Chinese Herbology study guide

Please do not use these herbs without guidance from a licensed practitioner, these are only for study. For instance Ma Huang is illegal in the USA and was used in diet pills and thus someone had to take a lot and die. Now it is illegal. Herbs are used in FORMULAS with other herbs to balance the potency. some are used in cooking however. Please use caution.

I. Herbs the release the Exterior pathogenic factors

Phlegm in the Face herbs:
Bai Zhi: good for clearing phlegm and genital discharge issues.
Cong Er Zhi- phlegm in face.
Xin Yi Hua (flower from Magnolia tree)- phlegm in face.


Sweating herbs:
Ma Huang- Creates “Big” Sweat.
Cong Bai- good for early stage of wind-cold.
Zi Su Ye- sweat to move qi.
Xiang Ru- “Summertime” ma huang.


Warming herbs
Gu Zhi- warms the blood
Sheng Jiang (Ginger)- Warms the stomach.
Xi Xin- warms the Lungs.


Herb that clear pathogenic Wind
Jing Jie- superficial skin, wind-skin, rashes.
Fang Feng- Master of winds.
Qiang Huo- Tai Yang/Du ren (upper back and body).
Gao Ben- Tai Yang /Du ren (lower body).


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Korean SaAm Acupuncture


SaAm can be translated two ways. First it means “Alive, and/or Living”, it also means Person who lives in a stone cave. Which is what a monk does, lives in seclusion, lives like the wind, and not care to reveal identity.

Virginia just had its first SaAm acupuncture class and it is a fascinating style of acupuncture that emerged 400 years ago in the Korean Chosun Dynasty. Master SaAm was a monk physician, and a high priest in the Buddhist sect.

In legend he was thought to have meditated in a cave for many years and was able to open his “mind’s eye” and saw through the core of acupuncture mystery. His only surviving clinical record claims that in only 1 treatment, he cured a patient who had been suffering with the same condition for dozens of years. After his death, his method remained hidden for 400 years.

It was not until a contemporary scholar and doctor Dr. Hong Kyung Kim resurrected his system of medicine. The story goes that Dr. Hong Kyung Kim had a small acupuncture clinic. He tried a few points in a small text on some of the points mentioned by Master SaAm. He was able to treat a few people and word got around. However, while some people had great results, others did not. Dr. Hong Kyung Kim closed up his clinic, and went to the mountain monastery and for 14 years studied the I-Ching (Book of Changes), The Huang Di Nei Jing (Yellow Emperor Classic on Internal medicine), and the Buddhist Classics. After that time , Dr. Hong Kyung Kim was able to understand SaAm method and re-opened his clinic. Our teacher Dr. Choo was a student of Dr. Hong Kyung Kim back in 1984. Dr. Choo is in demand worldwide to teach this method.

The method contains:
1. Yin yang theory
2. 5 Element theory
3. Zang Fu theory
4. Meridian theory including: 5 Shu point method.
5. 6 Qi/energy theory.
6. Root and Branch.
7. Mindpath meridianology.
8. Open, Close, and Pivot theory
9. Microcosm-macrocosm.

Mindpath meridianology- mental struggles affect the meridians and Qi flow and have a effect on the persons harmony and well being.

1. Level 1 is Physical associated with feelings of being overly satisfied having basic necessities (Tai yin) vs. dissatisfaction (Yang ming). This means basic needs of food, shelter, money, clothing. Tai Yin and Yang ming will balance the physical.

2. Level 2 is Emotional: having feelings of satisfaction (Shao Yin) vs. dissatisfaction (Tai Yang) in emotions, romance, aesthetics, sexual passion.

3. Level 3 is Intellectual: having feelings of satisfaction (Jue Yin) vs. dissatisfaction (Shao Yang) in Ego, knowledge, power, intellect, and fame.

So point combinations are based on the mind of the patient. A example would be a patient who is restless and worries due to financial problems (Physical) causing relationship issues (Emotional) and struggles at work (Intellect power struggle).

Some characteristics of SaAm acupuncture:
-It is only done on one side of the body. usually on the Healthy side.
-Men are needled on the Left side and Women on the right side.
-Needling direction tonifies when flowing with direction of meridian and and sedates against the direction of meridian.
-Rotating the needle clockwise tonifies, and counter clockwise sedates.
-Inserting the needle while patient exhales tonifies, while inhale sedates.
-Closing the hole after needle withdrawal tonifies, while keeping hole open sedates.
-Slow insertion fast withdrawal tonifies, fast insertion, slow withdrawal sedates.



