Ask the Herbalist: Rehmannia Dean Thomas


Straight to the Source! Rehmannia Dean Thomas is a Taoist Master Herbalist in the Gate of Life lineage, a 5000 year old herbal system from China. He's the author of multiple herbal guidebooks and Founder of Shaman Shack, a line of tonic herbs to support the immune system, sharpen focus and brighten the Spirit. 

Given Rehmannia's sophisticated understanding of Chinese herbal alchemy, he was first in mind when we sought to find a formulator for our beloved collection of adaptogenic blends, The O'CLOCKS. Let his knowledge guide you. Let it support you around the clock.

Where did your love for herbs begin?

In 1986 I travelled to China with my then-Chinese wife, Sharon. We travelled to the Manchurian Province, where most of the illustrious Chinese herbs are grown. Visiting herb farms there, I fell in love with the herbs and the reverence the Chinese give them.

What was the moment you realized that herbal healing was your path?

On the trip in China, I stumbled into a late night herb bazaar in a dirt alley. It was like I’d stepped back thousands of years. Returning to America, Sharon and I bought Ron Teeguarden’s first book and started making tinctures from it.

How has your use of medicinal herbs impacted other areas of your life?

In 1998 I prayed for a teacher so that I could learn the most sophisticated healing system on Earth. That night I met Master Herbalist Ron Teeguarden. He taught me that taking the herbs can fortify the three primary energies of life, the “3 Treasures, Jing, Chi and Shen.” These three energies comprise Chi, the flame of metabolism and evolution; Jing, the physical body, the strength of its constitution and its capacity to reproduce; and Shen, the spirit.

Taking the Tonic herbs has definitely balanced my 3-treasure energies. I am more adaptable to endure more stress. I have better daily energy and I enjoy a peaceful mind.

The O’CLOCKS Collection have become a daily staple for everyone on the CAP team. We are so impressed with the way these have been alchemized! Can you tell us a bit about the formulation process?

The O’CLOCKS formulas are based on a thousands’ years old tradition called the Gate of Life. This tradition focuses on “tonic” herbs. These are herbs that help tune or “tonify” the body’s prime organ and energetic systems. Tonic herbs taken over time can help regulate the 3 primary life-energies; Jing, the body and its reproductive capacity; Chi, the flame of metabolism and evolution; and Shen, the spirit.

Could you please share a few beginner tips for someone who is just starting to introduce herbal practices into their life. Any resources your recommend?

Herbalism is rapidly evolving worldwide. Many herbal traditions contain valuable knowledge. Ayurveda is an extremely complex herbal system that can take over ten years to truly learn. The Chinese system of classification is being adopted as the universal protocol for plant classification and therapeutic value. Modern TCM university is an extremely rigorous and disciplined curriculum. Other herbal traditions offer more simplistic education. Online courses offer certifications, but many do not provide comprehensive teachings enough to justify calling oneself an herbalist. Seek to learn about your local herbs and their uses. Stay close to home at first. Take herb walks and harvest your own herbs. Learn how to tincture and dry them for teas. My online course offers a look into the jewel of Tonic Herbalism. 

Do you have a favorite herb at the moment? And why?

Reishi mushroom has always been my favorite because of its long and illustrious history as a Shen herb, balancing and fortifying the spirit. It is also very powerful for general immune support.

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