Plant medicine can be used to boost our energy reserves, prevent and counteract depletion, activate longevity, encourage emotional equilibrium, and fuel spiritual growth.
Today I’d like to talk about building Jing, our deep foundational energy, through food and herbs.
In Traditional Asian Medicine, our core energy is called Jing. Jīng is the Chinese word for "essence", and it is said to be stored in the kidneys. Alongside Qi (our daily energy) & Shen (our Mind & Spirit) it makes up the ’3 Treasures’, the 3 fundamental aspects that fuel life.
Jing is related to our vitality, longevity, creativity, adaptability and resistance to illness, sexual and reproductive capacity, and spiritual power to some extent. Certain aspects of our Jing can be boosted but other aspects are irreplaceable and are therefore similar a battery’s limited life. In our modern age, I find that everyone needs significant Jing boosting.
Things that Zap your Jing:
- Chronic overextending, chronic stress, depletion of your reserves through overwork, over exercising, lack of sleep, worry, anxiety, fear
- Toxins-environmental, dietary, cosmetic
- Poor quality food & water (low life force food and water)
- Sugar, alcohol, stimulants, drugs
- Chronic disengagement from life or lack of purpose
- Pregnancy & Childbirth
- Chronic illness
Here we are going to dive into some of my favorite foods and herbs that support our deep foundational energy.
Reishi or Ling zhi (Ganoderma) has been used for more than 2,000 years in Asia making it one of the oldest and most revered medicinal mushrooms in the world. It is one of our top Jing tonics and anti-aging herbs to nourish our deep foundational energy reserves. It’s a powerful protector and a brilliant adaptogen, a substance that regulates and supports the physiological axis of the immune, endocrine and nervous system. It supports our ability handle stress more effectively, aiding those subjected to the negative effective of chronic stress (everyone!). It can be relied upon to help keep us strong and vital in an increasingly toxic world partly through its substantial liver supporting action.
Not only does Reishi offer profound benefits for our body but it promotes spiritual awareness and development. One of the translated meanings of Reishi is the "supernatural mushroom” perhaps pointing to its benefits for spiritual health. It is often a key ingredient in ‘Shen’ tonics used to nourish the mind and spirit to promote peacefulness, focus, willpower, radiant health and wisdom. Lastly, Reishi is good for just about everyone, and is extremely safe and non-toxic.
Walnut is a Jing nourishing food that is said to warm the kidney energy. Walnuts can be used to strengthen the whole body, nourish the nervous system and brain, and induce delicious sleep (see recipe below!). They are a key remedy in Traditional Asian medicine for reducing inflammation and alleviating pain, particularly back, knee and joint. They nourish the reproductive system, act as a sexual tonic, and support fertility. A famous skin food bursting with beneficial healing fats, walnut nourishes the connective tissue and promote skin radiance.
We’ve all heard the 19th century proverb, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” without really knowing exactly why that is!
Turns out there’s substantial evidence to support this wise sentiment!
Here’s why we’re including apple in our Jing boosting power foods (not a traditional Jing booster). Apple is a deciduous tree in the rose family that has been used for food for thousands of years. Apples have mythological significance in many cultures, for example in Norse mythology an apple symbolized eternal youthfulness and fertility (think Jing).
One of the key constituents of an apple that perhaps points to it’s longevity power is found in the bioflavonoid, quercetin. Quercetin is an anti-inflammatory and intelligent plant nutrient that can show the body how to regain healthy function and ‘release the old’. An apple can detoxify and stimulate whole body cleansing and encourage the body to delete senile and dysfunctional cells. This low glycemic fruit cleanses the entire digestive system through its fiber-rich profile and antimicrobial power both preventing fermentation, autointoxication, and putrefaction in the intestinal tract (common in all digestive diseases). The malic acid found in both apples and apple cider vinegar cleanses the liver and gallbladder and aids the gradual dissolution of sand and stones for safe removal and passage.
Apple, both cleansing and fortifying, protects the cardiovascular system and works to keep the arteries clean. Perhaps a hidden function we could all use in this day and age is its radioprotective and toxic heavy metal protective shield (lead and mercury in particular). Just as in times when an apple was regarded as a keeper of youth, today we can expand on that and honor it for its role in protecting and maintaining our Jing, our cellular intelligence and foundational energy. The fortifying and strengthening aspects of apple can be seen in its ability to strengthen the healthy function of our cells and boost our body’s innate ability to rejuvenate.