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Chinese Thermal Diet explained: 4000 years of food classification

last update: 4-8-2015 (added: image: Food and taste- stomach and spleen state)

“The most important thing is Qi” – Dr. Amy Tseng

Traditionally the Chinese way of eating is based on ‘Qi’ energy (force that maintains our vital signs). This is done to maximize the daily amount of qi that we are given. It is important to note that many indigenous cultures seem to have naturally figured out what is best suited for them. For instance- those in tropical regions tend to eat what naturally cools them down, while those in Polar Regions tend to eat what will keep them warm. The diet is based on some of the principles of the macrobiotic diet- which is eating according to where you are. Currently I am living in a North American temperate zone that has four seasons- Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall, so I must adjust my diet to this climate. If I were to move to a polar or tropical temperate zone then I should change accordingly, but because I am a zone that has 4 seasons, I must not eat as if I were in any other zone. This means that tropical fruits and vegetables, imported fruits and vegetables from Europe, Asia, Africa, etc. are really of no use for me. If I were to live in the Tropical region then it is good to eat the local foods there, including the spicy which will make a person sweat to prevent heat exhaustion or heat stroke; however the tropical diet is not important for my current living zone. The best concentration of food sources are local and regional areas. Another good thing to consider in diet is organic food sources. Today our meats and vegetables are not fully raised properly. Livestock is often raised in factory type settings with steroids and anti-biotics, farms may be using toxic pesticides, and industry farming can deplete the minerals in the soil.

University of Richmond lecture with Chinese Dietitian Dr. Amy

Interview with Chinese Doctor Amy: Wilson Pitts and Dr. Amy

“Traditional Chinese Medicine and Diet both originate from the practice and experience in daily life”- Old Chinese medicine phrase.

The Chinese diet is based on thousands of years of research in many Taoist monasteries. These places have researched the energies of the diet for health and medical benefits.

The food energies are based on 5 Thermal energy types:.
Cold food energy is a weak force that makes the person feels generally tired.
Cool food energy generally has a cooling effect on the persons system.
Warm food energy have a warming and nourishing effect on the human body.
Hot or Fire food energy is strong and has a heating effect that generally makes the person seem to have a lot of energy, but is the most dangerous of them all.
Neutral food energies do not change body temperature.

The cold and fire foods are the ones to avoid because they throw the ‘qi’ off balance by being extremes. A combination of these cold and hot/fire extremes leads to ‘Empty Fire’ leading to serious imbalances.*

*some schools classify warm, cool, neutral, warm, and hot thermal properties differently so there will be some discrepancies between various Chinese dietary systems. Example: one school may list Avocado as hot (oils), while another list it as cooling (fruits and vegetable).

Food, Taste, and the state of your Stomach and Spleen. (click on image for larger size)

Cold energy foods are usually raw and uncooked vegetables, tropical fruits and vegetables, raw meats like cold cuts and sushi. Eat these very rarely if at all, if you are in cold weather regions. The raw and uncooked foods tend to make the stomach overwork thereby using much of the bodies ‘qi’ energy just to be able to break and digest it. We are not concerned with vitamins and minerals of the food, but how to maximize your daily energy. This diet is not based on calories, carbohydrates nor protein but solely the ‘qi’ energy. People with cold energy symptoms may be more timid or afraid, prone to feeling cold, have a hard time waking up, feel generally fatigued.
Some of the cold foods include:
Sushi, Salads, Celery, cucumbers, pineapple, coconuts, mangos, cold cuts, cold drinks, cauliflower, Bok Choi, Mung bean sprouts, seaweed, turnip, tofu, Asian pear, banana, kiwi, rhubarb, watermelon, grapefruit, clams, crab, lobster, scallops, shrimp, veal, juices.

Hot or Fire foods Should be avoided, or very rarely. These are foods cooked under direct fire like barbecued, grilled, baked, and cooked in oil, spicy, fried, roasted, melted cheese. These are also foods with high amount of toxins and sugars.
Some of these Hot/fire foods include: caffeine, coffee, chocolate, deep fried foods, baked foods like pizza, black pepper, curry, MSG, poppy seeds, sesame, spicy, candy, soda, avocado, chili, chips and fries, eggplant, raw onion, red pepper, roasted nuts, lychee, tangerine, eel, lamb, venison, hot chocolate, alcohol, cigarettes, and other stimulant drugs.

Cool foods are good for the human body on summer days, warmer days of spring and fall. These foods are geared towards stabilizing the negative effects of fire foods.
Some Cool foods are: apples, oranges, lemons, blueberries, pears, peppermint, strawberries, grapes, alfalfa sprouts, Brussel sprouts, dill, lettuce, mushroom, mint, parsley, snow peas, white corn, cantaloupe, cranberry, honeydew, lime, nectarine, red banana, starfruit, cabbage, salt, honey, sugar, vinegar.

