skin Special enhances the inner environment which is reflected in glowing, unblemished, healthy skin. This formula can be consumed regularly as part of a daily regimen. 60 capsules/150 Baht

Anti-Parasitic Formula
Internal parasites are the problem nobody likes to talk about. With the state of modern health, as a general rule, it is not uncommon for us to pick up 'hitch-hikers' in the form of intestinal parasites. Intestinal parasites come in two general categories: worms and single celled protozoans. These can exist in the gastro-intestinal tract for years with no obvious external symptoms. While international travelers are at particular risk, people from all areas of the world are suseptable. Our Anti-Parasitic Formula is a blend of safe herbs that alter the inner environment to discourage intestinal parasites of all varieties. This formula is meant to be consumed temporarily as the need arises. 60 capsules/150 Baht

Aromatase Inhibitor
Modern humanity is currently struggling with the many symptoms of hormone imbalance. Environmental and dietary factors, as well as aging can have a deeply destabilising effect on hormonal balance. A very common relsult is what is known as 'estrogen dominance'. Estrogen dominance is the underlying cause of many women's complaints but this is not confined to the female half of the population. One of the contributing factors leading to estrogen dominance is aromatasation. Aromatisation is the process whereby the body (in the fat cells) converts androgenic hormones into estrogen. In the modern climate with its overabundance of estrogenic influences, aromatisation can tip the scales even more sharply to the side of excessive amounts of estrogens coupled with an androgen deficit. This estrogen dominant hormonal imbalance surfaces as breast cancer, uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, menstrual problems, and acne to name but a few female complaints but also loss of libido, belly fat, and prostate problems in men. While people of all ages are subject to the effects of hormone imbalance, this is an increasingly big problem as we age. Aromatase Inhibitor is a mixture of the preeminent aromatase inhibiting herbs and is designed to curtail excessive aromatisation. This mixture can be consumed daily as an important part of the daily regimen for women and men of any age. 60 capsules/150 Baht

Brain Booster
This very well conceived combination of tonic herbs targets the brain to increase clarity and sharpen the mental facility. While containing some of the same principle nervine herbs as 'Mind Tonic', Brain Booster is focused less on calming the nervous system but, rather, stimulating cognitive function. Brain Booster contains herbs that both tonify the nervous system as well as stimulate the cranial blood circulation. This not only hightens mental acuity and improves learning capacity but also promotes improvement in the eyes, ears, nose, ect.. 60 capsules/150 Baht

Anti-inflammatory Mix
Chronic inflammation is a common result of today's stressful, sedentary, lifestyles. Lack of exercise, stress, constant exposure to environmental toxicity and poor dietary habits leaves our immune system in a state of extreme confusion leading to an almost imperceptible, low level, whole body inflammatory condition. This then becomes the cause and/or symptom of a wide variety of physical ailments. Anti-inflammatory Mix contains contains five of the most effective, time tested anti-inflammatory herbs. These herbs are nutritious, gentle and an extremely safe way to 'cool' down an aging and/or worn out body. 60 capsules/150 Baht

 

Kidney Care
The kidney's role in physical health centers around their ability to influence the liquid content of the body. As we are over 70% water in terms of our total constitution, healthy kidneys are vital for optimal physical health. From a more esoteric perspective, the linkage of the kidneys with the Muladhara Chakra means that healthy kidneys help affirm our connection with this particular embodiment in this particular incarnation. Kidney Care combines the best Ayurvedic herbs in a strategic combination to detoxify and tonify these vital organs. 60 capsules/150 Baht

 

Blood Purifier
Blood Purifier, as the name implies, is a formulation of herbs aimed at keeping the blood clean. This combination can be used for acute problems or as a general tonic. 60 capsules/150 Baht

 

*We also have individual selected Ayurvedic and Chinese herbs available in packets of 60 gelatin capsules

 

Paste:

