Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Healing Properties of Jade (Part 1: Asian Practices)


Liangzhu culture, ca. 3300-2250 BCE,
Chinese Nephrite Bi Disks, Freer Gallery of Art Exhibition,
Copyright 2012, Smithsonian Institute
Photo Source: Style Court Blog
by Angela Magnotti Andrews

The ancient texts of many cultures around the world have included at least some reference to the power of gemstones, often citing their healing properties. Despite its unique characteristics, jade is no exception. In fact, in both Asia and Mesoamerica (pre-historic Central America/Mexico) jade was believed to be a panacea of sorts, used for healing all manner of conditions, most notably for diseases of the kidneys.

In Asia, the ancient Chinese celebrated nephrite jade as a powerful healer for improving blood circulation and providing support to the central nervous system. It was believed that drinking a tonic made from rice and jade powder boiled in sacred dew-water would detoxify a person’s blood, tone his muscles, regenerate and add strength to his bones, and calm his mind. They also believed that eating powdered jade would invigorate the heart and lungs and protect a person from illness, thereby guaranteeing longevity.

It is no surprise that ingestion of nephrite would encourage red blood cell production, strengthen bones, and aid in digestion. Nephrite is primarily composed of magnesium, iron, and calcium. It is well-known that magnesium and calcium are a potent combination for increasing bone density and that iron aids in building up red blood cells. Calcium is also a powerful digestive aid, particularly for acid reflux.

Asian healers also believed that holding or applying jade to an ailing part of the body would alleviate pain, decrease swelling, and restore harmony to body systems, especially the circulatory and excretory systems. Many modern-day practitioners follow the Asian practice of placing nephrite jade over the heart or over the kidneys for 15 to 20 minutes. Others use jade stones to apply to acupressure points and for deep tissue massage, believing that the stones will act as tuning forks to realign the body’s systems.

It is remarkable that across the world from Asia, natives of both North and South America also used jade (jadeite) for some of the very same complaints.

BIBLIOGRAPHY
1. "Case Study: Jade and its Historic and Modern Meanings for Trade." The Trade and Environment Database. Accessed September 19, 2012. http://www1.american.edu/ted/jade.htm.
2. Parker, Laura. "How to Cure Kidney Stones with Jade." eHow video presentation. Accessed September 19, 2012. http://www.ehow.com/video_7368630_healing-stones_-raw-amber.html?wa_vrid=42e9c5d4-4847-4a45-82f7-828f503c568b&cp=1&wa_vlsrc=continuous&pid=1
3. "Red Jade." The Crystal Vaults. Accessed September 19, 2012. http://www.crystalvaults.com/pages/crystal_encyclopedia/red_jade.php.

*Clip art courtesy of The Graphics Fairy



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