by Beverly Jennings, RH (AHG), MT, East West School of Planetary Herbology Graduate
East West students were fortunate to have the opportunity to spend an entire day with renowned herbalist Ron Teeguarden (pictured above) and his son Lucky at East West’s yearly seminar at the Quaker Center in Ben Lomond, CA. Ron Teeguarden, who is widely recognized as the father of tonic herbalism, is author of the classic, Chinese Tonic Herbs, a book that introduced the art of tonic herbalism to the American public. His second book, Wisdom of the Chinese Tonic Herbs, is recognized as a major work on the subject of Chinese tonic herbs and the Asian arts of longevity and radiant health.
Ron thoroughly believes in the power of tonic herbalism for radiant health and longevity, and spent the day sharing this precious art with a mesmerized audience of herbalists, acupuncturists, teachers and students alike. Expressing much gratitude to all of the ancient Chinese masters who had passed on this information to their students, he very lovingly introduced us to special herbs and substances, one by one.
Shen Nong, author of the Pharmacopeia of the Divine Farmer, was the master who first introduced the Superior Class of herbs consisting of 120 herbs, such as Ginseng Root, Rhubarb, etc. 2,500 years ago. He divided herbs into three classes: Inferior, General and Superior herbs.
Ron Teeguarden’s powerful message to us is that glowing health means “health beyond danger” and that Chinese tonic herbalism is an approach to achieving and maintaining glowing health.
By incorporating tonic herbs into our lives within a time frame of approximately six months to two years, we can increase jing (life essence), qi (energy) and shen (spirit). He emphatically remarked that herbs can definitely increase jing (life essence). Throwing a mix of tonic herbs into tall glass teapots with candles burning beneath them, he introduced us to many of these herbs throughout the day.
We were given tastes of tonic teas, Himalayan goji berries, powerful Chinese tonic tinctures, tastes and fragrant smells of Vietnamese cinnamon. He very generously introduced us to snow lotus – a very rare herb grown very high up in the mountains of Tibet and we munched out on snacks of cordyceps grown on rice that you can snack on like popcorn. We tasted Dragon Herbs’ schizandra goji tinctures, Hermit’s Mix of pine nuts, walnuts, longan berries and plump goji berries. This is a powerful anti-aging tonic providing all three treasures of jing, qi and shen. We learned that jing tonics of deer antler can increase your will power. We all received a copy of Ron Teeguarden’s 30 Tips For Getting Healthy Now and For Living a Long, Healthy, Productive and Happy Life! (and during those 8 hours of lecturing, he taught us exactly how to achieve that!).
Ron also offered a Power Point presentation of herbs grown in pristine areas in China, high up in the mountains, near the Shaolin Temple, where the water is pure and the soil fertile. We saw pictures of his manufacturing facility in China. He is very proud of the fact that his company Dragon Herbs is a Di Tao facility, which means that they will sell nothing but the highest quality, most effective tonic herbal products in the world. His company has built its reputation on Di Tao!
He taught us the secrets of how to discern buying excellent ginseng roots versus low-grade versions and what to look for. Since a large group of students from the East West School are traveling to China in May, this was perfect timing, to prepare everyone.
Ron emphasized that if we, as herbalists, acupuncturists, teachers, CEOs, etc. are giving out so much healing energy, it is imperative that we replenish it, and he recommends incorporating tonic herbs daily, as he taught us!
We sincerely want to thank Ron and Lucky for passing on this precious knowledge. We also want to thank Michael and Lesley Tierra, for inviting him to present at this year’s seminar to all of the East West School of Planetary Herbology staff, students, herbalists, acupuncturists and all who attended.