The Traditional Three Treasures System of Healthcare
Traditionally in Asia, there are said to be three primary types of energy in the human body, and the same is true throughout nature. These three energy categories are traditionally known as “the three treasures,” Jing, Qi (pronounced chee) and Shen. These energies are called “treasures” because they are the very basis of our life. As the great Chinese Daoist sage Lu Zi said:
“The human body is only Jing, Qi and Shen. These are the three treasures. These three treasures are complete as a human being. In order to attain true health and happiness, you must value the three treasures. Without the three treasures you cannot live long, and deep attainment cannot be reached in a lifetime. The three treasures must not be wasted. They must be nourished and protected as one’s life.”
Jing, the First Treasure
The first “treasure” is known as Jing. Jing is generally translated as Regenerative Essence, or simply as Essence. Jing energy is fundamental to life. It is the deepest source of energy in the body and is associated with our genetics. Jing is also our long term energy and may be thought of as our reserves of life force. In Asia, Jing is associated with regeneration, longevity, youthfulness, deep long-term vitality, mental energy, the source of power for the reproductive system and for optimal functioning of the immune system.Jing energy also supports our skeletal system, renal functions and our sensory functions, especially our ability to hear. Jing is believed to govern our courage and is the power behind our will.
Jing energy is depleted by living itself, but most especially by stress, excessive behavior, and overwork. Jing can be re-acquired and replenished through the consumption of certain rare herbs which contain this treasure.
Jing herbs are divided into two categories: Yin and Yang tonics. Some Yin and Yang herbs can be used singularly because they are so well balanced. Sophisticated formulations have been developed over the centuries that build Yin and Yang energy and these are created by blending Yin herbs and Yang herbs. The secret of rejuvenation and in maintaining our health lies in rebuilding the right balance of Yin and Yang. These Yin and Yang tonic herbs tend to be mild and are very well tolerated in both the short and long term by most people. Everybody needs some Yin and Yang tonification, so finding an appropriate combination is very important. Some Yinand Yang tonics are almost universally tolerated and may be used by anyone.
Yin herbs are deeply nourishing. They replenish spent Jing and build reserves that are stored in the body for future use. They are famed for their long term regenerative qualities. They are generally moistening and are believed to be youth preserving. Yin herbs should be consumed by people who have depleted their Yin reserves. Life itself depletes Yin, and Yin is constantly consumed as we grow older, until by middle age many people experience Yin depletion. Yin tonic herbs tend to nourish endocrine hormones, which are noticeably depleted as one grows older. Besides aging, Yin is also specifically depleted by stress, overwork, exhaustion, childbearing, excessive or chronic drug or medicine use, disease, excessive emotionalism and sexual excess. Those who are deficient in Yin Jing tend to be chronically exhausted, and they tend to have dark rings under their eyes, backaches, weak kidney and reproductive functions, low resistance to infection, weak digestion and show signs of rapid aging, including dryness and wrinkling of the skin. YinJing herbs are capable of replenishing the treasure and building reserves for the future. Thus Yin Jing herbs are considered in Asia to be the cornerstone of rejuvenation and the foundation of longevity.
Yang herbs are deeply empowering. The rekindle the fire of life where it has been spent and invigorate vigor at the deepest levels. They are famed for their rejuvenative, deeply invigorating qualities. Yang herbs are used to build sexual energy, creative power, will power and athletic power. The result of consuming Yang Jing herbs is a renewed youthfulness. However, Yang energy tends to be warm and invigoration and therefore requires Yin to maintain coolness and balance. Yang herbs should be accompanied by Yinherbs. This is especially true for those who are suffering from Yin deficiency. If you wish to utilize Yang herbs, build up the Yin Jing first until the signs of Yin deficiency are eliminated. This may take some time, but regular consumption of powerful Yin Jing herbs will surely nurture the deep Yin. Eventually Yang herbs can be consumed – and that’s when the real fun begins.
Some people may experience hot symptoms and dryness, and still be Yang deficient. It is possible to be both Yin and Yang deficient but to be more Yin deficient. This will result in what is known as “false fire,” where the person will experience heat, inflammation, low grade fevers, hot flashes, etc. These people will certainly need to consume a lot of Yin Jing herbs, but they may also need to consume a small amount of Yang Jing herbs if they also lack any power.
QI, the Second Treasure
The second treasure is known as Qi (pronounced Chee). Qi is translated as vitality. Qi is the energy of life that we acquire through breathing and eating and manifests as our day to day vitality. Qi tonics are also divided into two categories: Qi (Energy) tonics andBlood tonics. These Qi and Blood tonics are important in the maintenance of day-to-day health and vitality, our resistance to disease and our ability to cope with stress.
Qi tonics fortify the digestive, respiratory and immune functions and are necessary for true health. Qi tonics also help build muscle and develop muscular strength. Blood tonics help build blood and nourish all the tissues of the body.
It is said that “men are governed by Qi and women are governed by Blood. This means that men generally benefit by consuming more Qi tonics while women generally benefit by consuming more Blood tonics. This does not mean that men do not need Blood and women do not need Qi. It is simply a matter of natural balance. Everybody should consume some amount of Qi and Blood tonics regularly according to need.
Most Qi tonics are powerful adaptogens. That means they have significant double-direction activity as it relates to our stress responses, our immune functions and our metabolic functions. Every human can benefit from the consumption of adaptogenic herbs.
SHEN, the Third Treasure
The third treasure is called Shen. Shen is the energy of consciousness and awareness. Though there is no precise translation forShen, it is often translated as Spirit. Shen is the vitality and stability of the mind and of the human spirit. A person with strong Shen is one who is calm and at peace, strong minded, aware, clear, centered, deeply intelligent and profoundly happy.
A person who is kind, generous and giving and who has a big heart is said to have a lot of Shen. Great Shen manifests as great love. From a spiritual perspective, Shen is the ultimate treasure.
Certain herbs have been found through the centuries to enhance this Shen energy. Shen tonics generally have a mild calming quality. When combined into an herbal program that is taken daily, Shen tonic formulation will have profound effects on our state of mind and body.
Tonic herbs can be categorized as Jing (Yin and/or Yang), Qi (Energy and/or Blood) and Shen (opening and/or stabilizing) by virtue of which treasure(s) they tend to nourish and develop.
Applying the principle of the three treasures is the highest form of herbalism. In the Orient it is called "the Superior Herbalism."