Shilajit
Considered one of the miracles of Ayurveda, Shilajit is not really an herb, per se. It is a black or brownish tar-like pitch which exudes from rocks in the high Himalaya mountains on warm sunny days. Although it remains largely a mysterious substance, it is thought to be primordial fossilized mosses and plant matter. This remarkable substance is treasured for it's properties as both a detoxifier and it's ability to build tissue. It is replete with many of the essential trace elements that are lacking in the modern diet and is a primary medicine for a great variety of diseases. Shilajit is is an amazing rejuvenative and is one of the best anti-aging medicines. It is famous in India as a sexual tonic. It is also very effective in dissolving "bad calcium". As nano-calcium accumulation is looked upon as the symptom/cause of a large spectrum of physical disfunctions including chronic aging, this is an important attribute. Shilajit is a very gentle substance and makes for a wonderful daily tonic medicine. 60 mililiter glass jar/600 Baht

 

Herbal Kits: (These are complete protocols that come complete with the various herbs, other various accouterments, and instructions for a complete day by day program to address various needs)

Liver Detox Kit Liver health is of paramount importance to a happy healthy life. Modern life with its continous onslaught of pollution, pesticides, bad food, and stress puts a great strain on the liver. This causes an accumulation of various toxic substances which impede the organ from performing its many vital tasks. The resultant lack of optimal liver function resonates throughout the entire body as a generalized lack of vitality. This 30 day program will provide you with all of the herbs, tools, and day to day instructions to detoxify and revitalize your liver. 1,500 Baht

On the Road Again (traveler's survival kit) Hardly anything puts more strain on the human body than continuous travel. Bad food, irregular sleep, lack of proper exercise, mental stress, and exposure to foreign pathogens drag down our natural vitality. The irregularities of the travel lifestyle suppress the immune system and destabilize the natural rhythms of life. The various herbs and tinctures in this all-in-one kit will help maintain optimal energy levels, calm and clear the mind, and support the immune system to insure a healthy and happy vacation. 30 day supply. Instructions are provided. 1,200 Baht

 

Other useful items: (While not herbs, per se, this group includes various items that we find useful as part of an intelligent health strategy)

Magnesium Oil Magnesium is an essential mineral. It functions as a 'potentator' for numerous molecular reactions in the body. Studies indicate that a vast majority of moderns humans are severely 'magnesium deficient'. Magnesium deficiency has been implicated as an important causative factor in the etiology of a wide variety modern illnesses. It is renown for it's relaxing effect on the muscles and nervous system. Unfortunately many people do not tolerate oral magnesium and the absorption rate is minuscule. Transdermal application of magnesium (Magnesium Oil) is the very best way to administer this essential mineral. 60ml/200 Baht

Colloidal Silver Colloidal Silver has long been revered for its medicinal properties. Before pharmaceutical companies monopolised the production and distribution of medicine, silver was used around the world and throughout history as an important adjunct to health protocols. Its is completely anti-microbial and far surpasses antibiotics in both efficiency and safety. It can be used both topically and internally and, in correct therapeutic doses, is very well tolerated by the body. 60ml/250 Baht

 

 

 

 

Descriptions of various individual Tonic Herbs...

 

Selected Tonic Herbs from the Chinese Tradition:

Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) Astragalus is very high on the list of popular tonic herbs. It is a Qi booster which helps strengthen almost every bodily function and is especially esteemed for its ability to fortify the upright posture and keep the organs from succumbing to the pull of gravity. It also strengthens the 'protective qi' which circulates beneath the skin and in the muscle. It is a very powerful antioxidant and its high saponin content renders it a potent double-directional immunomodulator aiding the immune response to various stressors. Components present in astragalus have been found to protect the telomeres that shield the DNA. Because of this astragalus is one of the very top anti-aging herbs.

Dang Qui (Angelica sinensis) In a general sense, Dang Qui is a superb blood tonic. Known as 'Angelica' in much of the world, this potent but mild root is used to build the blood by increasing red blood cells, and boosting blood volume. This is known to have a positive effect on the spleen, kidneys. and liver. Because of its ability to improve circulation to, and thus, detox the skin, it is a common additive to cosmetic formulas. Dang Qui is, perhaps, most famous for its properties as a gynecological regulator. It is through its remarkable abilities as a 'woman's herb' that it is most well known. It has double directional effects on the uterine function and has been used for centuries to alleviate a wide variety of "woman's complaints". Because it affects gynecological function in a non-estrogenic manner, Dang Qui is not sex specific and, indeed, is also found as an important ingredient in many mens formulas.