Warm foods are ideal all year around and are more important in winter as well. These are foods that are cooked by way of simmering, stews, soups, wok, etc. Staple foods like grains, pasta, bread, and rice are also very ideal in all cultures and are considered warm foods. Teas are also considered warm as well.
Warm foods include- beef, chicken, fish, pork, eggs, duck, cheese, ham, rabbit, milk, wines, bread, rice, soups, stews, teas. black beans, adzuki beans, broccoli, carrots, kale, lentils, peas, potatoes, soybeans, pumpkin, squash, string beans, zucchini, ginger, garlic, onion, tomato, apricot, currants, blackberry, cherry, guava, papaya, plum, raisin, almond, date, peach, raspberry, basil, bay, chives, paprika, sage, thyme, white pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, butter, artichoke, bell pepper, cous cous, oatmeal, small bok choi.

The Charts below share: Food| Thermal property| Flavor| Organ it influences and Medicinal action
Key: LU- Lungs, LI- large Intestines, ST- Stomach, SP- Spleen, HT- Heart, SI- Small intestines, BL/UB Urinary Bladder, KI/KD- Kidney, PC- Pericardium, TW- Triple Warmer, GB- Gall Bladder, LV- Liver.

Click on image for larger view of: Grains

Click on image for larger view of: Meats

Click on image for larger view of: Vegetables

Click on image for larger view of: Legumes

Click on image for larger view of: Fruits

Click on image for larger view of: Herbs and Spices

Click on image for larger view of: Nuts and Seeds

Click on image for larger view of: Seafood

The Chinese diet is a varied diet designed to help alleviate symptoms of illness often produced by the wrong foods. Acute and chronic conditions can be heighten by eating the wrong types of foods, and alleviated by eating the correct foods. The wrong foods for example can cause lung issues like asthma, phlegm, and chronic colds. PMS, cramps, infertility, and heavy or scanty periods are affected by wrong foods. High blood pressure and diabetes are affected by foods.

Food flavor categories:
Sweet: enters the Stomach and Spleen, helps to boost deficiency.
Pungent: enters the Lungs and large intestines, promote distribution and circulation.
Sour: enters the Liver and Gall bladder, helps to arrest the abnormal discharge of fluids.
Bitter: enters the heart and Small Intestines, it helps to clear heat and dry dampness.
Salty: enters the Kidney and Bladder, helps to dissipate accumulations and nourish blood.

Warm and hot energy foods, pungent and sweet will have a tendency to make the Qi energy rise upwards and float out, while the cooler and cold, sour, bitter and salty, will lower down and sink deep into the body.

Many of the foods in the grocery store are not even good for the body. The foods that are hot in nature really need to be removed since they cause inflammation. The alkaline and glycemic index diets are naturally already in the Chinese diet. Most vegetables are alkaline in nature so to get 6 cups of veggies, just eat 2 cups of veggies for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Many foods are high in acidic properties thus a rise in acidic health issues like acid re-flux.

Since the diet is Qi based, by correcting the Qi, the body can work towards homeostasis and weight management. A weak and skinny body will being to fill out to normal “original” weight and stomach becomes balanced, a over-weight person Qi will balance allowing them to make better food choices and naturally shed off the pounds towards “original” weight. That is entirely up the the individual to make the right choices and will power to put the correct things in their body. Health is in your hands.


Try to eliminate wheat, corn, and quinoa grains from the diet since they are “fire” in nature. This excess heat burns off the positive blood and fluids and is just a fake energy in the beginning. They will leave you dry and inflamed in the end. Coffee should be moderated as it is excessive heat, it has a 6 hour half-life. Have it for breakfast if you must, but we suggest green tea as a healthier alternative to caffeine “fire”.
Reduce dairy as it can cause phlegm, reduce sugar as it causes a spleen imbalance. Sugar has a false sense of yin energy, then you crave more and it becomes a cycle.
Peanuts are acidic and inflammatory and cause phlegm.

Dietary therapy is a lifestyle change to help alleviate the symptoms of your imbalance, illness, and pain much easier. It is to train you to eat to feel the best you can. Feel full of energy and calm, have enough energy for work and to enjoy life. Energy for the things you like to do like hobbies, sports, and family time. Energy to not feel down, lethargic, stressed, and worried. This diet is based on treating phlegm, cough, chronic conditions, frequent colds, sugar cravings, menstrual issues, arthritic pain, depressed, anxiety, and digestive problems. Make small goals that you can do.

