We are all born with an intrinsic energy known as Jing. Jing, or Essence, is a Chinese term for the fundamental energy of life. Jing is stored in the Kidneys and determines our vitality and resistance to disease. In a sense, Jing is like our life’s battery. Winter is the time to nourish kidney energy such as Jing. As the energies of the natural world return to the roots of plant life, so to in winter should we nourish our own root energy.
Jing controls a number of essential functions such as the substances and functions of reproductive organs, power and clarity of the mind, integrity of one’s physical structure and sense organs. Strong Jing leads to a long and vigorous life. Its loss will result in physical and mental degeneration. Jing is easily used up, but it is difficult to replace. Jing is burned up in the body by life itself, and even more so by chronic and acute inflammation and stress. Jing is also used up by behaviors such as overwork, excessive emotionalism, drug and alcohol abuse, chronic pain or illness, and sexual excess (especially in men). Excessive menstrual patterns, pregnancy and childbirth can result in a dramatic drain on the Jing for women, especially in middle age.
As we use up Jing, we lose our ability to change and adapt easily and appropriately. Therefore we easily become imbalanced, toxic, stagnant, and more susceptible to disease, inflammation, and/or cancer. Our reproductive system weakens and degenerates. Our mental energy dissipates. We lose our memory, our creativity, our motivation, our ability to focus, our mental endurance. In short, one may age quickly and dramatically.
Life itself depletes Jing. A happy, balanced life depletes Jing slowly.
Everyone would like more vitality so everyone needs to nourish Jing. It is most important to avoid harmful habits. However Jing can be obtained from food and herbs to support the Jing one has from birth. Nutrient rich foods such as micro-algae—chlorella, spirulina and blue green algae– or wheat grass are rich in nucleic acids and other constituents which protect the body from degeneration. All seeds, according to Chinese theory, nourish Jing. Fresh raw almonds and sesame seeds, especially black sesame seeds, are good for the Jing. Herbs such as nettle, Solomon’s seal, and he shou wu (sometimes called fo ti) are said to nourish the Jing. Spiritual practices such as yoga, Tai qi or qigong can also enhance the cultivation of one’s Jing.
Creating the best plan for nourishing your Jing requires an assessment of our general constitution and lifestyle so that herbs can be personalized for you specifically. If you’d like to put some jingle back into your Jing, set up a free ½ hour consultation at Oregon City Acupuncture.