A complete kung fu training system instructs martial arts and promotes health through physical conditioning, qigong, and a robust herbal component to the system. Every student of kung fu must be on an herbal regimen, as should anyone who desires strong and enduring health.
Kung Fu Herbal Beginners
A complete kung fu system instructs martial arts training and promotes health through physical conditioning, qigong, and herbs. Every student of kung fu must be on an herbal regimen, as should anyone who desires strong and enduring health. The Bak Fu Pai herbal formulas are “remedies for the common people” which come from the Shaolin era and the Doo Family. Our herbal prescriptions date back nearly three thousand years. Most of the formulas come from three places: The Southern Shaolin Temple, The Daoist Temple in O’Mei and the Doo family. The Doo family is a lineage of doctors and healers renowned for their 150 generations of healing knowledge. During the Tang dynasty, beginning around 618 AD, the Doo ancestors served as physicians to the Royal Court.
It is historically documented that the Southern Shaolin Temple in Fukien was the most advanced temple for kung fu. The northern temple was well treated as it was closer to the northern border and was under control early on by the invading Manchurians at the collapse of the Ming Dynasty. The Southern Temple in Fukien was a hot bed of training and organized resistance for the reestablishment of control by ethnic Chinese Han. The Southern provinces were prominently revolutionist dominated areas, which gave way to much conflict and warfare. It is commonly known, but not disclosed that the Triad, a revolutionist underground that originally sought to restore the Ming and overthrow foreign rulers, stemmed from this region.
It was during this tumultuous era that the Shaolin Temples were burned and destroyed. Five advanced monks managed to escape the burning of the Southern Temple. Fung Do Duk, who later founded Bak Fu Pai, held the highest rank among the five and was personally responsible for salvaging the herbal recipes. Bak Fu Pai and Bak Mei Pai, another discipline developed directly by one of the 5 ancestors, are the only two inheritors of the original formulas into the late 20th century. Bak Fu Pai is the only remaining system to hold all the formulas into the present generation.
People have done their best to imitate the formulas with or without the incomplete knowledge handed down from of any number of lower ranking brothers that survived from various temples. However, the 5 ancestors are the only few who had complete herbal knowledge developed and perfected over a thousand years within the temples. Because of the preciousness of the original dit da jow formulas, the herbal knowledge and associated qigong are preserved by only the most advanced practitioners of Bak Fu Pai.
In the preparation of herbal formulas, it is critical that each ingredient be prepared properly and combined precisely according to recipe. This process is time consuming. Quite often, corners are cut or the preparer lacks sufficient information regarding accurate herbal formulation. Therefore, quality is lost. The idea that any potent herb can be randomly mixed with other herbs is flawed yet widely practiced. Most herbs must be combined in very specific ways in order to be effective. A very large percentage of herbal products on the market today are sub par as they are not in correct form, and certainly most have not been properly combined. The formulas prepared by practitioners of Bak Fu Pai conform strictly to the original Shaolin and Doo Family prescriptions.
Many herbs have contraindications, much like medicines. An example is sugar to ginseng. These are necessary details to be aware of when taking any herbal supplement. Herbs can be served in tinctures, teas, soups, or extracts. Raw herbs may also be consumed, but only certain kinds are beneficial in this manner. Diet is another significant piece of the picture. Eating a balanced meal in terms of leung and yeet (hot and cold) is important. Part of the herbal knowledge encompassed in the Bak Fu Pai system concerns the proper administration of formula, qigong, herbs and diet to achieve the maximum benefit.
ANGELICA SINENSIS (Dang Gui):
Nature: Warm; bitter, sweet, slightly pungent; attributive to liver and spleen.
Characteristics: Roots of a fragrant perennial herb, highly aromatic and sold in flat, irregular pieces with brown spotted oil cavities. It is a general herb known as the great tonic for all female deficiencies. Modern scientific research validates it to contain estrogenic compounds called phytoestrogens, which account for its menstrual-regulating properties. The herb has also been proven to enhance immunity.
Therapeutic Effects: Phytoestrogen effects for painful and abnormal menstruation and premenstrual syndrome; enrich blood and promote circulation; stimulate appetite; improve muscle tone; stimulate immune system; anti-bacterial; moisturize dryness and loose bowel.
ASTRAGALUS / ASTRAGALI RADIX (Huang Qi):
Nature: Slightly warm; sweet and slightly sour; attributive to spleen and lungs.
Characteristics: A superior tonic with a tough, fibrous, yellowish brown skin. It enhances immunity by stimulating the production and circulation and by protecting the body from invasion of the six evils or the six excesses. The American Cancer Society’s study on this herb has reported 90% of restoration of normal immune response in cancer patients.
Therapeutic Effects: Strengthen body for general weakness; invigorate vital energy and spleen; relieve skin infection and promote tissue regeneration; diuretic; impede perspiration for profuse sweating; lower blood pressure and blood sugar; improve circulation in flesh and skin.
CHINESE JUJUBE (Red Date) / ZIZYPHI FRUCTUS (Hong Zao):
Nature: Neutral and warm; sweet; attributive to spleen and stomach.
