The sexual prowess of internal martial art masters is legendary. I was told by one of my teachers that his teacher (in his 80s) was still enjoying regular relations.
I often wondered what could be the explanation for this? According to traditional chinese medicine (TCM), correct tai chi practice exercises the “kidney/liver” system. In TCM, kidney/liver does not mean only the physical organs. The kidney/liver system refers to a whole complex of spiritual, emotional, physical and other factors. The kidneys are related to life force and strong kidneys means strong libido, strength and creativity to be successful in the world.
However, I stumbled upon some research that offers a more tangible explanation for why tai chi could have these miraculous effects. Keep in mind that good and correct tai chi instruction is really hard to find. The millions of old people practicing in the park are largely doing it incorrectly!! Hard to believe but true. The real stuff has been watered down and popularized for the masses.
Most of the old people practicing in the park are doing it wrong and not getting benefits over fresh air, sunlight and walking. This is why tai chi practice does not appeal to young people and most non-chinese people.
If word got out about the side effects of correct tai chi practice, then everybody would do it and older people would be become vibrant and youthful.
Anyway, this study and many many others are saying that simple pelvic floor exercises can restore proper functioning to men provided they aren’t too far gone already (severe heart disease or heavy drinkers).
When tai chi is practiced correctly, it’s like an intense pelvic floor exercise. When the body is positioned correctly and relaxed the legs form a “bow” which results in the pelvic floor lifting and supporting the body. As one moves through the form, the pelvic area and legs get a thorough work out. It takes about 10 minutes to do the entire long form. Practiced up to 10 times per day, it’s 100 minutes of kegels and pelvic floor exercise each day!
If you are a tai chi student and do not feel this or your practice feels weak, seek out some new instruction. Traditional chen family style with a good lineage is a great place to start.
Be careful when dosing medications and eating spices and herbs like Long Pepper. These substances can slow down the breakdown and removal of some substances increasing the amount that gets in your blood. This has the added benefit of lowering your dosage. Many people save money dosing PDE-5 inhibitors like Cialis and Viagra by taking some Long Pepper with it.
Long Pepper (Piper Longum) or “Pippali” is a spice and medicinal that has a long history of use in asia for a variety of ailments. It’s considered a powerful aphrodisiac and a tonic for the whole body, especially the digestive system.
It looks like this and you can buy them in online or in indian supermarket where they sell herbs and spices:
Did you know that if you take turmeric with Long Pepper you will absorb the active ingredient curcumin 2000% better than when taken alone?
The article states that One study found that when even 2g of curcumin was ingested, its serum levels were very low. However, when 20mg piperine was added to curcumin the bioavailability increased by 2000%. The bioavailability, serum levels and levels of absorption of curcumin all improved dramatically. Thus, if one takes turmeric, most of it is unutilized unless supplemented by addons such as black pepper.
As stated above, the ability to absorb more curcumin fromm turmeric is due to long pepper slowing down the breakdown and removal of curcumin in the body, so more is absorbed.
It’s very possible to overdose on your medication if you’re not aware of this fact. Grapefruit is another seemingly innocuous substance that can overdose your medication. Grapefruit juice also slows down the removal of some medications in your body and thereby increase the absorption rate.
On the flip side, you can increase the effectiveness of medications with Long Pepper. Especially if some of those substances are hard to absorb. Do your research and always check with your doctor first.
It’s time to reconsider high intensity training routines that are becoming a popular exercise trend. The theory is that short bursts of intense exercise are similar to what our ancestors experienced and are more effective at burning fat and releasing growth hormone. However, for older more sedentary weekend warriors, perhaps this strategy is not the best strategy for fitness.
Andrew Marr, journalist and BBC TV presenter, recently had a high profile stroke caused by intense exercise on a rowing machines. You can read about it here.
Apparently, Mr. Marr damaged his carotid artery during an attempt at a short, high intensity training exercise on a rowing machine. Contrast this approach with internal martial arts training. In traditional internal chinese martial arts, one is taught to hold pressure in the lower abdomen and not in the chest, neck and head. There is intense pressure on the lower half of the body, while the upper body is relaxed. One is taught to avoid “chi rising”. Obviously, I’m not saying Mr. Marr’s stroke was caused by “Chi Rising”. We’ll never know what caused it–could be a random event and it was just the time for to happen, or it was genes. diet and environment.
