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The Definition of "Jing" - Essence
By: Diane Joswick, L.Ac., MSOM

"Essence is that which is bestowed by Nature. It is rooted in the beginningless, espied in the absolute, and becomes fragmented in the temporal." -- Ancestor Lu, Qingwei sanpin jing (circa 6th century A.D.)

Jing is the Chinese expression for the essential fluid of our physical body. It is the most refined "essence of Qi": the material basis for the body, the fluid essence that contains the life force.

Along with Qi, the life force, and Shen, the spirit, Jing, the essence, is considered one of the “three treasures” in traditional Chinese medicine. These "three treasures" are the substances that nurture the organ systems and keep the mind, body, and spirit in balance.

Jing is stored in the kidneys and defines our basic constitution. It is intimately connected to the growth and maturation of each individual. Jing is differentiated into prenatal Jing, which we are born with, and postnatal Jing, which we acquire during life. Jing is consumed continuously in life.

While the gradual depletion of Jing is natural, ancient Chinese medical texts state that a number of causes of kidney weakness can result in injury to Jing. These include illness, traumatic injury, substance abuse, fear and fearing without release, overindulgence in sexual activity, frustration over not being able to fulfill one’s wishes, over-tiredness from traveling in conditions of severe heat, consumption of too much salt, and physical injury to the internal organs.

Injured Jing can cause premature aging, premature graying, and reproductive and developmental disorders. It can effect the health of your bones and teeth (important for replenishing the Jing). A lack of Qi will cause death.

Jing is an important component to health and longevity in traditional Chinese medicine. While we are born with a finite amount of prenatal Jing, postnatal or acquired Jing can be refined through internal martial art disciplines such as tai chi, Qi gong, and meditation, and replenished through diet, nutrition, and essence-building herbs.

Eucommia Bark (Du Zhong, Cortex Eucommiae)

Eucommia Bark is a popular herb used for building Kidney essence. This herb is the trunk bark of Eucommia ulcommia ulmoides Oliv., a deciduous tree of the family Eucommiaceae.  The bark is stripped off between April and June. After scraping off the cork, the bark pieces are piled up to be sealed until purple brown, then dried in the sun.  The bark is cut into segments or stir-baked with salt for use.

It is often included in herbal formulas for the treatment of symptoms associated with kidney weakness, including weak, stiff, and painful lower back and knees, chronic nephritis, and frequent urination. It is also used for prevention of miscarriage, bleeding, or a weak and painful back during pregnancy, and to strengthen bones and tendons.

As with all herbal medicine, please consult with a licensed herbalist for the best formula for you. You can find acupuncturists who are trained and certified in herbal medicine on www.Acufinder.com.