If you want to live, you must eat wisely. But eating wisely in the manner described in the previous pages may not prevent you from becoming sick. Something is missing from the grocery-bought or common, regular foods. Yet if these inadequate or “weak” foods can support life, then “strong” foods must be able to strengthen and protect life. This kind of reasoning has driven Taoists to investigate the jungles, mountains, flatlands, and bodies of water in search of these strong foods and to test every plant, animal, and mineral for properties that will benefit mankind. Their discoveries and findings produced other dietary wisdom teachings which became the right arm of Taoists. Taoism exists because of these strong foods (called herbs in the West). (Because the term herb is limited in meaning to plants and inadequately depict the scope and meaning of this Taoist science, the original Taoist term will be used). All Taoists depend on strong foods, just as we depend on food.


Strong foods include plants, animals, and minerals that are ingested or applied externally to the human body to prevent and heal physical illnesses by adjusting the flow of vital energy and supplying better materials for regeneration of body cells or tissues.

Strong foods or herbs are really our forgotten foods. Because of their often disagreeable taste or smell and our lack of knowledge concerning their utilization, our forefathers eliminated them as food and later generations ignored them. Our forefathers in their search for food, tasted many plants such as carrots and ginseng. They took the better-tasting carrots back to their farms and then passed the knowledge of farming, eating, and selling carrots on to their progeny. All regular foods sold in markets are chosen according to these criteria: (1) acceptable taste or smell, (2) easily farmed or produced, and (3) easily processed or cooked. As a result regular or familiar foods, such as beef, corn, apples, etc., have in time become a very small part of our total food territory. The plant called ginseng and most other plants, animals, and minerals have been tossed aside and forgotten. Lately, however, the world has taken a greater interest in these forgotten foods.

Examination of the present dietary situation has revealed three problems:

1. Since regular food represents only a small part of our food territory, it is possible for a human being to be deficient in some vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and other substances that nourish particular parts of the body and regenerate special cells or tissues even though they eat the best of regular foods.

2. There is evidence that proves that human beings cannot assimilate capsules of concentrated vitamins or synthetic nutrients that were invented to replace or supplement the inadequate regular diet. Nutrients can only be assimilated in natural food form, because every nutrient is balanced with other nutrients and is accompanied by naturally complimentary substances which increase its assimilation and its effectiveness.

3. Scientists thus far have not had the opportunity to test all of the forgotten foods. In other words, the properties in herbs are in some ways still a mystery and are not as familiar to us as proteins, vitamins, etc. Also, the chemical terms used to describe nutrients are inadequate for describing herbal properties. Many herbs contain properties that are unique to that herb and new terms must be invented for them. For example, Ginsenin is a property unique to ginseng.

By studying the forgotten foods, or the Tao of Forgotten Food Diet, we can promote health and prevent illness because we will know how to use them to improve the function of our internal organs and our entire body. The study of forgotten foods is divided into three sections: Taoist Herbology, Taoist Etiology, and Health Condition Determination.


Taoist Herbology is a two-part study of herbs. The first part is analysis of all plants, animals, and minerals to determine their nutritional values (proteins, vitamins, minerals, etc.), energy levels, and other chemical compositions. The second part is determining which parts of the human body each particular herb affects most and how those parts are affected. This also involves preparation of the part of the herb most suited for utilization. For example, the magnolia tree’s leaves and flowers are not of importance, whereas the outermost layer of the bark is of importance. The latter substance contains properties called Tetrahydromanodolol, Isomagolol, and Ho-Curare, which are very helpful in regenerating the stomach and uterus tissues. Another property called Magnolol is a gentle kind of antibiotic and antitoxin.

Emperor Shen Nung, the founder of the Shen Nung Dynasty (3494 B.C.), and his administration researched the properties of herbs and their relation to mankind. Since the Shen Nung Dynasty thousands of different herbs have been researched and hundreds of herbal formulas have been developed, due to the efforts of Taoists who regard herbal knowledge as most essential in the attainment of immortality.

For more than 6,000 years Taoists have kept written records of the herbs they used and their experiments with them; these written records are the basis upon which the theories and principles of Taoist Herbology were developed to make possible the formulation of herbal combinations with very little chance for error. These writings also explain how the herbal raw ingredients must be processed and prepared to obtain maximum healing results with minimum waste.


Herbs contain many nutrients―ginseng for example contains Vitamins B1, B2, C, Calcium, minerals, amino acids, etc.―but they also provide nutrients that are not found in regular food. These unique properties are called Effective Properties or Effective Composition. For example the Effective Properties of ginseng are Panaquilon (C32H56014), Panax Sapogenol (C27H4802), Panaxin (C38H66012), Panacin (C15H24), Ginsenin, and Amylase. We may call them “supernutrition.”