The point of the article about his incident is that perhaps for older people, high intensity training is probably not a good idea. Chinese internal martial arts, with it’s breathing patterns, scientific relaxation techniques, intense leg pressure and posture training is probably a great choice for fitness. Many people don’t realize how hard authentic internal chinese martial arts like taichichuan are to practice and how you can get a great core workout that rivals any pilates or yoga class.
Here’s a good example of good taichichuan. It’s an excerpt of the chen style 2nd routine that is done with more power expression and a faster tempo:
I was really enjoying making my milk based kefir. I got the ratios correct to make creamy, sour milk kefir that was not only delicious, but good for you. Then I saw the video, Forks Over Knives. Suddenly, my delicious and healthy probiotic dairy drink didn’t seem so healthy. For those of you who are not aware of this video, it’s a must see. It’s available on Netflix.
The video is all about how we should be eating a plant based diet and eschew any animal based products from our diets. Doing so can virtually start to eliminate risks for so many diseases that affect us. It’s never too late to start!
But this isn’t about a vegetarian diet and it’s health benefits. It’s about Coconut Milk Kefir and how darn good it tastes!
So, take those milk kefir grains and instead of adding fresh milk, add a can of coconut milk. It will be ready in 24-36 hours depending on how much kefir grain and coconut milke you use. I used to think there were alot of calories in coconut milk until a checked yesterday. A can of coconut milk only has about 200 calories. There’s a good video at this site that shows you how easy it is to make.
I think Coconut Milk Kefir is a great compromise. You get the super benefits of probiotics and the great health benefits of coconut fat..and you don’t consume dairy products.
Most people know yogurt, but not many people know Kefir. Kefir has almost 10x as much probiotic power than yogurt, and it’s really easy to make.
First, get some Kefir cultures. They look like this:
And you can get them here from Fusion Teas on Amazon
Then get some whole milk and add these to them. Let it sit overnight in a glass jar and you’ll have some awesome, tangy life giving liquid. Like it stronger? Let it stand 24-48 hours.
Strain out the grains (they would have grown a little) and add them to a new batch of milk.
I like the idea of trillions of beneficial bacteria vs billions in yogurt. These bacteria make vitamins in your gut and can cure lactose intolerance!
My first batch tasted pretty good but will need to keep working at it. The Kefir grains reportedly will last forever!
The chinese are well known for making tonics for drinking and for applying to injuries. Anyone who has practiced chinese martial arts is familiar with ‘dit da jow’ or ‘hit medicine’. Dit da jow is usually a secret combination of herbs soaked in alcohol for several months to years and applied to injuries to speed up healing.
Taken internally, the tonics are often called ‘Spring Wine’. You can make your own chinese tonic spring wine with just a little bit of money and lots of time! I believe these home brews are much more powerful than anything you can buy in a bottle or pill at an herb shop.
I love to drink Shou Wu Chih and decided to make my own a few months ago. I bought a bottle in a chinatown herb shop and asked the owner to make up a batch of the raw herbs so I can soak them in rice wine and enjoy a fresh powerful home made batch. I had to buy 4 bottles of the highest percentage alcohol (38%) rice wine at the liquor store around the corner. When I got home, I added a bit of Rou Cong Gong, baji tian, du zhong and American Ginseng to add some kick to it. I tried a bit the other day to see how it was progressing and it was powerful! First of all, I slept like a baby after drinking a few shots. It was so strong, I had to mix some raw honey in there to make it palatable. Also, I have to say that this stuff increases nitric oxide production in the body. After a few days on this, my thinking was clearer, I easily felt 10 years younger. It makes you feel strong and powerful. So now I have a gallon of this stuff to work through! I didn’t measure my testosterone levels, but if I had to go by physical indicators, this stuff boosts testosterone levels!!
So, not stopping there, I found a great recipe for another batch here. This site has a jpg you can print out with the formula. It costs $15 in the united states to make up this batch (plus the alcohol). The owner remarked that this was a great formula and was really impressed that came in the store with it. However, I wanted to kick it up a few more notches. I added deer anter glue, korean ginseng, shou wu (fo ti) and goji berries. The blogger, happyhomemaker88 also had the same idea to add goji berries but complained they soaked up a bit of the wine.
The herbalist was impressed with my knowledge of chinese herbs and confirmed those were good additions. I wanted to do even more but was told “enough”..it was strong enough! Now I have to let this stuff soak a few months. I’ll try an early taste in 2-3 months and give a good 6 months.
