The Legend Of The Chinese Wolfberry

Chinese Wolfberries

Medicinal Uses

Chinese Wolfberry can be used to nourish a weak body, improve vision, and promote longevity. There are many legends associated with Chinese Wolfberry. A famous Chinese physician, Li Shizhen (1518 - 1593) who lived during the Ming Dynasty (1368 to 1644 A.D.), compiled the Great Compendium of Herbs (or Compendium of Materia Medica), which stated, “The Bao Shou herb store recorded an elixir that promotes longevity. A bizarre barefooted man named Zhang passed the formula of this elixir to an elderly person at Yi Shi county, who followed the recipe and lived for over a hundred years. The elderly man could walk extremely fast as if he was flying. His gray hair turned black again. His aged teeth were replaced with new ones and he was very virile in the bedroom. The herb is mellow and can be taken often to eliminate excessive heat in the body, and will also improve vision.”

An Ancient Legend

During the prime of the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907 A.D.), a caravan on the Silk Road stopped for a rest at an inn and noticed a young lady reprimanding and whipping an old man. A merchant approached them and enquired the young lady, “For what reason are you assaulting and abusing this elderly person?” The lady replied, “I am disciplining my great-grandson. It is none of your business.” Everyone at the scene was shocked by her reply. Further enquiries revealed that the lady was more than three hundred years old! The old person was being punished because he refused to take a type of herb and started to age. Amazed at the magic of the herb, the merchant bowed to the lady with respect and asked, “May I be so bold as to ask the lady what type of magical herb do you take?” The lady replied, “This herb has five names. You want to take a different part of the herb each season. In spring you take its leaves, which is known as the essence of heaven herb. In summer you take its flowers, which is known as the longevity herb. In autumn you take its fruits, which is known as Chinese Wolfberry. In winter you take the bark of its roots, which is known as the skin and bone of the earth, or the staff of the deities. Taking these four parts in the four seasons respectively, will give you a life as lofty as heaven and earth.”

Thereafter the Chinese Wolfberry was introduced to the Middle East and Western countries and was eulogised as the divine herb from the East.

A Modern Tale

There are modern endorsements for Chinese Wolfberry. In the fifties, the Domestic and Foreign magazine reported the story of Li Qingyun in Sichuan province, who died at the age of 250 in 1930.

As part of his own account Li says, “When I was 139 years old, and before I met my Master, I could still walk and do the power walk, as if I practised Chinese martial arts. As a result some people thought I might be a deity or an accomplished swordsman. At the time I thought it was really amusing. I think the reason that I have lived this long and am still perpetually healthy is because nothing has irritated me since I was 40 years old. Because of that, my heart is very calm, peaceful and divinely tranquil. That is why I am free from any illness, and always healthy and happy. At the age of fifty when I went to a mountain to collect some herbs, I met an elderly man who lived on the secluded mountain. He didn't appear to be a supernormal man, but he took big strides when he walked, as if he was flying in the air. No matter how hard I tried, I could not keep up with him. Later, I met him again. I knelt before him and begged for his secret. He gave me some wild fruits and said, “My only secret is that I only eat these fruits.” I took the fruits, and found that they were Chinese Wolfberries. Since then I consumed three qian of Chinese Wolfberries daily (a qian is the weight used to measure Chinese medicine which is equal to five grams). From then on I became healthy and agile. I can walk a hundred li (a li equals half a kilometre) and not feel tired. I became better in strength and stamina than an average person.”

Characteristics of the Herb and Some of its Benefits

The Chinese Wolfberry is sweet and soothing. It is good for the liver and kidney. It nourishes the kidneys and liver, benefits the lungs, and improves vision. Traditional Chinese medicine uses Chinese Wolfberry to treat problems related to liver, kidneys and impotency, muscle ache in the waist and knees, headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, excess tears, fatigue, coughs, thirst, and seminal emissions.

Chinese version available at http://www.zhengjian.org/zj/articles/2003/4/16/21234.html

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