Raw foods are “cold” on the thermal scale and extinguish the digestive system. The Stomach is strongest at 9am to 11am, and only people with a lot of heat, excessive heat, and strong digestion can eat them.
Steaming cooked veggies is the best way. Especially watery veggies like squash, winter melon, bitter melon, zucchini. It is always important to use a cup of water when simmering veggies in a pan. Cook to softness or less for a slight crunch. It is always a good idea to when steaming, stir-fry or simmering to use warm herbs like ginger, garlic, and onions.
Starchy vegetables are best baked like a sweet potato, butternut squash, or pumpkin. Adding thyme, or a sweet herb like cinnamon and nutmeg will help.
Fish- the lighter fish like halibut is best to steam with ginger and scallion. Trout, mackerel, and salmon are best in a broiler. Heartier fish like swordfish “steaks” are best in a skillet with a little oil.
Fruits are have natural sugars so they should be regulated. Wash them good. Some have a higher amount of sugars like watermelons, dates, bananas, mangoes and can spike up blood sugar. Fruits are best after dinner before bed to help sugar cravings.
Water- drink plenty of water daily, not flavored water. Yin Yang Tang (decotion) half hot water add half cold water to cup- drink. Drinking hot/warm water is very good for qi. Avoid ice cold drinks.

Grains and starches:
Rice is sweet and neutral; it is good for LU, ST, SP, boosts qi. Really good on congee. Brown rice is dryer and has more nutrients and fiber. Black rice nourishes both liver and kidneys.
Buckwheat is cold, toasting it makes it alkaline, it is good for phlegm and masses.
Millet is gluten free, sweet, salty, cool, it boosts spleen/ST/KD.
Amaranth has more calcium, iron, and protein. It is sweet, bitter, and cool. It enters the LU, Sp and helps drain dampness and inflammation.
Wheat, corn, and Quinoa all obstruct qi and cause damp heat which is a sticky, dry, irritable feeling along with qi stagnation. They torch the body of fluids, blood, and balance.

Starchy Vegetable:
Mountain yam: Technically an herb, LU, ST, KD, sweet, neutral. Helps jing, loose stools, swelling, coughs. Avoid if you have an excess condition.
Sweet Potato- good for swelling, constipation, skin conditions, it is sweet and warm. People with dampness should avoid.
Taro: sweet pungent, helps build spleen qi, detox, dissolve masses. Eat cooked.
Asian pumpkin: sweet neutral, LU, SP, ST, detox, diuretic to reduce swelling especially for men with prostate issues, for lung inflammation, asthma, good for poisonings from bee stings, plants, etc.
Carrot: sweet pungent, neutral (does not make body hot or cold), SP, Lu, LV, moisture liver and eyes, dissolves dampness, clears heat.
Daikon: pungent, cool, soups-sweet, SP, ST, LI, LU, helps qi go down, dissolves phlegm, urination, stops bleeding. The seeds are an herb.
Lotus root: sweet cold, HT, LV,SP, ST. Cooling blood. Good for women with spotty or heavy periods.
Burdock root: bitter, pungent, cool. Clears heat, wind, sore throat, excess dampness, skin conditions, eczema.
Beat- good for phlegm, excess water, Liver blood.
Dry parsnip: pungent, warm. BL, LU, SP, LV, skin conditions, itchiness, wind. Clears dampness, joint pain

Watery vegetables help to moisten and hydrate the body. Leafy greens help dry the body. Neutral veggies are broccoli, Okra, green beans. Eat 6 cups if possible. 2 cups breakfast/lunch/dinner. Make smoothies, stir-fry or grill.
Winter melon- cooling, sweet, helps excess swelling, LU, LI, SI, BL clears lung heat, phlegm, cough, dry mouth, ST heat, thirst, diabetes.

Silk gourd- two varieties: smooth and ridged. It is sweet, cold, LV,LU,LI, ST, clears LI heat, cooling to blood, good for heavy period, UTI (urinary tract infections), clears skin, good for lactating women, LU dampness, coughs.
Cucumbers- sweet, cold, LU, SP, ST, relieves hot, dry, and swelling.
Celery- cooling, hydrating, LU, LV, LI, moistening, excess inflammation, detoxifying, stops bleeding, cold sores, masses and shingles.
Long Squash- fights parasites, sweet, cold, ST, SI, clears heat, must cook!
Fuzzy squash, zucchini, Yellow squash- sweet, neutral, helps excessive inflammation, UTI, dissolves masses, jaundice, diabetes, sores and wounds.
Chiota- ST, LV, moves ST qi, stops cough, aids digestion, good for stress and tight chest.