I found a great way to enjoy your noodles. Just to recap, these are zero calorie all fiber noodles that taste like anything you cook them in. So, grab a bag of noodles and a can of chicken, beef or vegetable broth.
Empty the broth in a small pot, rinse the shirataki noodles (they stink a little) and pop them in. I like to add some Hijiki seaweed. Add some chicken, beef, mushroom or whatever you like. Bring the mixture to a light boil and enjoy.
This is a quick, filling meal that you’ll enjoy and is great to help you meet your health and diet goals!
Many people are mixing cinnamon with honey for health benefits, weight loss, acne, hair growth and arthritis. A google search of “honey and cinnamon” brings up the same post about the benefits of this combination. It’s almost comical the way so many websites repost the same exact post. Cinnamon has made the news recently for its ability to reduce blood sugar and as a powerful antioxidant. However, be really careful with cinnamon. I found out there is a “real cinnamon” and then a similar substance that tastes like cinnamon called ‘Cassia’. Cassia is what most of us in America think is cinnamon. It’s not. What’s worse is that Cassia contains high amounts of Coumarin, which is toxic to our livers and kidneys. Taking too much cassia, thinking you’re doing something good for the body, can actually kill you!! It’s rat poison!
I found a site that shows a picture of the two and how to tell the difference at this link.
Cassia is dark and thick like a tree bark. It looks like one thick hollow tube. Real cinnamon looks like rolls of paper. It’s very ‘cigar’ like. Real cinnamon comes from Ceylon and is sometimes called ‘Ceylon Cinnamon’. I found out that most Mexican Cinnamon is imported from Ceylon. Saigon Cinnamon, Chinese Cinnamon and most unmarked Cinnamon in the supermarket is really Cassia–the ‘bad stuff’.
A couple years ago, I purchased a Teding Diancibo Pu (TDP) Lamp for personal use. I was intrigued by it when an acupuncturist I visited used one to heat up my lower abdomen and the needles in my dantian area. He said it would help “increase chi”. Acupuncturists have been using various forms of heat for thousands of years to make the therapy more effective. These new heat lamps (purportedly invented in the 80s) are yet another way to introduce focused heat into the body. The literature on the net indicates that this heat lamp using a special ceramic plate that has minerals on it. It looks like this:
I currently am using it to help heal a sacro-iliac injury. 20 minutes into the heating session, it feels pretty good. I’m doubling up with a chinese patent medicine called “Touku Wan” which has a plethora of herbs for pain and healing. A quick scan shows such notables as Frankincense and Myrrh, Cinnamon, Licorice and Notopterigyii Root. The formula, however, is different than what I’m used to in the past. I’m not sure why the ingredients change so much.
I also purchased some fresh notoginseng root. I’ll write more about notoginseng in the future. Many people have never heard of this fantastic healing herb.
Ginger is making the rounds as a powerful testosterone booster. In addition, evidence is showing that ginger will increase the weight and size of the reproductive glands.
In this study, testosterone levels doubled by taking ginger: Ginger Doubles Testosterone Levels.
A martial arts master I knew told me that it’s very important to crush the ginger to release it’s healing potential. He believed Ginger could cure just about anything!
If you are having trouble finding good quality ginger, this powdered version from SWAD works great:
Last week I woke up with a slight fever and a sore throat. Found this at the vitamin shoppe:
Manuka honey is found in Australia and New Zealand and is considered one of the strongest in terms of antibiotic activity.
It soothed my sore throat immediately but I still felt it every few hours and would take a little more.
I thought I would have to make a trip to the doctor for some antibiotic or to make sure I didn’t have something like strep.
After about 2 days of this treatment the sore throat was gone! Just luck? Not sure, but I’ll definitely try it again at the first sign of a sore throat.
I recently bought some raw Buckwheat honey because it was shown to increase antioxidant activity in the body. You can find the study here.
