This definition of a tonic clearly excludes the notion of “making stronger” by
pushing the body in one direction only. A particular non-tonic drug or
herb designed to enhance the function of the immune system, for example, might
stimulate the production of white blood cells. Goldenseal is an example of
this kind of action. Administered to an ailing patient, it would increase T-cell
activity and enhance other immunological functions. That’s all it would
“know” how to do. It would not be able to recognize the difference between
a body deficient in white blood cells and one that had too many white blood
cells. Its action is uni-directional. It carries but one signal to
the body system; in this example, to produce more white blood cells. This
over-stimulation could lead to severe imbalances, and it is unlikely that such
an agent would be able to address the problem of an over-reactive immune system,
as, for example, in a person with an allergy.
In contrast, an immunotonic is an herb that
restores balance to the immune system function no matter which way it departs
from normal. It is bidirectional. Echinacea is such an herb.
It is capable of sending either of two possible contradictory signals to the
body. Thus, in a person with depressed white blood cell counts, Echinacea
sends a signal to the body to begin producing more white blood cells, and in a
person with too many white blood cells, it decelerates the production of white
blood cells. It stabilizes the histamine-containing mast cell membrane in
persons with hay fever rather than sensitizing it, as do many immune-enhancers.
The concept of a tonic sounds strange to
modern ears. We simply have not made room in our medical or nutritional
agendas for a concept of a substance that restores balance. This will
change as the medical community begins to realize that many modern plagues may
be prevented, and even treated by maintaining optimum health in all body
systems. Such a reorientation of thought demands that much less emphasis
be placed on finding and killing “germs”, and much more on increasing the body
systems’ natural defense and restorative powers. The concept of the herbal
tonic will be a signpost for the new research.
In summary, tonics do not over-stimulate the
body. They are bidirectional, capable of both increasing and decreasing
the activity of body processes. Herbs whose action is bidirectional (or,
sometimes, multidirectional) are called tonics. As far as I know, there
are no bidirectional drugs, nor is any effort currently under way to invent any.
In order to conceptualize drugs as materials for restoring balance, the
scientific world will have to undergo a total paradigm shift; it is not ready to
In the last chapter of the book I got around
to laying out what I thought the Whole Body Tonic had to do. These where 10
things that if you're going to have something you’re going to call a Whole Body
Tonic rather than just an immune tonic or cardiovascular tonic or a digestive
tonic, a Whole Body Tonic had to have these 10 things. So I can go over them
I think that the first thing they have to be
able to do is, of course, restore and maintain balance, homeostasis,
throughout all of the body systems. You can't leave one out. They all have to
be there if it's going to be a Whole Body Tonic.
Secondly, they have to be able to increase
energy through normal metabolic means, not artificially. This can't be an
artificial stimulant effect like you might get from caffeine or something like
that. This has to be a normal enhancement of metabolic energy.
Third, they have to increase our general,
overall resistance to infections of all kinds and they have to do that by
enhancing the tonic property of the immune system. The immune system has to be
in perfect balance.
Fourth, they have to be able to decrease the
effects of stress and anxiety on our ability to perform and our ability to
rest and sleep. I don't want people taking one herb to put them to sleep,
another herb to wake them up in the morning. I don't want them to have to
resort to artificial drugs for reducing stress and anxiety. The herbs have to
do all of that.
Fifth, they have to be able to protect from
free-radical damage. And that just means they have to have good antioxidant
activity. I think most of your listeners are familiar with that concept.
The sixth thing is they have to increase the
body's ability to build muscle and/or lose weight through the burning of
calories. So we are improving the body's ability to utilize the dietary
calories that we consume each and every day.
Another thing they have to be able to do is
regulate digestion processes and balance them and be able, in the process, to
keep all of the organs and glands that are part of that system in balance.
They have to be able to prevent such things as simple indigestion or ulcers.
They have to be able to lower cholesterol and so forth.
In addition to that, another principal is
the ability to strengthen the heart: to reduce cholesterol, blood pressure; to
keep the blood’s ability to clot in balance, so it isn't too much or too
little. In other words, they have to keep the cardiovascular system in good
health and that is a big issue and very difficult for drugs to do. Almost
impossible for drugs to do, let's be honest about it, and there are very few
herbs that can do that over the course of a person’s life. But tonic herbs
have that ability.
Another thing they have to be able to do is
target the liver, the kidneys, and other glands related to this blood-
purifying concept we talked about earlier; to target those glands and keep
them in optimum health so that they can do their job the way that they are
designed to do and therefore reduce significantly the exposure to stressful
toxins and pollutants in our atmosphere and food and so forth.
Finally, we have to address the lower bowel.
This is a difficult thing to address for any substance and it's one in which
you would not picture a tonic being very helpful. Typically, we just want our
bowels to run more if we are constipated or run less if we have diarrhea and
it is hard to imagine something that would fight both of those tendencies at
once, but in fact, there are tonic herbs that do that and they do it very
So, those are the principals that a Whole Body Tonic has to be able to do, and
from what I have seen of JC Tonic®, we are talking about something here that
for decades has been able to offer that to people who are willing and ready to
consume it. Again, I distilled this from years of research and was I surprised
to find out that here was a guy, your father, who managed to do this decades
ago. Well, I am glad he did and I am glad there is somebody out there who's
been able to understand the tonic concept and put it into some kind of
practical application that people can take advantage of. I think that's just
exciting, and I hope all you people understand how precious and how valuable
this particular product it.
Daniel B. Mowrey, Ph.D.