Matrimony Vine & Gou Qi Zi

There is a story about a Chinese traveller who, while passing through a village called Xihe, happened to witness a young lady beating an old man with grey hair all over his head. The young lady looked about 15 or 16 year old and the old man somewhere between 80 and 90. The traveller asked the young lady why she was beating the old man and she explained that she is his granddaughter and she was angry with him for failing ro take his longevity herbs. That was why he looked so old, she said. Thc traveller asked her age and was told that she was 372 years old.

Rather taken aback, he asked her how she had managed to live that long and she I replied that she consumed matrimony vine all year round.

China's greatest herbalist, Shih-Chen Li, who wrote the celebrated Outline of Materia MedicaCpublished in 1578, pointed out in this book that the people in the village of Nan-Qiu were in the habit of eating matrimony vine and that a very high percentage of them lived a long life. And a famous Chinese poet in the Tang Dynasty(618-907) by thc name of Yu-Xi Liu wrote a poem in praisc of the wonderful effects of matrimony vine, which said that even thc water from a well near the plant can make people live a long life.

1n fact, matrimony vine is not only good for longevity, but it is often associated with beauty as well. For instance, a Chinese writer reported thar he knew a beautiful woman from a wealthy family who had always made it a point to drink matrimony vine tea and eat the gouqizi seeds (wolfberries) every day, which was why, he said, she looked 20 years younger than her age.

Matrimony vine is a trailing shrub with thorny stalks. Its seeds are thc most valuable part for medicinal purposes, a1though the roots of this plant are beneficial as well.

Another story relates how a scholar spotted some beautiful flowers on the plant, so out of curiousity, he began to dig out the roots. To his amazement, the roots were shaped like two dogs bound together. But he washed them anyway and boiled them in water. After having eaten the roots for a few days, the scholar all of a sudden felt very light in his body; as if he could fly away.

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