Here’s the abstract:
“Honey has been known to exert significant in vitro antioxidant activity, in part due to its phenolic content. However, conclusions that the antioxidants in honey are or are not efficacious in the human body cannot be reached if its antioxidant action is not assessed as part of a human study. In the present study, the acute effect of consumption of 500 mL of water, water with buckwheat honey, black tea, black tea with sugar, or black tea with buckwheat honey on serum oxidative reactions was examined in 25 healthy men. Antioxidant capacity of human serum samples was measured using different methods: the oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) assay, ex vivo susceptibility of serum lipoprotein to Cu(2+)-induced oxidation, and the thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) assay. The results showed that the serum antioxidant capacity determined by ORAC increased significantly (p < 0.05) by 7% following consumption of buckwheat honey in water. No significant changes in serum antioxidant capacity could be established after the consumption of any of the other beverages. Ex vivo serum lipoprotein oxidation and TBARS values were not significantly altered after consumption of any of the five beverages. This study provides primary evidence of the in vivo antioxidant activity of buckwheat honey. However, long-term studies and epidemiological data are necessary to investigate whether honey consumption can exert overall antioxidant-related health benefits."
This tonic was a nice surprise. It’s a staple in most asian grocery stores and I never thought much of it. I started reading up on the amazing benefits of Royal Jelly–the food that makes a Queen Bee a Queen Bee (more details to come in a later post).
After drinking a few vials, I felt a sudden increase in energy and strength. This is good stuff–and without side effects. You can take it right before bed, it doesn’t make you jittery or nervous.
Try it before working out!
Check out this interesting study showing that royal jelly can increase testosterone and sperm production (in rabbits)
It turns out my favorite tea, Pu-Ehr tea, is not only an enigma, it’s fermented! Who knew?? I learned this tea is not green and not black, it’s specially prepared and fermented to produce unique compounds that helps to burn fat! Wikipedia has good information on it, but here’s a pretty good summary: Good Pu-Ehr Tea Article.
Pu-Ehr tea often comes in tightly packed ovals or balls that is often hard to break apart. It has an earthy favor that is absolutely delicious.
This special tea is believed to improve digestion and to clear toxins from the body, especially when the toxins come from too much drink.
Try it the morning after imbibing a few guiness stout with raw egg!
My latest food adventure is preparing a dried sea cucumber I bought in a Chinese Herb shop. Sea Cucumbers are very expensive, slightly disgusting looking, very tasty and sought after for their reputed tonic effects. They are often eaten at Chinese weddings and other special occasions in the East as a delicacy.
Sea Cucumbers can be bought already cleaned and soaked but the most common way to find them is dried. They resemble rocks or what you would imagine a petrified cucumber to look like. This picture is a dried one next to one that has soaked for one day:
Preparing them is a time consuming process. I haven’t been able to google a good procedure for preparing them. I’ve been told to boil them with ginger daily and let them soak all day, changing the water once or twice daily. After it softens a bit, slice them open to remove the innards. The sea cucumber must be scrubbed and rinsed daily.
This is another shot of the sea cucumber getting ready to be boiled with slices of ginger:
I know it looks disgusting, but after several days of soaking, boiling, and cleaning, this gelatinous and phallic culinary item will taste delicious.
I plan to saute it with some mushrooms and oyster sauce!
Recently I posted about a great Chinese Tonic Patent Medicine I found called Gejie Bushing Wan.
However, you have to be aware of a big problem if you’re not careful in Chinatown. I’m finding more and more instances of knock offs and counterfeits. If you don’t check your ingredients, you’ll learn the hard way. For example, the Gejie Bushing Wan I mentioned above was about 6 bucks and had a plethora of tonic herb ingredients. I found a two dollar version that looked exactly the same, why would I think the ingredients were different? Of course, the cheaper version was missing all the active herbal ingredients.
Be careful with Shou Wu Chih too. I get a lot of hits for Shou Wu Chih on this site, so there’s alot of interest on it. However, read the ingredients!! There’s a knock off version out there that doesn’t have the full ingredients.
Someone joked that “made in China” is becoming the ultimate warning label. I hope this will not become a truth, however, I’m going to have to stop recommending Chinese herbs if problems continue with counterfeits, fakes, contamination and other problems stemming from greed and carelessness. What makes this tragic is that people turn to Chinese tonic herbs to improve their health and well being.
Good news and bad news. First the bad news. Be very careful taking chinese patent medicines from the herbal shops. Many of these supposedly “safe” herbals are contaminated with prescription drugs and worse — toxic metals like Mercury and Arsenic.
Read this good article that mentions many popular medicines and what problems were found: Patent Medicines and Contamination .