Eucommia (Eucommia ulmoides) Eucommia bark is a very under-rated 5 star Chinese herb. The latex laden bark of a rubbery tree, it is best known for it's ability to tonify the Jing functions of the kidneys and adrenals. Because it promotes health of both the Yang as well -- to a lessor extent -- the Yin Jing, it is useful for both males and females alike. As might be expected by it's rubbery consistency, Eucommia bark is noted for its ability to promote healing of the bones and connective tissues throughout the body but with emphasis on the lower extremities such as the lower back and knees. It has a hypotensive effect which helps tone down high blood pressure and has proven to lower cholesterol absorption. Studies have indicated that it is extremely supportive for the immune system, potentiating many of it's activities. While Eucommia is a well balanced tonic herb that can easily used as a stand alone rejuvenative, it is most often used in formula with other tonics.

Ginseng (Panax ginseng) Perhaps the most famous of all tonic herbs, ginseng is the premier Qi tonic in the Chinese pharmacopoeia. It has been widely studied by modern science and contains an amazing amount of tonic constituents. Because of its profound effects in alleviating symptoms of general weakness and premature aging, it is in great demand on the world market. Connoisseur grade ginseng can be incredibly expensive. It regulates the body's 'energy system' by way of both the nervous and the endocrine systems. It helps build strength and endurance and is considered a major adaptogen. It is a powerful mind and memory tonic and historically has been held in high esteem for its ability to rejuvenate and stimulate the sexual function. There are many grades and qualities of ginseng. Many cheaper tonic formulations and cosmetic preparations, etc. use very low quality roots. The tonic benefits of these are very low indeed. It is always advisable to obtain the best quality that one can afford in order to truly experience the real power of this amazing herb.

Gogi Berry (Lycium Barbarum) This sweet fruit has an almost unbelievable 'broad spectrum' effect on the human organism. Because of its complex nutritional profile, Gogi can almost be considered as the 'King of Superfoods'. Eating gogi berries is like taking a natural multi-vitamin as they are highly mineralized with many of the both macro and micro minerals which are so critical to our health and wellbeing. They are a rich source of the amino acids that our bodies use to build protein structures. They are rich in long chain sugars called polysaccharides which are known to boost the immune function. Known for their effect on the eyes, sexual enhancement, strength and stamina, gogi berries are said to brighten the spirit and improve longevity. Because of the broad breadth of positive influence, Gogi ranks way up at the top of Chinese herbs and is used both as a superfood and as an ingredient in many tonic formulas.

He Shu Wu (polygonum multiflori) He shou wu is one of the most widely used Chinese tonic herbs. Its effect in boosting the Jing or 'primordial essence' lends to its use as a primary herb in many tonic formulas. Held in high esteem for its liver and kidney toning abilities, He shou wu is used to promote youthfulness, increase sexual potency, and strengthen the frame (bones, tendons, ligaments, knees, and lower back) while increasing physical power and stamina. Its ability as an antioxidant helps clear the body of dangerous free radicals which damage the DNA.

Jiaogulan (gynostemma pentaphyllum) Jiaogulan has a broad spectrum effect on the total health. It works to support all three of the major 'Treasures': Jing, Qi, and Shen. This wide ranging healing effect makes this herb a panacea for almost any and all ailments. It is a major 'adaptogen' aiding the body to rebalance itself in its efforts to cope with the many external stressors which plague our modern existence. It has been found to have double-directional effects on the nervous system rendering it both appropriately calming and stimulating as is dictated by necessity. Because of its modulating influence on levels of both blood sugar and blood fat Jiaogulan is often used to help maintain proper weight. As such, it has recently become very popular as a component in weight loss programs. Studies indicate that Jiaogulan might also have strong anti-cancer properties. Because of its wide ranging effect on the total physiology, this gentle herb deserves its place in the top category of tonic herbs.

Reishi (Gannoderma lucidum) Reishi mushroom is renowned for its broad spectrum healing effects. Known as a top quality immune booster, it has double-directional power to modulate the immune function by either boosting or else calming it (in the case of autoimmune disorders) as necessity dictates. It appears to aid the immune system in the identification of pathogenic substances in the body tissues. Reishi has long been used to improve the circulatory system by regulating the cholesterol and other excessive fatty acids in the system. Powerful antioxidant properties help reduce the free-radicals that hasten aging. Famous for its ability to nourish all of the 'Three Treasures' reishi has traditionally been esteemed for its effects on the nervous system. Long the choice of Taoist and Buddhist monks, reishi has a calming, stress reducing effect on the nerves which helps clear the mind and heighten perception. Because of its deep comprehensive support of the physical, spiritual and mental functions, reishi is legendary for its subtle 'quality of life' improving attributes.

