Polyrhachis Ant: The King Of Herbs

Polyrhachis Ant: The King Of Herbs

Written by: Norianna Diesel 

Consuming insects for medicinal value has long been a part of Chinese culture. One of the most highly regarded adaptogens of Chinese tonic herbalism is a large black ant species called Polyrhachis Ant.

There are over 600 species of Polyrhachis Ant, but of those, only Polyrhachis vicina roger and Polyrhachis lamellidens are used interchangeably in Chinese tonic herbalism. Polyrhachis lamellidens can be found in Japan, Korea, Taiwan and China, including Hong Kong, while Polyrhachis vicina roger can be found in subtropical southeast China, India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and BangladeshBoth of these ant species are commonly referred to as "Mountain Ant", or just "Ant" in Chinese tonic herbalism, and are considered in the same rank as Ginseng, Reishi, and Cordyceps, which are all superstar adaptogens. There is a Chinese saying that goes: "Ginseng is the king of herbs, but Ant is the herb of kings."

Polyrhachis Ant is widely consumed in Asia as a "forever young food", and is an important part of one's daily diet. It is one of the few "herbs" to fortify the brain and body with quick Qi, while simultaneously helping to restore Kidney Yin/ overall Jing. 

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Jing is considered the material basis for our life. It is this Jing energy that is able to be transformed into new life through the process of reproduction. Jing is the most refined energetic substance in our body, and forms the foundation for all of our tissues, sexual fluids, and sperm and ova. Jing has two main aspects: the pre-natal Jing and post-natal Jing. The pre-natal Jing is what we have inherited from our parents and ancestral line, and the post-natal Jing is what we store up during our lifetime through diet and lifestyle choices.

In TCM, it is believed that our ability to generate and conserve this Jing energy is what protects us from degenerative disease and increases the length and quality of our life. Polyhrachis Ant is considered to be the top Jing Tonic in TCM, partially because it is able to not only nourish both Yin and Yang Jing, but it also nourishes all three treasures of TCM: Jing, Chi, and Shen. And because Polyhrachis Ant is balanced in its Yin and Yang, it is easily tolerated by the general population, as opposed to other powerful adaptogens like Ginseng or Deer Antler. These can be a bit too Yang, and therefore be too warming or stimulating for some. Real health, vitality, and longevity begins with improving and maintaining Jing energy in the body, for which Polyhrachis Ant is a definite ally. 



Cheat Sheet List of the Benefits of Polyrhachis Ant:

*The #1 source of bioavailable zinc 

*Deeply rejuvenating to Jing and is balanced in its Jing Yin & Yang

*Nourishes the 3 treasures in TCM: Jing, Qi, Shen

*Contains bioavailable ATP & helps increase human strength

*Increases stamina and sexual vigor 

*Rich in protein

*Contains B1, B2, and B12 vitamins

*Powerful adaptogen



Nutritional Properties of Polyrhachis Ant:


Polyrhachis Ant contains over fifty nutritional elements, many of which are vital for human health. Of these nutritional elements, there are 26 varieties of amino acids, (including the eight essential ones for humans), vitamins B1, B2, B12, D, 30-70% protein, and more than 20 trace elements including magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, selenium, and especially zinc. 

Polyrhachis Ant provides bioavailable ATP to human cells, as well as increases the amount of cellular DNA and RNA, which can help slow down aging and aid in the regeneration of tissue. 

There are a unique set of Aldehyde compounds that are found in Polyrhachis Ant that have been demonstrated to give them a stronger tonic action than Ginseng. It is believed that these Aldehydes (geranicaldehyde and formalindehyde), along with other similar Aldehydes and other chemicals, is what gives Polyrhachis Ant its enormous strength. They can pull up to 1700 times their own weight, and lift up to 400 times their own weight! These compounds transfer over to humans when they consume Polyrhachis Ant, and over time, there is a palpable increase in strength that can be measured.



Polyrachis Ant - Best Bioavailable Zinc Supplement:


Zinc is essential for maintaining homeostasis in the body by modulating the immune and stress response. Zinc is essential for the biological function of over 300 enzymes in the human body, and has an important role in our cellular metabolism. Our immune systems, neurological nervous system, and reproductive system are all dependent on having enough zinc to function properly. Zinc is also crucial in the synthesis of protein and nucleic acids (the components of DNA and RNA), as well as helping with cell signaling in relation to hormone release and nerve impulse transmission. Unfortunately, much like magnesium, zinc is one of the most common mineral deficiencies in western countries. Even a mild zinc deficiency can lower one's sex drive, limit one's muscle gain potential, impact one's energy level, and can cause weight gain. So, as you can see, it is a great idea to stock your home apothecary with some Polyrhachis Ant, for nothing else, just as an awesome bioavailable zinc supplement. 

There are many studies that do confirm a decline of zinc levels as one ages, which can inevitably negatively impact the activity of the thymus and thymic hormones. So, consuming a good high quality source of bioavailable zinc can help promote growth and overall health of the thymus gland as one ages. The zinc content of Polyrhachis Ant is the highest among all known living organisms, as every kilogram of dried ant contains 120-198 mg of zinc. It is amazing to know we have a natural bioavailable source of zinc in the form of these black spiny ants, as most store bought zinc supplements are non bio-available.




Interesting Facts About Polyrhachis Ant:


*The omnivorous species Polyrhachis lamellidens is susceptible to a Cordyceps fungus called Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, which will exert mind control over the ants in order to reproduce. When the fungus is ready to reproduce, it will grow into the brain of the ant and will release chemicals causing the ant to climb to the top of a plant and clamp its mandibles into the surface. While there, the fungus will consume the ant's brain and produce little fungus sprouts that grow out of the head. This whole process usually takes around 4-10 days from the time the fugus enters the ant. This same species of mountain ant doesn't have to worry about too many predators besides this Cordyceps fungus because of their large spines and nest location. Yet there are a few predators that consume Polyrhachis lamellidens, the Japanese wasp, and spiders: Tinea carnariella and Eucharitidae. 


*In his classic Compendium of Materia Medica, Li Shi-Cheng, (1518-1593) the greatest Chinese herbalist and practitioner, introduced varieties of ants, (properties and their living environment), and described the ancient practice of eating ant's eggs and serving ants to tribal chiefs and noble lords.



In our Spagyric Apothecary, we do our best to regularly stock a spagyric tincture of Polyrhachis Ant, because of its many health benefits and unique energetic properties. Personally, I the author, love to consume both a 20:1 extract, as well as the spagyric tincture of Polyrhachis Ant for the overall health benefits it provides. We at the Phoenix Aurelius Research Academy feel that Polyrhachis Ant is one of the best 'herbs' one can take on a regular basis, with other favorites including American Ginseng, Reishi, and Moringa. 




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