Now with that out of the way, I did find a cool one that is on the good list. It’s a “kidney nourishing” tonic made from gecko and other nitric oxide potentiating herbs. It’s called Gejie Bu Shing Wan and looks like this:
Here’s what a gecko looks like if you got it in your herbal prescription from an herbalist:
Typically you would boil one of these with your other tonic herbs in a tea or a soup. Bon Appetit!
Decided you want to try eating beef tendon regularly?
Don’t have access to an authentic chinese restaurant?
Can’t figure out how to make it?
I stumbled on a way to make it better than I’ve tasted in any Chinese restaurant in NYC. All you need is a slow cooker, a can of chicken broth (no msg), seasoning and time.
I use Swanson Chicken broth because it has no MSG and no added fat:
Open the can and put it in the slow cooker. Add 2 large beef tendons.
Season with powdered garlic,onion, etc. I used Oscar’s Oxtail Seasoning:
If you want to step it up a notch, add polygonum multiflorum, the main ingredient in Shou Wu Chih and some Goji Berry.
A word of caution..I went overboard with the chinese herbs. I tried some eucommia bark, and some other tonics and it ended up tasting pretty bad. My advice is to limit the tonic herbs to mild tasting ones like Shou Wu, which is actually tasty. Don’t ruin your beef tendon!
Let the slow cooker do it’s stuff for 8 hours or more. You’ll have the most tender, wonderful tasting beef tendon that rivals the best chinese restaurant.
So, it’s official. Shou wu chih is great for sleep! I’ve been taking Shou wu chih on and off for a long time. I started to suspect that it helped deepen sleep last year. I can say every time I drink Shou Wu Chih I get a great night’s sleep. I’m not really sure what the reason is for it, but it works. As I mentioned in previous posts, there is a version with alcohol out there. Drinking a few ounces of this will definitely make you sleepy, however you should wake up refreshed. Regular wine doesn’t have this effect on me, but shou wu definitely does.
Hmmm, does it contain melatonin?
Most people consider offal to be pretty disgusting. Offal is considered to be anything other than the muscle and bones of a butchered animal. There are many cultures that eat this stuff on a regular basis or consider them delicacies. For example, tripe (intestine) makes a delicious anti-hangover remedy in Mexico called ‘Menudo’. Pork Skin is a skin beautifier in Vietnam. Tendon is eaten in china to build strength and as an arthritis remedy. Browse any asian supermarket and you’ll find an assortment of hearts, livers, kidneys and even uterus for your fine dining pleasure! I think in modern society, we miss out on these essential foods. It’s not natural to only eat fine cuts of meat — muscle. The human race was built on eating every part of the animal. As I think of it, frankfurters and sausages are probably a pretty good way to get these things in your diet. So is head cheese.
For anti-aging, I feel it’s important to get collagen in your diet. You can’t get collagen by only eating fine cuts of beef. You need to eat tendon, oxtail, pork skin. You can find some great recipes online or visit an authentic asian restaurant and try something new. One thing you can try is the famous vietnamese soup called ‘Pho’ or beef noodle soup. They often throw in tendon and some tripe. It’s considered very healthy and a strength builder in asia. Try it!
Manhattan’s chinatown has at least 3 liquor stores that I’m aware of and probably a lot more. What makes chinatown liquor stores special is that they carry an assortment of chinese medicinal wines. There is one popular wine called Lu Wei Ba (I can’t seem to find a good picture of it anywhere). It’s basically an alcohol extract of deer tail. Deer tail is used in traditional chinese medicine as a tonic. It strengthens the lower back, legs and knees. I’ll publish a recipe soon for Deer Tail Soup, which I found to have a super tonic effect on me that lasted throughout the next few days. I especially noticed my legs felt like they had twice their normal strength after drinking this soup.
A few weeks ago, I found a chinese wine called Chang Chun Yao Chiew from Royal King. Unfortunately, the ingredients were not listed and apparently it’s a secret formula. The word “Yao” gives a clue, “Yao” usually refers to the waist (which means the lower torso and upper legs. This is supposed to be a kidney/liver tonic. Since it came from Royal King, I was comfortable buying it. Royal King is a reputable herbal tonic company. I can’t say I felt a super tonic effect, but I can say the nights I took it, I slept very well. I went through a 750ml bottle fairly quickly. I think this is something that should be taken for awhile to feel it’s effects. In the meantime, I’ll try to hunt down the formula for this tonic.
Browse a chinatown liquor store. Many of these tonics come in attractive bottles. Ask for one called ‘three whips’..i’ll explain that one in another post!