Rehmannia (Rehmannia glutinosa) Rehmannia is a fundamental tonic herb which is employed in a wide variety of formulas. The tonic version is termed "prepared rehmannia" due to a special process of marination in wine, steaming, and then sun drying which renders the normal root into a slightly sticky, sweet, tar-like black mass. It is this prepared version that has the tonic qualities cherished by herbalists. As an additive to various formulations, it is tonic to the kidneys which store the 'primordial essence' or Jing making rehmannia a primary longevity herb. It is commonly added to almost every formula designed to strengthen the sexual and reproductive functions. In combination with other herbs such as Dang Gui, it is used in many classic 'women's formulas'. It is an important blood tonic which nourishes the kidneys, liver, and heart and is used in companion with Qi stimulating herbs to improve their assimilation.

Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea) This Tibetan herb is a newcomer to the Chinese pharmacopoeia. It grows in the harsh high altitude Tibetan environment which appears to endow it with powerful adaptogenic properties. It is known for increasing strength and stamina in stressful conditions. Rhodiola enhances the circulatory function and is thus a Qi booster. Because it increases neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, it is often used for its calming and clarifying effect on the mind.

Schizandara Berry (Schisandra chinensis) Shizandra berry is sometimes known as the "five tastes fruit" because it contains all five of the classic tastes which are said to be requisite for holistic radiant health in the Chinese tradition. Because of this diversity, it is said to enter all twelve of the primary energetic meridians and, thusly, provide all five of the essential elemental energies (fire, earth, metal, water, and wood). This small reddish-purple berry nourishes all of the 'Three Treasures', Jing, Qi, and Shen. It has a broad range of tonic influences, working across the spectrum to strengthen, harmonize, and regulate a wide variety of processes. Schizandra has long been used as a primary "beauty" herb by Chinese women. Because of its Shen properties, it is considered an important 'mind' tonic. It is a liver detoxifier, aphrodisiac, sexual tonic, adaptogen, respiratory strengthener, and, nervous system modulator to mention but a few of its many positive effects.

 

Selected Tonic Herbs from the Ayurvedic Tradition:

Amla (Emblica officinalis) PV-K+ Amla is one of the stars of the Ayurvedic pharmacopoeia. This small astringent round fruit is a prominent ingredient in many tonic formulations. It is extremely anti-oxidant due, in large part, to its extreme amounts of vitamin C. This tridoshic tonic herb is one of the constituents of the classic mixture 'Trifala' and is tonic for the blood, bones, liver, and heart. It strengthens the hair, teeth, eyes, and nails. Because of it wide rejuvenative and nutritive properties Amla recommends itself as a valuable and regular part of any herbal strategy.

Arjuna (Terminalia arjuna) PK-V+ Arjuna works on the blood, plasma, muscle, bone, and nerve tissues and is, perhaps, the preeminent heart tonic in Ayurvedic medicine. It is useful for a broad range of heart problems, enhances circulation, and promotes longevity. It also has anti-cancer, anti-oxidant, and antibacterial properties.

Ashwagonda (Withania somnifera) VK-P+ Ashwaganda works on the muscle, bone, marrow, nerve, and reproductive tissues and is one of the classic 'tonic herbs' of Ayurveda. It is tonic, rejuvenative, nervine, sedative, astringent, and aphrodisiac. It is somewhat similar to ginseng in that it is useful in a wide variety of debilitating symptoms. It is both a general health booster and a powerful anti-aging medicine.

Bala (Sida cordifolia) VPK= This tridoshic herb is one of the most widely used 'rasayana' tonics in Ayurveda. The fact that it contains five of the six tastes recommends it as widely nourishing to the physical body. Indeed, bala has a broad range of positive effects on the system. It is tonic, rejuvenative, aphrodisiac, soothes the nerves, builds immune function, lowers inflammation, benefits the heart and lungs, and provides an energy boost to the entire system.