Cooking Veggies:
Winter melon- cook with pork and ginger, rosemary as a soup/stew.
Silk gourd- peel, stir-fry, do not over cook.
Cucumber- add it to smoothies.
Celery- use as a dip.
Long squash- add to red lentils with a dash of curry.
Zucchini- make baked zucchini fries.
Chiota- seering it with sea salt.

Neutral water veggies:
Green Beans: sweet, warm, SP, ST, KD.
Bitter melon: bitter, cold, HT, SP, LU, diabetics, controls sugar, flushed out heat, good for eyes, HT fire, detoxifying, Not good for weak constitution folks.
Eggplant- cool, sweet, SP, ST, LI. Circulates blood, pregnant women should limit/avoid and women with unusual periods. Use warming spices with it.
Water bamboo- sweet, cold, LV, SP, LU, detox, helps thirst, urination and bowel movement, UTI, jaundice, helps lactation.
Mushroom: shitakee LV, ST. Qi, central Qi, appetite, SP strengthening, digestive system, wind clearing, moves qi to clear damp, anti-cancer food, weak and fatigued, builds blood, helps blood pressure and cholesterol, chronic liver issues and swelling.
Wood ear fungus: sweet, LU, SP, LI, LV, boosts blood, Qi, nourish Yin. Add to soup.
Okra- diuretic, KD, BL, sore throat (slime helps) , digestive issues, ulcers, cooling, healing, increase breast milk, period regulation, if you have loose stools, do not eat Okra.
Broccoli and cauliflower- cool, pungent, bitter, diuretic, eyes, clears summer heat, vitamin c. Cream of broccoli soup, cauliflower “mashed potatoes” with almond milk, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Bell peppers- Red and Green. Red is higher in value. HT, SP, helps pain, digestion, elevated triglycerides, eye conditions, ST inflammation, Skin conditions.
Avocado- sweet, cooling, KD, LV, nourish yin, thirst, HT and cardiovascular system, transform phlegm, chronic LV conditions.
Seaweed: several types. Salty, cold, ST, SP, KD, helps dissolve masses, phlegm, eliminate water, excessive vaginal discharge, counter indicated if you have dampness.
Seaweed salads, or add to stews- ite in knots add carrot, chicken, soy sauce, miso, fish stew.

Long beans- sweet, salty, neutral- ST, SP, KD, strengthen SP, dampness removal, build up KD, watery vaginal discharge, KD essence, bone marrow, ears, brain, diabetes.
Heart of Palm: bitter, neutral, HT, SP, nourish HT, calming. Stops bleeding, prolapsed organ, qi deficiency, qi rising, fertility issues. Add to salads.
Artichoke- sweet, neutral, LV, GB, KD, clears LV and GB, stress. LV qi stagnation, GB issues, jaundice, LV inflammation, stream it with lemon and salt, eat leaves. Artichoke heart is good with spinach dip.
Peas- sweet, neutral, ST, Sp, ST issues, HT issues.

Seeds and nuts:
These can be moistening to the large intestines.
Black sesame seeds: ground up is best. Sprinkle on rice. Sweet and neutral, LV, SP, KD, good for women reproductive health, builds LV, KD, blood. LI, lower back, tinnitus, include on cereal. Helps lactation. Contra indicated for loose stools and excessive discharge.
Lotus seed: SP, KD, HT, clams spirit, pregnant women, sleeping issues, elderly incontinence, heavy periods. Counter indicated: dampness.
Ginko nut: sweet, bitter, dry, neutral. Mild toxicity eat little. LU, KD, cough, asthma, frequent urination. 3-9 grams.
Foxnut/Gorgon nut- sweet, dry, neutral, SP, LI. Contra indication: loose stools.
Pine nuts: sweet, warming, LU, LV, LI, builds blood, wind elimination, spasms, stroke, moisture body, dry cough. Bi syndromes: painful joints, wind, traveling pain.
Pumpkin seeds: raw, punded, baked. Sweet, bitter, kills parasites, lacting women, swelling, edema. Soak them.
Almonds- cough . asthma, phlegm, counter indicated- dry cough.
Pecans- boost kidney, middle jiao, mental stress, counter indicated: hot, loose stools.
Walnut- warming, dry. KD, LV, LU.
Cashew- sweet, neutral, thirst, diabetes, cough w/phlegm. HT fire calming.
Pistachios- “happy nut” sweet bitter, sour, neutral, LV, KD, good for stress. Build LV and KD, good for blood.
Flax seed- sweet, neutral, ST, LI. Itchy skin, constipation, oil can be circulating.
Hemp seed- high in protein, sweet, neutral, elimination, builds blood, iron, .
Sunflower seeds- ST, SP
Gobo seeds: skin conditions, cold, sore throat.
Apricot kernel- women period- clots, hard to have period.

