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  • The Tale of He Shou Wu

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    Elizabeth Aantrobus

    Very long ago in China, dating around 812 A. D. there was a man named Mr. He.

    He was born with a weak constitution (jing deficient) and on account of this, even as a younger man, he is simply too weak and frail, thus never able to marry or have children. Feeling a sense of complete unworthiness from the inability to provide a woman with – and – raise a family, he falls into a deep depression for many years…

    In such a despondent state, he resorts to drinking as a way to soften his sorrows.

    Living a life filled with such regret, he incessantly continues to turn to the bottle as his only respite. As the days go by the alcohol dramatically ages him, his strength shrivels — becoming even more frail and weak — his eyesight and hearing grow dull, and his hair loses it’s luster — turning gray and thin.

    By his mid 50s, Mr. He, was now a hunched over old man walking with a cane, still stumbling home drunk each and every night.

    Despite his vices, he still was an avid follower of Taoism and apprenticed under a Taoist master in the Mountains.

    Until one night, at about the age of 58 years old, being so inebriated that he never quite made it back to his home, he ended up falling asleep into an intoxicated stupor.

    Yet as he awoke, He found himself on the edge of the forest, in the absence of recollection laying with his head propped up against an old Magnolia tree. At first glance, while dazedly starring out into the field with a horrible headache, he notices two vines entwined together in the tree above him. This sight at first brought back a bit of melancholy, and further reminding him of the romantic life he had missed, as this sorrowful thought sang to the reminiscent tune of witnessing water turtles nestled together on sun soaked rocks, starlets flocking with their mates, and rabbits chasing one another through the pastures during spring. However, these two vines delicately twisted together also reminded him a compassionate couple embracing one another “making love” and because of his curiosity that had always remained, Mr. He was somewhat intrigued, and decided to dig up the roots of these plants for further inspection.

    Mr. He walked through his village presenting the root to all he sees, inquiring if they recognized or are familiar with it, yet no one had ever noticed the plant or regarded it as unique. Until he comes across an old hermit monk who gives off a reassuring nod and advises him that it just might hold remarkable powers, telling him: “If it has called to you; so to simply eat it.”

    As an adventurous man, and with his life already in shambles, he feels as if he has nothing to lose from this venture.

    So Mr. He starts to prepare the roots by grinding it up and eating it. While also using it in traditional Taoist tea-making methods; beginning to consume it’s essence everyday. Within one week he started to notice a sense of powerful vitality like he had never felt before. Each day thereafter he was noticing more improvements to his health. One of the most pronounced being a feeling quite foreign to him; incredible virility! Where he could barely now contain his sexual desires.

    As more months go by, most of his health problems begin to fade away. He starts to regains his strength & vigor, he loses his slump and recovers his posture, his vision & hearing begin returning, and his hair starts to gain thickness and begins to turn back to a lustrous deep black. After several years of using increased dosages of the herb, he comes to find out that he is now indeed very virile by fathering his first child after decades of hopelessness.

    Mr. He marries a widow and goes on to father 19 children over the following ten years and lives out the rest of his life healthily and harmoniously to the age of 160 years old.

    It is said that he took the herb everyday for a total 700 days before he had received all the benefits it had to offer, eventually changing his name to Neng Si, meaning: Capable of Bearing Offspring.

    Although the legend of the He family brought the herb into it’s existence, really most of He Shou Wu’s well-renowned fame came afterwards, with praise coming from Ming Dynasty Emperor Shi Zong whom had seen astounding results from it himself…and an ancient immortal by the name of Li Qing Yuen, whom it has be told lived to the age of 252 years old.


    May this sacred herb also bless you all my dear friends…

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