Characteristics: The medicinal fruit is oblong in shape and turn dark reddish brown when ripe. The kernels are hot in nature and it is common to cook jujubes without the kernels. It is a superior herb, most widely employed in the Chinese pharmacopoeia adding to herbal formulas to prolong, enhance, and harmonize the effect of the other ingredients; and to circulate the herbal essences in the bloodstream and in the meridians.
Therapeutic Effects: Nourish blood and calm the mind for insomnia and restlessness; invigorate the spleen and stomach with poor appetite; promote secretions of vital fluids; retard aging; warming; moderating the toxicity of potent drugs. It is best for fatigue, hypertension, physical exhaustion and malnutrition.
CHINESE WOLFBERRY / FRUCTUS LYCII (Gou Ji Zi):
Nature: Neutral; sweet; attributive to liver and kidneys.
Characteristics: The fruits of a common shrub, small and oval in shape, reddish orange with a sweet but coarse taste. A superior herb, a popular health tonic since ancient times in China and is widely used in many longevity formulas. Particularly good for eyes and strengthen weak legs and knees for the elderly.
Therapeutic Effects: Nourish kidney-yin; tonify liver-yin deficiency; treat deficiency of essence and blood manifested as dizziness, blurring of vision, hypopsia, tinnitus, emission and soreness of the loin and extremities; relieves chronic thirst and emollient to lungs; also for treating and preventing diabetes.
CHINESE YAM / DIOSCOREA OPPOSITE (Shan Yao):
Nature: Neutral; sweet; attributive to spleen, lung and kidneys.
Characteristics: The long tuberous roots of bean-like plants, which are cultivated for pharmaceutical use. It is a superior herb. The dried white flesh of the tuber is sliced into long thin slabs, containing nutrient which can restore and enhance immune functions throughout the system.
Therapeutic Effects: Invigorate the spleen and stomach with poor appetite, loose stools or chronic diarrhea; invigorate the lung with chronic cough or tuberculosis; stimulate endocrine secretions for immune deficiency; strengthens kidney functions for frequent urination and leucorrhagia and nourish semen-essence.
GINSENG / PANAX GINSENG (Ren Shen):
Nature: Warm, sweet, slightly bitter, attributive to spleen and lungs.
Characteristics: The fleshy roots of a perennial herb. There are many types and grades of ginseng depending on the source, age parts of root used and the methods of preparation. They come in white and red varieties and the red ones are more potent and more expensive. Ginseng is an energy tonic; a superior herb that has long been regarded as the King of herb that can “cure-all” because of its double-direction activity. It will bring back the right balance in any situation of excess or deficiency. However, it should not be taken while having cold, flu or other lung infections.
Therapeutic Effects: Invigorate vital energy, spleen energy and lung energy; promote production of vital fluid and balance hormones; calm the mind, anti-fatigue and anti-stress; enhance immune response; improve circulation and function; regulate blood pressure and blood sugar; anti-tumor and anti-cancer; stimulate liver functions; regulate central nervous system; anti-aging; antioxidant.
LING-ZHI / GANODERMA LUCIDUM (ling Zhi / reichi):
Nature: Neutral and slightly warm; bitter; attributive to heart, liver, lungs and kidneys.
Characteristics: Mushroom like fungi, huge in size, woody but light in weight. There are at least six varieties: red, purple, black, white, green and yellow. Red and black ling-chi are most common and purple is extremely rare. It is the supertonic herb, the “supreme protector” in Chinese herbal medicine. The health benefits are extremely broad. It is most famous for its anti-aging property and strengthening of the immune system. Most ling-chi are cultivated because the wild ones are extremely difficult to find.
Therapeutic Effects: Tranquilize the mind; enrich vital energy and blood; regulate and strengthen immune system; treat hypertension and coronary heart disease; anti-aging; anti-stress; reverse leukopenia; relieve cough and dyspnea.
NOTOGINSENG / PANAX NOTOGINSENG (san qi):
Nature: Warm; sweet and slightly bitter, attributive to liver and stomach.
Characteristics: Roots with surface grey-yellow, waxily lustrous, with caudex at the apex and tubercular branch root scars at the upper part. Extremely effective styptic action when applied directly to traumatic wounds; heals with out leaving clots and scars; internally and externally, best drug for serious bleeding.
Therapeutic Effects: Promote blood circulation to remove blood stasis, stop bleeding, relieve swelling and alleviate pain. For various kinds of bleeding due to trauma and blood-stasis syndrome.
HORNY GOAT WEED/EPIMEDIUM SAGITTATUM (yin yang huo):
Nature: Warm; pungent and sweet; attributive to kidneys and liver.
Characteristics: Leaves of a perennial herb, oval in shape and grow in clusters of three leaflets. It is a general herb prescribed mainly for its aphrodisiac properties. Scientific studies have confirmed that the herb is a direct stimulant to semen production and sexual drive in males.
Therapeutic Effects: Invigorate kidney and strengthen yang to treat impotence, male and female infertility; strengthen tendons and bones and expel wind-dampness with numbness in extremities, muscular spasm; relieve cough and asthma; strengthen nerves; lower blood pressures; treat coronary heart disease.