Other foods: grains, fruits, vegges, etc.
Chinese Sorgum- warm, sweet, SP, ST, Middle Jiao to strengthen spleen, excrete dampness, arrest dysentery.
Yellow soy- Neutral Sweet, SP, LI, Strengthen Spleen, relieve epigastric distention, and moisten dryness.
Mung Bean- cool, sweet, HT, ST, clear pathogenic heat, induce diuresis.
Apple- cool, sweet, LU/ST, promotes body fluids, moisten lungs, relieves restlessness, removes heat, dispels alcohol.
Banana- cold, sweet, LU, LI, clears pathogenic heat, moistens intestines, removes poisons and toxicity.
Pear- cool, sweet, LU and ST, promotes body fluids, moisten dryness, clears heat, and resolves phlegm.
Peach- warm, sweet, sour, LU, ST, promote body fluids, moisten intestines, promote blood circulation, remove food stagnation.
Tangerine- swet, sour, cool, LU, ST, promote stomach and Qi, helps thirst and moisten lungs.
Hawthorne fruit- sour, sweet, warm, SP, ST, LU promotes digestion, blood circulation, blood stasis.
Spinach- sweet , cool, LI, ST, nourish blood, astring yin, moisten dryness.
Coriander- pungent, warm LU, SP- induce diuresis, digestion.
Garlic- acrid, warm SP, ST, LU, promotes circulation of Qi, wams SP/ST, removes masses in abdomen.
Alcohol/spirits/wine- bitter, sweet, toxic, HT, LV, LU, SI, blood circulation, pathogenic cold, enliven spleen, warm middle jiao, helps medicine take effect sooner, muscle spasm, obstructions in chest.
Table salt- salty, cold, ST, SP, KD, SI, LI- induces vomit, removes phlegm, cools blood, removes fire.
Vinegar- sour, bitter, warming, LV, ST dissipates blood stasis, arrests bleeding, clear toxic materials.
Peanut oil- sweet, neutral SP, LU, LI, tonify spleen, moisten lungs, loosen bowels.
Pepper- pungent, hot, warms middle jiao, ST, LI, clear phlegm and toxic materials.
Honey- sweet, neutral, LU, SP, LI, strength middle jiao, moisten dryness, clear toxins.
Crystal sugar- sweet, neutral, LU, SP, middle jiao, replenish Qi.
Ginger- pungent, warming, SP, ST, LU relieve exterior syndrome, disperse cold.
Turtle- sweet, neutral, LV, nourish yin, cool blod, restore vital energy.
Bean curd- sweet, cool, SP, ST, LI, invigorates Qi, acts on SP, ST, promotes body fluids.
Quail eggs- sweet, neutral, invigorates Qi, replenish blood, strength and muscle and bones.
Milk- sweet, neutral, HT, LV, SP, treats consumptive diseases, reinforce LU and SP.

Rotate foods as much as you can. Too much ginger is not good as it can build up heat. Too much cold and cool creates a weakness. Understand that veggies are the most alkalizing foods.

Journal of the Tao Experience Foundation: Wilson Pitts with Dr. Amy Tseng
Qi magazine issue 1, vol. 1.
Chinese Medicated Diet, Publishing house of Shanghai College of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Traditional Chinese Medicine Youtube: Christina Kapothanasis, L. Ac., Dipl. O.M.
Shennong website

Historical Classics:
Zhou dynasty: Yellow Emperor Classic on Internal Medicine.
Han Dynasty: Shennong’s Herbal Classic.
Treatise on Febrile and Misc. Diseases- Zhang Zhongjing.
Tang Dynasty- Prescriptions Worth 1000 Gold for Emergencies- Sun Simiao.
Yuan Dynasty- Principles of Correct Diet- Hu Sihui.
Qing dynasty- Recipes of Sui Xiju- Wang Shixiong.
Analysis of Food and Drink for Treatment of Diseases.- Zhang Mu.

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Jinji Duli- “Rooster on One Leg” by Sun Jian-Yu interviewed by Bradford Tyrey

Bradford Tyrey Book at


A: As I have said before, exceptional boxing masters of the past generations had most carefully
and deliberately given exact names to each posture or set of movements as the basis of true
instruction. Each name taught a meaning or double meaning, method of practice, and often a
philosophical teaching. A good example for me to speak on is the taijiquan set of movements
called 金鷄獨立 Jinji Duli (Golden Rooster Stands Alone).