Herbs are strong foods; their nutrients are highly concentrated in natural, easily assimilable form. For example the herb called Atractylodes has high levels of nutrients such as Vitamins A and D (more than 20 times the amount in cod liver oil); Essential Oil, which can calm overactive organ functions; Atractylodes or Atractylons, which can lower blood sugar and relax heart muscles; Vitamins P, B1, and B12; several amino acids; and minerals. The intake of 1/4 ounce of Atractylodes equals 3 complete regular food meals―without extra fat, cholesterol, sugar, etc. It also costs less than a regular meal.

When herbs are made following classic Taoist methods into Taoist herbal combinative remedies (explained in detail later), all of an herb’s properties are retained. Not one of these properties like Vitamin B1, Ginsenin, or Magnolol are isolated or extracted from the rest and refined into singular properties with petrochemicals. Taoist remedies are minimally processed the natural way to retain as much as possible these original herbal properties.

In laboratory studies, adrenalin was shot into the human body, resulting in raised blood sugar levels. After ginseng was administered, the blood sugar level returned to normal. This is an example of super-nutritional healing, a very important property found only in herbs. It is almost impossible to obtain such effective compositions in any daily, regular food diet, (which provides only simple nutrients).

Modern laboratory technology presently cannot identify all of the properties in all herbs because some unknown elements are lost in the analytical process. Nevertheless, these unknown elements still play important roles in helping and preventing illnesses.


Herbs, like regular foods, work by adjusting the flow of vital energy in the entire body of the human being. This is accomplished by increasing the energy where it is too low and decreasing the energy where it is too high. When human beings absorb the properties of the herbs, they also absorb the vitality of the herbs. The herbs’ vitality passes through the pathways of energy (meridians) to reach the internal organs, to support and adjust them to their optimal efficiency. For example, ginseng’s electromagnetic field particularly circulates around the lung and spleen-pancreas meridians.

Herbs have been found to have tremendous energy levels. These energy levels were defined by two characteristics: Yin, which is negative, weak, sedative, and reducing; and Yang, which is positive, strong, tonifying, and increasing. Eventually the use of only these two characteristics was found to be unsatisfactory. In order to be more precise the two characteristics were expanded to a scale of five, which are:


Strong positive energy


Medium positive energy


Neutral energy


Medium negative energy


Strong negative energy

All herbs and regular foods belong to one of these five categories. As an example, dog meat is very energizing and is called Hot. Beef is Warm. Seafood such as clams is Cold. Pork is Cool. The whole egg is Neutral. If we are to effectively use our foods for better health, we must determine their energy levels; because our foods, if not properly balanced, can either over-energize or deplete us. Too much shellfish will deplete our energy, and too much dog meat will excessively energize us, encouraging hypertension, congestion, nervousness, etc. We can see, then, that it is very important to balance the energy by correctly combining the foods we eat.

For thousands of years it was known that every type of food affects our meridians in some way. Knowing this, Taoists spent an enormous amount of time determining which foods and herbs affected which meridians. They found that ginseng, for example, affected the lung and spleen-pancreas meridians. Its warm characteristics tonify and stimulate its related meridians (the lung and spleen-pancreas meridians). Besides the meridians, herbs directly affect the internal organs and supply the necessary materials to regenerate their particular cells or tissues.

Taoists determined the relationship of herbs and internal organs by matching their similar characteristics. Since there are five main internal organs, Taoists used five tastes to represent each organ.






Liver (Nervous system and gallbladder)



Heart (Small intestine and blood vessels)



Spleen-pancreas (Stomach and muscles)



Lungs (Skin and large intestines)



Kidney (Bladder and bones)

Then Taoists categorized every herb under these five tastes, after the taste of every herb was determined. For example, ginseng is sweet so it affects the spleen-pancreas. The herbs work like the Five Animal Exercises (see Tao of Revitalization, Table of Contents), that is, they support or degenerate the organs according to the Five-Element Theory and the Mother and Child Law.

An interesting fact about herbs is that they also purify the human body. We all know that the better we eat, the stronger our body becomes. But we neglect to take into account the fact that our bodies also contain parasites, such as germs and worms. As our foods make us stronger, it also makes these parasites stronger. If we like our foods, then the parasites must also like them. An example of this can be the corruption of an orange. If we place an orange on a table for a few weeks at room temperature, the orange will become covered with green-gray microorganisms. If we place a true ginseng root in the same environmental conditions for many years, the root will remain unchanged, because the microorganisms hate its taste and will never consume it. Nutrients from regular foods nourish us as well as the parasites (which take away what is supposed to be ours). In contrast, nutrients from herbs nourish us only. In this way the parasites are naturally eliminated and we are allowed to enjoy the full value of our nutritional intake.

