What did the Egyptian queen Cleopatra and the only Chinese empress Wu Zetian have in common?
Humanity has been pursuing the secret of a long and happy life since the beginning of the time. There are much knowledge and wisdom on this subject, but of all of this knowledge, it is the Taoists’ longevity and immortality practices that really stand out as extraordinary.
Taoism is an ancient Chinese philosophy initiated by Lao Zi some 2500 to 3000 years ago. Taoism is a way of life, which involved living in union with nature, and Taoist masters are famous for having achieved longevity (and even immortality) by using herbs and minerals, as well as by studying special energy practices. For example, Master Peng Zu is recorded to have lived for 880 years, while Master Zhang San Feng lived for more than 400 years. A number of immortal Taoists are also recorded through history and include Dongbing Liu and Xiangu He. The stories about these amazing people have been cherished for thousands of years.
Using herbs and other powerful natural products to achieve longevity is one of the most important components of Taoist practice. Taoist scholars have accumulated a great deal of wisdom and have many secrets in this regard. Of all of the herbs and minerals that Taoists use to achieve longevity, pearl stands out as particularly potent. In the ancient Taoist book Bao Pu Zi by Gehong Jin (AD 281–341) it is said that taking pearl can prolong life and even help to make people immortal.
Pearl has always been highly coveted among the Chinese nobility. In ancient China, emperors would designate tens of thousands of people in certain parts of the country as pearl collectors. The Chinese imperial family ingested pearl powder and applied it externally so that they could enjoy the pearl’s many benefits. When taken internally, they believed pearl powder could help:
Calm the mind, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve mental acuity and focus
Promote emotional balance
Drive away evil spirits
Cleanse the liver
Prevent eye degeneration and disease
Nourish the kidney and heart
Nourish and strengthen bone
White and strengthen teeth
Nourish and strengthen muscle and speed up muscle recovery
Rejuvenate skin and heal skin problems
Stop children from crying at night due to fear or disturbances
Heal stomach illness
Help people live longer and healthier lives
They also used pearl powder as an ingredient in the following products:
Facial cream to give younger looking skin
Toothpaste and tooth powder for whiter and stronger teeth
Eye drops to promote eye health and better vision
Liniment for wounds, sores, burns, or other skin problems
Wu Ze Tian (AD 625–705), the only woman in Chinese history to ever attain the title of Emperor, consumed pearl powder and also applied pearl beauty cream to her skin. When she ascended to the throne at the age of 65, her skin was as radiant as that of a young woman. Wu Ze Tian lived for another fifteen years, reaching the age of 80 at a time when life expectancy was only 40–60 years.
But it wasn’t only in China that the ancients used pearl powder. It is recorded that in ancient Egypt, Cleopatra drank wine vinegar with a pearl in it to enhance her beauty and health. Native Americans considered pearl to have magical healing powers, while archaeologists have also found that Mayan “dentists” used pearl as a tooth filling that grew seamlessly into the existing teeth!