Gongji公鸡 (roosters) have the ability to sense the approach of evil in the form of demons.
When a rooster cries out it called gongming公鸣 (a crowing rooster), its crowing is able to
frighten demons, making them flee. According to the taijiquan posture Gongji Duli 公鸡独立
(Rooster Stands Alone), my father said that his taijiquan master, Hao Wei-Zhen, expounded
on the posture’s name which teaches the lesson of self-diligence and reliance in one’s own
courage to confront and overcome any hindrances encountered in life. A double meaning,
according to a play on words, is another reason the posture’s name was created. Duli 独立 (to
stand alone), has a similar enunciation as duli 独力 (individual effort). The inferred
connotation is that one can ‘stand alone’ at the very top of a summit, and through trusting his
own attentiveness in studies can be fruitful in passing the civil service examinations, thereby
attaining the rank of a high official or government minister.

Sun taijiquan’s three sequential postures composing
金鷄獨立Jinji Duli (Golden Rooster Stands Alone).

Master Sun also taught his students the double meanings of many postures. For example,
gongji 公鸡 (rooster) has the same pronunciation as ji 吉 (lucky, auspicious). The morning rooster that crows (gong ming 公鸣) sounds very similar to功名gong ming (merit and fame).
My father’s taijiquan teacher, Master Hao Wei-Zhen, had taught many further meanings of 独立(to stand alone), many are deeply philosophical, others are profound methods of internal practices. These are taught throughout the practice of neijiaquan.

Author’s Notation:
One of my classmates under Madam Sun was a professor of history at Bei Da (Beijing University). He had explained the following to us, as it had direct bearing on Jinji Duli (Golden Rooster Stands Alone).
[The expression 独立潮 duli chao (to stand alone before the tide) was well known during past generations. The character 潮 chao (tide) has the same pronunciation as the character 朝 (court [government]). In essence, 独立潮 duli chao (to stand alone before the tide) has a veiled meaning, that being a high ranked government officer ‘standing alone before the emperor.’

Temple of Heaven


In the 1980s Master Liu Xing-Han taught us that from 1911-1937 the Temple of Heaven in Beijing became a very special meeting place for both baguazhang and xingyiquan sects to practice and exchange information. His friend and one of his teachers Master Cheng You-Xin [Cheng Ting-Hua's youngest son], regularly conducted classes there near the stairway to the upper platform. The photo here was taken in the early 1920s when these classes were flourishing. Masters Yin Fu, Liu Bin, Cheng You-Long, Sun Lu-Tang, Cheng You-Xin and others held classes there on a regular basis. I was given this photo (rather traded for it) by Master Liu Xing-Han. I hope that all of you will treasure it as part of the cultural heritage of neijiaquan.

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San-t’i shi explained by Sun Jian-Yun, interviewed by Bradford Tyrey

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In the 1980s I asked Madam Sun Jian-Yun (Sun Lu-T’ang’s daughter) and Wang Xi-Kui (Sun Lu-T’ang’s disciple) many questions over the years. Here are two explanations provided by Madam Sun, and further substantiated by Wang [unfortunately Wang passed away only a couple of years after studying with him]. The explanations below are the initial explanations that were given when entering into neijiaquan practices. Further detailed clarifications were given with each palm or fist set.

Q: Would you explain the true meaning of 三體式(san-t’ishi), according to the explanation of
your father [Sun Lu-T’ang] and his teacher, Master Guo Yun-Shen?

Compiler’s Notation: The Chinese character 體(t’i), according to period dictionaries during the lives of masters
Guo and Sun, means: the whole body; a frame consisting of many parts; substance; essentials; to embody; a solid; a
partition; completeness. The character (體) is composed of two radicals: bone [the human skeleton] and sacrificial
vessel. These meanings will help you to understand Madam Sun’s response. As she had been an art teacher of fine
painting methods, she explained this written character according to its two radical parts, and to the teachings of her
father and Master Guo. Therefore, 三體式 (san-t’ishi) can, in part, be translated as: Three Embodiments Posture;
Three Substances Posture; or Three Essentials Posture. It is safe to say that collectively, these three translations of
三體式 will bring you closer to understanding its inclusive meaning. I have chosen to use ‘embodiment’ as the fore
fronting translation based upon clarifications presented by both Madam Sun and Wang Xi-Kui (Sun Lu-T’ang’s

