Teaching: Health, Longevity and Enlightenment: Herbs for Spiritual Development

Changbai Mountain Crater

Changbai Mountain Crater

Around the time I turned 50 years old, I was beginning to notice the aging process taking effect. I had been practicing yoga, pranayama and meditation for nearly 30 years but somehow I was succoming to the passage of time. I noticed that I had less energy than I used to have and that my body was starting to ache in places it never had before. I wondered if this was inevitable and whether it was all going to be downhill from there.

Through a series of events, I happened to be in Los Angeles and looked up an old friend, named Peter Spiegel, who I used to teach Transcendental Meditation with in the 1970’s on Long Island. I hadn’t seen Peter in years and after catching up over a great meal at a fine Italian restaurant, Peter looked at me across the table and said, “There’s someone I think you should meet. His name is Ron and this is his phone number. Call him tomorrow and tell him that I suggested you guys meet.” Peter didn’t tell me who Ron was or why he thought that we should meet. The next morning, I called the number Peter had given me. Ron answered the phone and invited me to come over right away. As I drove to the address he had given me, I wondered who this person was and why Peter felt we should meet.

I arrived at a beautiful house in Brentwood, an upscale neighborhood of Los Angeles known for residents like Arnold Swartznegger and other celebrities. When I approached the front door, I noticed a broom to right of the door that looked like it was hand made somewhere in Asia and, to the left of the door, a statue made from a trunk of a tree that had many faces carved in it. As I ran the doorbell, my curiosity was rising.

Ron answered the door. He was a tall man about my age and he looked familiar, like he could have been my brother. He invited me in and began to lead me down a hall toward the living room. As we stepped into the living room, I felt like I had been transported to ancient China. I soon learned that Ron was a Master Chinese Tonic Herbalist and the house was his herbarium. Suddenly I was no longer in Los Angeles in 1998 but was in a Toist herbalist’s home in ancient China.

Everywhere I looked there was something beautiful and facinating to look at. There were large chairs formed from branches of trees and asian art of all kinds. Behind large counters carved from tree trunks were racks of drawers containing some of the highest quality and most rare herbs in the world.

At that point, I knew almost nothing about herbs and absolutely nothing about Chinese Tonic herbs. However, at one point I looked at Ron and said, “I’d love to live in a place like this.” He looked me in the eyes and replied, “Would you?” Hardly believing what I’d just heard, I said, “Of course, I’d love to live in a place like this.” He said, “Would you like to live here and be my apprentice?” You can imagine my amazement. I had only know this man about a half hour and knew nothing about Chinese herbs and here I was being invited to move into a Master Herbalist’s home in order to be his apprentice. There are times in life when a new opportunity arises that was totally unexpected and life takes a new course. In a heartbeat I relplied, “I’d love to move in.”

For the next three years, I lived with Ron, his wife Yanlin and their two children. My title was “Tea Master” and my job was to cook Custom Teas that contained anywhere from 20 to 50 herbs. During the years that I lived with Ron he trained me to be a Chinese Tonic Herbalist and took me to Chinese on an expedition to the famed Chianbai Mountain, the source of many of the world’s finest herbs.

When Ron began my training, he explained that he practiced a form of herbalism that was distinct from what is known as TCM, or Traditional Chinese Medicine. In TCM, they use herbal formulas, made from over 100 herbs, to cure illnesses. In Chinese Tonic Herbalism, they use a smaller set of about fifty herbs, not to cure illnesses but to prevent them. These herbs are called the Superior herbs because they develop a state of radiant health and have no negative side effects. In fact, in China, these tonic herbs are used to cook with on a daily basis.

Ron also told me how the Buddhists and Taoists in China and Korea used the tonic herbs to promote their spiritual development. Ron’s herbal teacher was a Korean herbalist named Master Park. He had a Taoist master who lived to be over 100 years old, who lived entirely on the tonic herbs that he gathered in the mountains durring the day. Each morning, he would meditate for three hours, one hour of which was spent meditating under a waterfall.

On my first day on the job, he showed me a book called “Rooted In Spirit” and explained to me that physical illnesses are manifestations of mental and emotional disharmony and that these originate from spiritual disharmony.

The first day that I met Ron, he suggested that I begin taking three herbal formulas; Supreme Protector, Super Adaptogen and Return to Youth. I began taking these three formalas every day and at the end of a month I felt better than I had in years. After taking them for three months, I felt 10 years younger. After a year, felt like I’d lost decades. My vitality was restored. I bounded up stairs. Woke early. Was full of inspiration and creativity. The mind was clearer and the spirit more calm. In short, my personal experience convinced me that the Chinese Tonic herbs are invaluable tools for achieving, health, longevity and enlightenment.

I am planning a page (coming soon) that will provide you with the simple information you need to get started on a personal program of rejuvenation using any of three modalities: Chinese Tonic Herbalism, Indian Ayurvedic Medicine, and Siddha Medicine. Each of these ancient healing traditions are comprised of a vast body of knowledge and could take a lifetime, or several, to master. The good news is that you don’t need to know everything about these subjects to derive tremendous enhancement to your life. There are a few formulas that everyone will gain huge benefits from taking.

The purpose of this page is to present you with simple, practical information in order to get started. After that, if you are interested, you may choose to consult a qualified health professional who is a Master of one of these profound healing traditions.

In Love and Light,


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  1. Dear Gonga~

    I would love to learn more about the herbal prgrams mentioned here. I am taking about 45 different herbs now….some are more tangibly felt than others for me. I have no idea how to combine them for the proper manner in getting the most benefit. Would you please kindly add me to your email notification when you are ready to share the practices? Look forward to reading more about on your website. Thanks~ Warmest regards, Bill

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