Every day we are poisoning our bodies with polluted air and water; genetically-modified, preserved and chemicalized foods; drugs and alcohol. Some herbs are very effective in removing or neutralizing these toxins, because they improve the function of our internal organs.

To be most effective herbs must be used in their natural, unrefined and unchemicalized state. Most modern drugs have a common problem: negative side-effects. The side-effects occur because of the high concentrations of chemicals in them. If herbs were purified, chemicalized, and refined like many of the foods we have today, they too would lose much of their potential and natural balance. Thus, the most effective way to use herbs is to use the most potent portion of the plant in its natural state.

One very important principle of Taoist Herbology is that herbs must always be used in a combination or recipe. In the texts of Herbology it is stated that “There is not one thing in the world that is absolute.” Everything, including herbs, has a positive side and a negative side. For example, ginseng energizes the body, especially the lungs and spleen-pancreas, slowly; but it also produces a strong side-effect if used alone. One of the properties of ginseng called Ginsenin tightens the arteries. If the utilizer has a weakness in the vascular system, constant use of ginseng could lead to a stroke or heart attack. In order to offset or neutralize this possibly unpleasant side-effect, one must combine ginseng with another herbal ingredient, such as Astragalus. This herb is very effective in relaxing the blood vessels.

Another principle used in developing herbal formulas is to use at least four ingredients. Taoists use governmental terms when dealing with herbs: Emperor, Prime Minister, and at least two Ministers.

In order to produce an effective formula, it is necessary to correctly combine the herb’s energy level (characteristics) and the specific organs (taste) they affect. For example, there is a very popular herb formula comprised of ginseng, atractylis, poria (a type of mushroom) and licorice. These four herbs in combination energize the lungs, spleen-pancreas, and stomach without side-effects.

For thousands of years, Taoists have processed and prepared five types of herbal combinations: Tan, Kao, Wan, Shan and Jiu. The preparation of Tan involves highly technical alchemy. Considerable amounts of time―even entire lifetimes―were spent in preparing the Tan, because herbs for these must be collected when their potency peaks and must be processed by complicated alchemical processes. Every herb has a “peak profile,” i.e. their potency peaks only during specific seasons, dates and times. The alchemical processing of herbs involves specific months, dates and times and the appropriate orientation of the sun, moon, North Star, planets and stars. This kind of work is most delicate and highly complex, requiring a tremendous amount of knowledge and wisdom. The resulting Tan is the most effective of all forms of herbal combinations because it helps human beings immortalize their physical bodies.

The preparation of Kao involves only a simple extraction of the herbal combination. The resulting Kao is a liquid with honey-like consistency. Certain herbal combinations can be made into a Wan, or tablet. Certain other herbal combinations may be made into powders, or Shan. Jiu is a preparation of certain herbal combinations in wine. The latter four forms are easier to prepare than Tan and are therefore less effective.


In the Bible, it is stated in Revelations 22:2 that “The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” God intended for us to make use of all the bounty which the earth provides, especially the more particular varieties of digestible substances: herbs. But we have strayed from the Way of God and we are now starving in an era of abundant food crops. We are starving because most of these genetically modified, chemicalized foods are not providing our bodies with the nutrients our bodies need. In addition, these foods are poisoning us to death while providing us with no defense against the onslaught of germs, viruses, pollution, and radiation. To rediscover the “forgotten foods” is to give ourselves another chance. With these forgotten strong foods or herbs, the cycle of nourishment is continuous and complete, thereby enabling the cells and the tissues to regenerate constantly and be cleansed of poisons. The healing properties of strong foods go directly to the areas of the body which are most in need of replenishment, rebuilding, or cleansing. These areas are determined mainly through pulse reading. Herbs work faster and more efficiently than regular foods to nourish and energize us and to prevent illness.

An unprecedented state of balance and health may be achieved in your body when a diet of forgotten strong foods is combined along with our balanced regular food diet. The results of regular consumption of strong foods or herbs and application of knowledge concerning our bodily functions will manifest themselves immediately with concrete, tangible rewards. The entire metabolism of the body changes, as problems that have plagued us for generations are worked out. With the use of strong foods, we will be one step closer to the attainment of immortality.

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