Growing Chinese Herbs for Long Life
Answered by: Zhongfa Wu
Question from: Kevin
Posted on: November 04, 2006

I’m wanting to start a herb dedicated to herbs that promote long life. Here is list of a few below, I was wondering if you had any recomendations?

Polygonatum canaliculatum, Centella asiatica, Can Gao, Ginko, Hei Zhi Ma, Shu Di Huang, Gou Qi Zi, Mai Men Dong, Fu Ling, Huang Jing.

Chinese medicinal herbs are used in Traditional Chinese Medicine as the main means to prevent and treat diseases and maintain health for long life. Probably the most famous Chinese herb in the West for boosting energy and strength among the elderly, is ginseng. But there are many others that promote long life. These plants act in a variety of ways to promote good health and long life. Diseases are caused by pathogenic phenomena such as imbalance between pathogenic factors and healthy qi, and disorders of the zang and fu organs. The basic principle of treating diseases with Chinese medicinal herbs is to eliminate causes of disease, dispel pathogenic factors or restore the coordination of function of zang and fu organs so that imbalances of yin or yang can be corrected and diseases can be cured.

Regarding your list of Chinese herbs, all are ‘restoratives’; i.e., they improve the function of internal organs and body immunity. But you should add Shu Di Huang and Sheng Di Huang, both of which are derived from the root of Rehmannia glutinosa. The processing methods for the two are different which accounts for their different effects on the body.

I would like to tell you about another herb, Fu Ling, from the sclerotium of Poria cocos. The sclerotium mostly parasitises on the root of Japanese red pine and Pinus massoniana. I am afraid this herb is not easy to grow by people who do not have professional training.

Besides the ones you list I would add the following herbs: Dangshen (Codonopsis pilosula), Huangqi (Astragalus membranaceus or A. mongholicus), Shanyao (Dioscorea opposita), Duzhong (Eucommia ulmoides), Danggui (Angelica sinensis), Heshouwu (Polygonum multiflorum),Beishashen (Glehnia littoralis), Baihe (Lilium brownii), Baizhu (Atractylodes macrocephala), and Nuzhenzi (Ligustrum lucidum). Among them, Nuzhenzi and Duzhong are trees. All of them can be grown successfully in North America. Richters offers seeds or plants of some of them.

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