A: There have been so many general explanations of this meaning, most falling far from its true
explanation and significance. Let me clarify this meaning as I was taught. First, are the san-
wait’i(three external embodiments): one’s head, hands and feet. The tip of the head [one’s
nose], the tips of the lead hand [fingertips], and tips of the lead foot [tips of the toes] must
point toward a central forward position. These are often referred to as san-duanshi(three
sections posture], and are but one part of the Three Embodiments.Second, are the san-neit’i
(three internal embodiments). These are the san tan-t’ien(three pill fields [cauldrons of qi]),
Located in the upper, middle, and lower regions. The outer three are paired with kai (to open
[extend]), while the inner three are paired with he’r(to unite [contract]. Thereby, outer and
inner conjoin to transform within the principle of kai-he’r(open-unite) within the three
neijiaquan arts: taijiquan, baguazhang and xingyquan. We can now form an overall
understanding of 三體(san-t’i). The character三(three) refers to three things: the outer three,
inner three, and the three neijiaquan arts. The character 體refers to the complete interior and
exterior structure of the human body as a vessel [sacrificial vessel], which is the embodiment,
unification and transformation of the 三. Three further represents: Heaven, Man, and Earth.


Q: Your father taught the 十六處練法Shiliu Chu Lian Fa (Sixteen Governing [Distinguishing] Training Methods). Would you explain the meaning of each of the governing skills and how each applies to neijiaquan practice?
1. A be an exact inch, but rather a step that is very, very small, near to that of an inch. My father taught that brutish force stems from large, aggressive stepping that relies upon muscular generation. The smallness of an inch in stepping requires that largeness [force] must come from the many parts of the body conjoining to produce ‘unified force’ that is issued through only a single inch of advancement or retreat. In this manner the other fifteen governing parts [developed skills] merge to become an overwhelming force and are carried by a single inch, thereby totaling the sixteen methods. When we practice taijiquan or any boxing art,the action of cunbu(inch stepping) can be used throughout the form or in specific movements. Such stepping is the governing foundation to practice cunji(inch striking) in which whole body strikes and can hit an adversary with great force from only an inch away. This is the union of the upper [hands] and lower [feet] regions. Both regions reflect and support the other. Fault in one shall result in fault in the other region. This is why I often remind all of you to adhere to the shiliu fa (sixteen methods), as they form the structure for correct inner and outer development and attainment. Do not forget!

Translation note on the character 寸 :Formed of the radicals: hand and one beneath it, to denote the pulse of the wrist, an inch from the hand. The Chinese inch or punto, which is regarded as equal to the middle joint of the finger; it measures one-tenth of a cubit or foot, thereby meaning ‘a very little.’

踐Jian(Trample on or over); from the radicals: foot and in a narrow, small place. 踐Jianrefers to your feet [including the legs] feeling as if they are like that of a wild horse’s hooves and are able to swiftly trample anything in their path. This feeling, as if to restrain a horse about to gallop, is kept abet by the tether of one’s spirit. Jian is the skill of moving with overwhelming force, yet without such force. It is the ability to initiate the impetus of movement within the cocoon of tranquility. This means that jian(trampling) can assume [take] any position that is desired, as nothing can stand against its force. One can step fully, half-step, obliquely step, withdraw or jump, each possess the method of jian. However, within jian it is essential to maintain one’s zhong din (central equilibrium), else improper leaning and loss of balance will cause one to fall, thereby the skill of ‘trampling’ instantly vanishes. Though correct stepping methods forefront jiangong(trampling development) it is zhangshen(long [the entire] body) that must be applied toward skill attainment. Students have further asked if the hands also follow the practice of jianfa(the trampling method)? My father told his students that the hands and feet are like the four hooves of a horse, all are the same; all adhere to 踐.: Yes, I will present the fundamental explanation according to how my father taught this within our family. You must remember that each governing skill must be so very carefully practiced and refined over the years. The mistake that most students make is that they learn of these skills though never pursue the secrets of each. Without unlocking these skills, the essential parts of true development within neijiaquan cannot be attained. The order of these skills is not so important, as some students must begin with the seventh, another with the thirteenth. It is the integration of all parts that is most important and most necessary.
Notation: Madam Sun’s explanations were presented to us while attending classes. However, I felt it important to explain each Chinese written character according to radicals and explanations from Chinese dictionaries that were period to the days of Master Sun Lu-T’ang and his teachers.This approach significantly helped me to understand Madam Sun’s meanings in a more comprehensive manner. In fact, she was impressed by this method that she asked the other members of the class do the same. For me, it was a matter to understand how to correctly practice the 十六處練法Shiliu Chu Lian Fa (Sixteen Governing [Distinguishing] Training Methods), as one misinterpretation, according to Madam Sun, would unravel the thread that binds the sixteen together.
2. 寸Cun (Inch) ~ refers to one’s foot taking a step that is near to that of a single inch. Whether the step is forward, to the rear, or to an angle the entire force of the body must be generated through and into an inch of stepping. This step is referred to as cunbu(inch step).

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