Brahmi (Bacopa monniera) VPK= Also known as 'Hydrocotyl Asiatica', brahmi is a major brain and nerve tonic. It is a powerful anti-oxidant and its tonic qualities recommend it for a wide variety of symptoms. Brahmi is particularly known to improve mental function, memory, reduce mental stress, and enhance learning potential.

Gota Kola (Centella asiatica) VPK= Gotu Kola', sometimes referred to as 'Mandukaparni', is a powerful tonic for the brain and nervous system. It has a cooling effect on the body and is used to promote stimulation, especially to the skin and mucous membranes. As such, gota kola is a general rejuvenative for the nerves, skin, and hair. It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It improves memory, sharpens concentration, boosts intelligence, and improves physical strength. Because of its clearing and calming effect on the mind, gota kola has, historically, been employed by mystics to help stimulate higher awareness.

Gokshura (Tribulis Terrestris) VPK= Gokshura is best known for its ability to boost the sexual function. It is a tonic 'rasayana' herb with a special affinity for the urogenital system. As such it is proscribed for many urogenital disorders. It is the primary herb for prostrate problems but is also effective in treating woman's urinary complaints. It is a cool herb so is appropriate for pitta conditions. Gokshura is a common ingredient in aphrodisiac formulas.

Jatamamsi (Nardostachys jatamansi) VPK= Jatamamsi is renowned for it's sedative qualities and is useful in the treatment of various psychological and emotional disorders. It is a brain tonic and is used to remedy anxiety and poor memory.

Kapi Kachu (Mucuna pruriens) KV-P+ Kapi Kachu works on the nervous, reproductive, and respiratory system and is tonic, rejuvenative, and aphrodisiac. This important herb is one of the best tonics for the reproductive system, a bronchodialator, and is the used in the treatment of Parkinson's disease.

Kumari (Aloe Vera) VPK= Aloe vera is a magical herb with broad healing power. It is used both internally as well as externally. Its ability to heal external problems with the skin are legendary. It is applicable for almost any skin condition from burns to wounds to inflammatory problems like psoriasis and eczema. Kumari, taken internally, is very soothing and is a good detoxifier for the digestive tract, making it useful for ulcers and gastritus. It also has antioxidant, anti-tumor, and anti viral effects. Its long chain sugar or "polysaccharide" fraction offers excellent support for the immune function. It is also one of the best tonic herbs for the female reproductive system.

Neem (Azadirachta indica) PK-V+ Neem is one of the "miracle" herbs of Ayurveda. Because of it's anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties it works to purify the plasma and blood. It is also used topically for skin problems. Not really a 'tonic' herb, neem is one of the most potent immune system supporters.

Shatavari (Asparagus Racemosus) PV-K+ Shatavari is a general tonic which is particularly renowned for it's beneficial effects on the female reproductive system. It is nutritive, rejuvenative, bolsters the immune system, impacts all bodily tissue types and works well as a regular tonic for both men and women.

Shilajit (Asphaltum) Considered one of the miracles of Ayurveda, Shilajit is not really an herb, per se. It is a black or brownish tar-like pitch which exudes from rocks in the high Himalaya mountains on warm sunny days. Although it remains largely a mysterious substance, it is thought to be primordial fossilized mosses and plant matter. This remarkable substance is treasured for it's properties as both a detoxifier and it's ability to build tissue. It is replete with many of the essential trace elements that are lacking in the modern diet and is a primary medicine for a great variety of diseases. Shilajit is is an amazing rejuvenative and is one of the best anti-aging medicines. It is famous in India as a sexual tonic. It is also very effective in dissolving "bad calcium". As nano-calcium accumulation is looked upon as the symptom/cause of a large spectrum of physical disfunctions including chronic aging, this is an important attribute. Shilajit is a very gentle substance and makes for a wonderful daily tonic medicine.

Tulsi (Ocimum Sanctum) VK-P+ Tulsi is another of Ayurveda's "all purpose" panacea wonder medicines. Known for thousands of years for it's beneficial effect on the plasma, blood, marrow, nerves, and reproductive system, Tulsi has been generating much excitement amongst modern bio-medical researchers for it's potential uses in treating both diabetes and high cholesterol/triglyceride/phospholipid problems. Tulsi aids in the prevention of cancer, stimulates the immune system, helps shortness of breath, and is high in antioxidants. It is said to clear the aura, 'open the heart' and is used to increase spiritual devotion.

