Energy Tonics—the elixir of life—To quote the famous Chinese physician Sun Shu Mao (581-682 AD), whose life spanned 101 years, “Anyone under forty should use herbs occasionally to naturally regulate and strengthen the body; anyone over fifty should use tonics daily to nourish the blood, strengthen the body and promote longevity.” Tonics, often called the elixir of life, invigorate and strengthen the body. They can be used for maintaining health in the absence of illness, as well as for restoring strength and energy after surgery, childbirth, or chronic illness. Many of the tonic formulas used in modern Chinese medicine were developed centuries ago during the imperial dynasties and have enjoyed continued use by the Chinese people for the past five thousand years. While they are simple to use, several things should be pointed out about using herbal tonics: 1) most important, just as with losing weight, bodybuilding, or any other process to improve physical condition, tonics require uninterrupted use over a period of time for their beneficial effects to be fully realized. Needless to say, taking tonics for a couple days or a week is in no way harmful, but nor is that enough time to be very helpful. 2) herbal tonics should be taken after meals, and 3) herbal tonics should never be taken when you are in the early stages of a cold, because they will drive the cold deeper into the body. Although tonics can be decocted into tea, traditionally the preferred method of preparation for tonic formulas is the medicine wine, mainly because it is the nature of tonics to stimulate, an action reinforced by alcohol. The standard dosage is one ounce of medicinal wine at room temperature one or two times daily, in the morning and evening after meals. You may dilute the medicinal wine in four ounces of water, or drink it straight up. What follows are links to time-proven tonic formulas that increase energy (Chi) and strength, extend endurance, alleviate anemia, improve circulation, and invigorate the vital organs.
Long–term use is highly recommended.