Tonic Herbs: The Definitive Guide - Benefits, Types and How to Use Them

What Are Tonic Herbs?

Tonic herbs (also known as herbal tonics, medicinal herbs or healing herbs) are special plants scientifically proven to support the body and deliver extraordinary health benefits.

The word ‘tonic’ comes from the Latin tonus, meaning ‘ability to respond’ and can be thought of in the same way as tone in ‘muscle tone’. Essentially, your organs are uniquely-designed structures which you can train with herbal tonics to make them function at their optimal capacity.

There are three things which define tonic herbs:

  1. Consuming it must not cause the body harm or stress.
  2. It must produce a healing reaction within the body and provide support for all vital systems.
  3. It must be an adaptogen and help the body combat stress.

To help clear things up, we’ve put together this definitive guide, walking you through nine of the world’s most powerful and well-researched tonic herbs and tonic herb blends. For each one, we dive into its history, potent health benefits and the best ways to incorporate it into your daily diet so you can reap the maximum health benefits. We’ve also included links to each of the herbal tonics in our online store so you can try them out for yourself.

1. Jing

Jing is a combination of the most important and revered herbs, according to Taoist philosophy. Together, He Shou Wu, Eucommia Bark, CS-4 Cordyceps, Morinda, Rehmannia and Dendrobium Stem augment energy in the adrenals and kidneys, supporting optimal hormone function, extended stamina and a healthy libido.

Weakness, fatigue and hormonal imbalance are all signs of Jing depletion, which can result in cell deterioration and early ageing. Our wholesome Jing blend is designed to boost Jing energy, combating its negative effects while increasing energy levels and promoting vitality. It also:

Since Jing is an excellent way to boost your energy, it’s best taken in the morning or early afternoon. Most people keep it simple and stir a small spoonful of the herbal tonic into a mug of hot water to make Jing tea. This is fantastic way to start your day. But you can also stir it into plant milk, smoothies, juices or even hot chocolate. It’s a very versatile tonic herb that works in any kind of hot or cold drink. You can get it and find out more about it in our online store here -> Jing - Kidney Tonic & Adrenal Support

2. Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera) is one of the most renowned adaptogen tonic herbs, which means it helps your body manage and adapt to stress. This potent tonic herb has been recognised for more than 6,000 years for its incredible ability to increase the body’s resistance to stress and can be taken long-term without any negative effects.

Ashwagandha is an excellent calmative herb, also influencing the strength and resilience of all tissues in the body, restoring and revitalising them. This helps to prevent disease and slow down the ageing process. But that’s not all, these tonic herbs also:

Because Ashwagandha has calming and soothing properties, it’s best taken in the evening to promote restorative sleep. You can mix a small spoonful of this herbal tonic into hot water or milk for a relaxing tea before bed. Or you can use it to create an anupan (a way of carrying tonic herbs deeper into the tissues) by combining it with equal parts ghee and honey and using it in cooking. You can get it and find out more about it in our online store here -> Ashwagandha - Restorative Adaptogen

3. Beauty Blend

A glowing combination of longan berry extract, micro-ground pearl powder, schizandra extract and goji extract, the SuperFeast Beauty Blend is carefully designed to nourish your body from the inside out.

Influenced by ancient Taoist herb knowledge, this herbal tonic is exceptionally high in vitamin C, antioxidants, polyphenols and minerals to breathe a new lease of life into your cells, organs, skin and eyes. As well as promoting a healthy, youthful appearance, Beauty Blend also:

Thanks to its mild, sweet taste, Beauty Blend is perfect for stirring into your morning juice or smoothie. You can also combine it with a small scoop of Jing - Kidney Tonic & Adrenal Support and hot water to make a super powerful tea or stir it into your favourite herbal tea for a calm and nutritious start to your morning. You can get it and find out more about it in our online store here -> Beauty Blends - Radiance & Anti-Aging

4. He Shou Wu

A jar of He Shou Wu

One of the highly esteemed herbal tonics used in our Jing blend, He Shou Wu has been used for thousands of years to combat exhaustion, promote healthy hormone function, boost libido and help the body effectively manage stress. By consuming this tonic herb, you increase your kidneys’ life-giving Jing energy and improve your overall health.

He Shou Wu translates into “The Black-Haired Mr. He”, a name which derives from the youth-restoring, transformational effects the herbal tonic had on Mr. He when he discovered it. This internationally-popular remedy is used to promote health and virility. It can also be used to treat various common conditions, such as:

He Shou Wu has a sweet, almost chocolate-like taste. Because of this, most people stir a small spoonful of it into hot water or hot plant milk to make a rich and delicious tea to sip any time of day. You can get it and find out more about it in our online store here -> He Shou Wu - The Adrenal Tonic.

5. Neural Nectar

Specifically crafted to reinforce brain functionality and neural activity to help us thrive in the modern world, Neural Nectar is a blend of tonic herbs proven to produce superior mental energy, focus, memory recall and memory retention.

The five herbs which make up this herbal tonic have been used for centuries to ward off neuro-degeneration and they’re just as useful and effective in daily life today as they were way back when they were discovered.