Vacha (Acorus Calamus) VK-P+ Vacha is a rejuvenative for the brain and nervous system. It clears the subtle channels of toxic build up, increases the cerebral circulation, sharpens memory and increases awareness. This herb has been used for thousands of years by yogic mystics to help stimulate higher awareness.

Yashdimadhu (Glycyrrhiza Glaba) VP-K+ Yashdimadhu works on all of the body's tissues. It is known to smooth the flow of the digestive tract and soothe the adrenal glands. It has a wide ranging affect on the liver and has been found to be useful to treat many liver ailments. It is a strong anti-inflammatory which aids in healing skin disorders. It is used to improve eyesight, general strength, and boost sexual potency. Yashdimadhu is one of the rare pleasant tasting herbs in Ayurveda and is used often as an additive to cool, moisten, and sweeten formulations to counter their negative effects.

These are not necessarily Tonic Herbs but are some of our favorites:

Bupleurum (Bupleurum chinense) Bupleurum root is a very important supporting herb used in numerous formulations. It is held in high esteem for it's ability to break up stagnation and toxic build-up. Many common Bupleurum based formulas help free the flow of qi and, thereby, regulate body energy and expedite the elimination of toxicity from the liver and other body tissues. Because it is not a tonic herb, Bupleurum use can engender side-effects such as rapid and overzealous detoxification. For this reason, it is normally combined with either Peony or Scultellaria which aid in removing toxins from the blood and eliminating excess heat from the system. This bitter root has a cold atmospheric energy and is useful for relieving both liver tension and digestive disturbances. It is probably most famous as a prominent component in most formulations to relieve woman's menstrual problems.

Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia) PVK= Guduchi is the stem of a climbing vine. Tridoshic, meaning that it supports all three of the basic energy patterns that collectively constitute the body/mind of a healthy person, it is particularly good as a detoxifier. Noted for its ability to clear toxins from the channels of the body while promoting circulation of the fluids. Guduchi is known for purifying the fat constituent of the body and offers very good support and stimulation for the immune system. It is a common ingredient in many popular Ayurvedic formulations.

Guggul (Commiphora mukul) KV-P+ Guggul is the resinous gum of a tree called Indian Bedellium. It is a potent and deep detoxifier which works all tissues of the body to help clear away deep seated toxic buildup otherwise know as 'ama' in Ayurveda. Because it has special anti-inflammatory properties Gugul is prescribed for its anti-aging, rasayana effects. In conjunction with other herbs, it is renown for its ability to relieve arthritic conditions and skin problems. It also finds common use in the management of various body fats, particularly cholesterol. Because of this gugul also is used to help treat congestive heart problems.

Kalmegh (Andrographis paniculata) PK-V+ Known as the 'King of Bitters', Kalmegh has a long history in both India and China and is well known for its ability to aid the immune system to fight colds, flus, and other infections of all kinds, both bacterial and viral. Often used as a healthy alternative to antibiotics, Kalmegh appears to boost the body's natural immune response rather than directly killing invading microbes, thus sparing the healthy microrganisms in the system while aiding the body to rid itself of the offending 'bad' microbes.

Kerela (Momordica charantia) Kerela or 'bitter gourd' is eaten as a vegetable in many parts of the world due to its numerous health benefits. A cucumber-like fruit with a bumpy or rough skin, Bitter Gourd, as the name implies, is extremely bitter. Because of the unpleasant taste some culinary skill is necessary to disguise the flavor. As an alternative, the herb is dried and encapsulated so as to provide the medicinal benefits without the bad taste. Kerala is a very good herb for the liver. Because of this and in conjunction with its blood purifying effects, it is very useful for various skin problems. It is known to reduce blood glucose levels which makes it an ideal home remedy to help rectify diabetic problems. Ayurvedic doctors also prescribe Kerela for digestive health and to boost immunity.

Mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana) Many people have been introduced to the ambrosial flavor of this ancient tropical fruit. While the fruit has its fair share of health benefits, it is the purplish rind or 'pericarp' which contains most of Mangosteen's amazing health benefits. Dried and powdered, mangosteen pericarp is one of natures truly great health products. While it is well known for its extreme anti-oxidant properties, Mangosteen is good for just about any of the common ailments that beset modern man and is especially effective in a preventative role. In addition to its many specific benefits --all most too many to list-- Mangosteen is sometimes labeled as a 'pan-systemic' herb because of its synergistic effect on the entire system. This is an herb that can and should be taken regularly as a part on any intelligent health strategy.

