Reed Grass / Lu Gen / Phragmites communis
Classified in “Herbs that Quell Fire” as sweet and cold to clear heat (such as fevers) and generate fluids; to clear heat from the lungs, especially in acute conditions with thick, yellow sputum; ...
Pine / Song Jie / Pinus spp.
Pine knots (from P. tabulaeformis & spp.) are classified under “Herbs that Expel Wind Dampness” as bitter and warm for wind damp painful obstruction with pain and soreness in the joints; and for trauma.
“When a Pine tree has grown for a thousand years, its resin is so concentrated that, by eating it, you can pervade all in your spirit. You can enter into the depth of the earth, hide your true identity, and change your name at will.
…With its help you can become immune to weapons. You can pass freely over land and through water, leave the obscure and enter the serene. You will be free from hunger and thirst and live as long as the sun and moon.
If you can find the resin of a thousand-year-old Pine, you can truly live long!”
Pines have been used all over the world as primary herbs for the lungs, including treatment of colds, coughs and infections. They are used at the onset of various sicknesses because of their diaphoretic properties.
American Ginseng / Xi Yang Shen / Panax quinquefolius
Classified in “Herbs that Tonify Yin” as sweet, slightly bitter, and cool to benefit qi, generate fluids, and nourish yin in deficient yin patterns and after febrile illnesses; and to nourish Lung yin for cough, coughing up blood, and loss of voice. Often the Ginsengs are known as “lung tonics” for their general beneficial effect on the lungs.
Coltsfoot / Kuan Dong Hua / Tussilago farfara
The Divine Farmer has it in the middle class of herbs as “acrid and warm. It mainly treats cough and counterflow of qi ascent, frequent panting, throat impediment, various kinds of fright epilepsy, and cold and heat evil qi.”
We left much un-discussed in the original post on The Divine Farmer's Materia Medica and it's Superior Class of herbs. Ganoderma will remain for another post, besides that it is significant that it is the first of the herbs mentioned (in this edition). The reverence for Reishi (Lingzhi) is therefore evidenced in the worlds first book on herbs. (See: Reishi) According to the text "superior class medicinals... are used as sovereigns. They mainly nourish life and correspond to heaven. They are non-toxic and taking them in large amounts for a long time will not harm people. If one intends to make one's body light, boost the qi [chi], prevent aging, and prolong life, one should base one's efforts on the superior class." The superior class is also known as the "food quality" class in that they can be taken safely and in quantity in the manner of food.
We have discussed re-working the "Emmenagogue" category of the Herbal Apprenticeship Materia Medica. Here is a look at the list with consideration of categories' influence on blood and circulation.
(From the Preface: "There are 120 superior class medicinals which are used as sovereigns. They mainly nourish life and correspond to heaven...There are 120 medium class medicinals which are used as ministers. They mainly nourish personality and correspond to humanity... There are 125 inferior class medicinals which are used as assistants and envoys. They mainly treat disease and correspond to earth..." Here we look at "Fruits & Vegetables", all three classes:
I am using The Divine Farmer's Materia Medica Blue Poppy Press. The first entry, on the Superior Class of herbs, was incomplete and there would still be more to discuss besides. Moving right along, however, (and saving those discussions for later) we will look at some of the highlights from the Middle Class of herbs.
First snow of the season and I know everybody is already thinking of planting for next year. Getting started on a planting list. This list was first made for another project, which included dreams of an arboretum. I removed irrelevant notes, but otherwise the list is as it was left in draft form a couple years ago. I will continue to edit the list into two forms: one a more refined list to be considered of the next few growing seasons (annuals for immediate harvest and perennials for near future harvest), and another a more comprehensive list including wildcrafted as well as cultivated herbs. The vision is towards a comprehensive source of herbs wildcrafted and naturally cultivated.
This is the first post of the study of The Divine Farmer's Materia Medica (Shen Nog Ben Cao Jing). I am using the Blue Poppy translation by Yang Shou-zhong. Herbs are discussed in three categories: superior, middle, and inferior (a system that is still referenced today as appearing in this text), according to their form: jades and stones, herbs, woods, animals, fruits and vegetables, and cereals. The Divine Farmer's Materia Medica is considered to be the oldest herbal (book on herbs) in the world.
Nathaniel Whitmore, herbalist