As well as help keeping your mind sharp and promoting healthy brain activity, Neural Nectar also gives you that extra edge by:

Stir Neural Nectar into your morning tea or coffee for a brain boost first thing that will stay with you throughout the day. This tonic herb has a very subtle taste, so you won’t even notice it. You can get it and find out more about it in our online store here -> Neural Nectar - Nootropic Brain Boost

6. Schizandra

Schizandra berries - one of the best tonic herbs there is.

One of the most prized anti-aging herbs as per the Taoist philosophy, Schizandra comes from the Schisandra Chinensis plant and supports all five major organs, as well as the 12 meridians, encouraging vibrant radiance from within.

This legendary tonic herb gained popularity when an ancient Chinese emperor gave the berry from the Schizandra fruit to his concubines to help them maintain radiant, youthful complexions.

While it’s impossible to verify the facts of this story from long-ago, today scientists approve the amazing benefits of Schizandra, noting its ability to stabilise the nervous system, boost the immune system, improve coordination and enhance brain function. This is in addition to:

Schizandra’s mild flavour means you can use it in both sweet and savoury dishes. Keep things simple by stirring a small amount into some hot water or hot plant milk to make a delicious tea. Or get creative and sprinkle some over your lunchtime salad or sauteed veggies for a quick and easy health kick. You can get it and find out more about it in our online store here -> Schizandra Berry Powdered Extract - Tonic Herb

7. Astragalus

Astragalus growing in the wild - one of the most powerful tonic herbs.

An incredibly powerful herbal tonic in traditional Chinese medicine, Astragalus use dates back thousands of years and was originally used to nurture a robust circulatory system, support a healthy immune system, encourage optimal functioning of the liver and boost vitality.

As well as being used for an overall health boost, Astragalus can also target specific parts of the body and prevent distinct conditions, such as:

Astragalus has a pleasant, earthy taste that complements almost everything. Like the other tonic herbs in this ultimate guide, you can stir a spoonful of Astragalus into your favourite herbal tea or a mug of hot water for a simple, nourishing drink. Alternatively, mix it into a veggie stew or curry for a hit of umami flavour. You can get it and find out more about it in our online store here -> Astragalus Root - Vitality Qi & Energy

8. Eucommia Bark

Also known as Eucommia Ulmoides, Du Zhong and Rubber Tree, Eucommia Bark is an adaptogenic tonic herb harvested from the Chiangbai Mountains in China. Used by wise Taoist herbalists for centuries, this highly-praised herb is best known for replenishing Yang Jing — a kidney essence which helps the body cultivate power, stamina and strength.

Eucommia Bark is so potent that it’s the primary herb used in traditional Chinese medicine to strengthen the tendons, ligaments and bones, resulting in a strong, sturdy and flexible skeleton. As well as being an amazing herbal tonic for athletes in training, Eucommia Bark is also excellent for:

The sweet, earthy taste of Eucommia Bark makes it ideal for simply stirring into a mug of hot water for tea. But if you’re not a fan of the flavour, you can easily mask it by mixing a spoonful into a freshly-pressed juice or smoothie for a burst of nutrition you won’t even notice. You can get it and find out more about it in our online store here -> Eucommia Bark - Joint & Bone Strengthening

9. Deer Antler

A Ying and Yang herbal tonic that can be used by both men and women, Deer Antler restores and nourishes sex hormones, promoting vitality, improving circulation and augmenting heart health. Truly one of nature’s best-kept secrets, this tonic herb is humanely harvested from stags when their antlers are rich with nutritional minerals, vitamins, amino acids and enzymes.

Not only does Deer Antler promote a strong, healthy libido, it’s also one of the only herbal tonics to specifically tone bone marrow, giving it remarkable anti-aging and longevity qualities. Other benefits of this superfood include:

Since Deer Antler is slightly coarse, it’s best to blend it into a smoothie or sprinkle it over food. Avoid combining it with hot water to make tea because it doesn’t totally dissolve and will leave a lot of its incredible health benefits in the bottom of your mug. You can get it and find out more about it in our online store here -> Deer Antler Velvet - Libido & Testosterone

That’s a wrap!

We hope this article has really helped you understand more about tonic herbs and all the astounding things they can do for you and your health.

If you’re ready to invest in yourself and learn a bit more about each specific blend, take a look at our collection of medicinal mushrooms and tonic herbs.

Looking for more info on Medicinal Mushrooms as well? While these are actually tonic herbs by definition, they hold there own special place in peoples heart so we though it's best to address them in a separate guide - you can find out everything you need to know about them right here.

At the Bircher Bar, we stock individual jars of Jing, Ashwagandha, Beauty Blend, He Shou Wu, Neutral Nectar, Schizandra, Astragalus, Eucommia Bark and Deer Antler. Exclusive to The Bircher Bar - we've created the SuperFeast Happy Herbals Pack — combining all nine tonic herbs at a $25 discount (+Free Shipping!).

As always, thanks heaps for reading! Got any questions or comments? Leave them below and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

If you’ve got any friends or family you think could benefit from herbal tonics (pretty much everyone can!) please share this article with them and help us get the word out!

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