Moringa (Moringa olifera) Moringa is a nutraceutical herb which is loaded with more nutritional benefits than almost any other food substance. Among its many gifts is the full compliment of 'essential amino acids'. This makes it ideal as a dietary supplement for both vegetarians and meat eaters alike. Its vitamin content is vast including but not confined to Vitamin A, and a broad spectrum of Vitamin Bs including the all important Vitamin B12. Moringa is rich in minerals and contains many of the macro and micro minerals necessary for healthy life. Because of its far-reaching benefits, it is often used by the United Nations and other Non-Governmental Aid Organizations to combat famine. Considering the nutrient depleted state of modern food, Moringa makes a wonderful daily insurance policy against the insidious affects of nutrient deficiency.

Noni (Morinda citrifolia) Noni fruit is a wax-like white fruit which is bitter to the taste but very healthful to the system. Dried, powdered, and encapsulated Noni is very helpful for the digestive process encouraging a more efficient breakdown of the food. One key constituent of Noni is long chain bitter sugars known as polysaccharides. Modern research indicates that these complex sugars stimulate the immune system to aid it in resisting immune disorders. Noni also contains enormous amounts of enzymes, the magic molecules that serve as the necessary catalysts for many bodily reactions. Enzyme deficiency is a common underlying cause of many modern infirmities. Unheated, unprocessed Noni is known to contain over 140 different varieties of these crucial substances.

Rang Jeut (Thunbergia laurifolia) Rang Jeut is a South East Asian herb that is renown for its ability to detoxify the body. It is a liver tonic and is used for many situations where the body is either acutely or chronically poisoned.

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) K-PV+ This herbal powerhouse is a close cousin to ginger. It is the ingredient in Indian cookery that gives it its characteristically yellow color. Known as a panacea for almost any and all infirmities, Turmeric has potent anti-inflammatory properties that appear to be non-steroidal in nature. This distinguishes it from many other anti-inflammatory substances which manipulate the hormonal balance in the body and sometimes come with side effects. Turmeric has strong antioxidant abilities. Marketed in the west as 'curcuma' --which is one of its many active ingredients-- these antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties have led Turmeric and its derivatives to become extremely popular with the elderly as an anti-aging supplement. As a common food ingredient, Turmeric can be taken in relatively large doses and is well tolerated by the body. In Asia it is used both internally and externally for common skin problems. It is anti-tumor as well as anti-carcinogenic thus recommending itself for a wide variety of ailments which cause the development of tumors. Turmeric is very adept at supporting the health of the eyes and is used to help dissolve cataracts. It is liver protective and known as a blood purifier including helping to normalize cholesterol levels in the blood. Its effects on the circulatory system include helping to reduce arterial plaque. Basically, because Turmeric is so easily tolerated by the body and is helpful for such a broad spectrum of ailments, prudence suggests that this grossly underrated herb be a regular part of any herbal regimen.

 

 

About Us...

Location...The Nong Khai Alternative Center is located in the quaint town of Nong Khai, Thailand. Situated on the Mekong River 11 hours by train due north of Bangkok, Nong Khai is easily accessible by either bus, train (from Bangkok, there are several trains a day directly to Nong Khai...second class sleeper on one of the night trains is especially recommended) or air (there are several flights a day to Udornthani and from the airport there is a limousine service right to our doorstep in Nong Khai). Nong Khai is also 20 kilometers from Vientien, Laos. Once in Nong Khai we are easy to find...just ask for the Mut Mee Guest House. Most students stay at one of the nearby guest houses (we are located right next door to the beautiful Mut Mee Guest House). A wide variety of wholesome food (both Asian and western, vegetarian and non-vegetarian) is available in the neighborhood.

Pancho & Beatrix have been involved in the art and science of spiritual evolution since the very early 1980's. With years of dedicated practical experience, they employ a wide variety of modalities in their teaching method. Together, they are the founders of the Nong Khai Alternative Center and have lived and taught in Nong Khai, Thailand since the late 1980's.

For More Information: pantrix@hotmail.com

 
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