A staple food of Andean indigenous culture Maca root is a supreme adaptogen that has notable Jing strengthening and tonifying support. One of my favorite food-herbs of all time, maca notably increases feelings of wellbeing and is a fantastic hormone balancer. It boosts libido, sexual function, and fertility in both men and women. It fights fatigue, improves bone density, raises mood, and supports cognitive function. It’s a smart choice for those experiencing both hormonal imbalance or depletion with symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress.
Gynostemma shines as a potent adaptogen that is sublimely regulating. If you’re feeling overstimulated, it calming without being sedating and if you are feeling fatigued it works to boost energy and vitality without being overstimulating (it’s not a stimulant). So smart! I often drink it in the early evening to prepare for a good night sleep if I’ve been working a lot and feel overstimulated. It is notably peace-inducing.
Gynostemma is one of Eastern medicine’s top longevity and graceful aging herbs. It is often referred to as ‘the magical grass’ perhaps due it is far-reaching benefits for body, mind and spirit! It supports our ability to rejuvenate, helps heal fatigue, and helps prevent depletion. Gynostemma supports healthy immune, respiratory, cardiovascular, liver, and digestive function. It aids the elimination channels and is an effective non-stimulating remedy for constipation. It can help people to lose weight if they need it by reducing excessive body fat, regulating metabolism, and harmonizing blood sugar.
Chronic inflammation is involved in nearly every disease process, and is well documented to influence the speed at which we age. The more inflammation we have in our body, the faster we age. Gynostemma is one of the best anti-inflammatory herbs on the planet, known to counteract numerous inflammatory conditions, including the increasingly popular chronic low grade type known to be an underminer of our health and happiness. This top adaptogen targets "inflamm-aging" to support healing, reduce discomfort, aid deep rejuvenation and slow aging. In part, it works by deactivating the activity of the inflammatory molecule in every bodily cell, called NFkB, nuclear factor kappa B. We want this super talent in every home pharmacy for its potent longevity holding secrets!
Warm Walnut Nut Milk with Honey and Cinnamon:
A Jing boosting and nervous system nourishing plant-based milk
Combine in a blender:
1 cup raw walnuts (avoid roasted nuts/seeds)
2 cups filtered or spring water
pinch of sea salt
Blend until smooth and strain through a nut milk bag to create a smooth milk.
Now, gently heat walnut milk on stovetop until warm to the touch- don’t cook or overheat for best results.
Add 1 tsp of raw honey – a longevity substance and Jing fortifier
Add 1 tsp of 100% grass-fed ghee or coconut oil – nourishing to the entire body but especially nervous system
A dropperful of maca tincture
Add dash of True Cinnamon Power (Ceylon) – warms the kidneys, boosts Jing and digestive function
Lovely anytime of day, but especially nice as a breakfast latte or calming and nourishing evening Jing tonic to promote rejuvenating and deep delicious sleep.
Jing Boosting Snacks
Apple with walnut butter sprinkled with cinnamon: Raw apple cut or shredded on organic green salad sprinkled with raw walnut pieces.
Reishi and Gynostemma: Reishi and Gynostemma are great herbs that can be used in many forms: tea, tincture or powdered capsules. Personally, I like Reishi in tincture form and Gynostemma as a hot tea. Cool gynostemma tea is great used as a smoothie base. Both reishi and gynostemma are great soup ingredients although because reishi has a bitter flavor it is most easily used in small amounts.
More Ways to Nourish Your Jing...
Our deep energy is best nourished through an organic diet full of veggies, berries, seeds, nuts, and others foods depending on your constitution. Acupuncture, deep sleep, meditation, qi gong, and nature time are all ways to nourish your Jing. Nourish yourself the best you can and try to prevent depletion (not always possible of course) and you’ll be well on your way to making the most out your Jing lot in life.
Note: Most herbs are best used in small amounts over a long period of time.
What’s your favorite herb for your home pharmacy? What’s your favorite recipe for revitalizing your health? We’d love to hear from you!
Discover surprising insights and nourishing daily recipes to build your own plant-powered pharmacy for radiant health and wellbeing in Sara Crow’s FREE class Accessing Nature’s Healing Pharmacy: How to Unlock the Medicinal & Nutritional Secrets of Herbs & Flowers for Health, Longevity & Spiritual Growth.
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