Herbal Healing Theory: Polarity of Yin and Yang Symbolism

by Jason J. Duke - Owner/Artisan

Fresh Content: August 1, 2022 15:31

Yin-Yang Symbol

The creation of the universe, as it originates in classical Chinese thinking, is initially divided into two opposing energetic polarities of Yin and Yang. The subsequent interplay of these two polarities drives the motions of life, the universal cosmos, and everything.

Yin and Yang and the Circle of Health and Healing

Yin and Yang are always taken into the account of working on health and healing with diet, exercise, supplements, and especially herbs, and their stronger actions within herbalism, because all of these things affect and benefit a part of the holistic system in the body which will always correlate to another part of the holistic system in the body. One must take everything into accordance to follow the way of life, even that which cannot be readily perceived.

Qi, also spelled chi, is the basic energy that is inherent within everything in the cosmos. Qi connects everything physical and metaphysical. Using nearly infinite qualities of qi, something is always able to be viewed by their influence within duality in relation to another thing as a polarity of opposites (ie. dark is the opposite of light). But nothing is purely opposite another. There is always a darker darkness and lighter light.

The Interplay of Qi is Both Yin And Yang

Although someone cannot sense something metaphysical, someone may be able to perceive a metaphysical thing's influence upon that which is able to be sensed and perceived. For example, we see the reflective effects of light upon that we look at, such as a wall, tree, water, or the sky, but we do not see the light since light in-and-of-itself is metaphysical and must act upon or within something to be seen.

Yin as to Yang; Harmony as to Disharmony

The greater the opposition of polarity, the greater the interplay of qi between the polar opposite. This activity of interplay is what causes qi to move around and between things in the universe. One polar extreme is termed Yin and the other polar extreme is Yang. 

Yin is the negative polarity of qi within the universe.

Yang is the positive polarity of qi within the universe.

Any harmony or disharmony is the balancing actions of Yin and Yang. And although Yin and Yang naturally oppose each other, each polarity has the force to create their polar opposite, as seen in the Yin-Yang symbol, a.k.a. the tai-chi symbol; within Yin is found the essence of Yang and within Yang is found the essence of Yin. Because everything relates to each other and the things all-around, Yin can become Yang and Yang can become Yin. If coolness is Yin to the hotness of Yang, than coolness can become Yang to the coldness of Yin.

Yin <---> Yang <-------------
Cold <---> Cool <---> Hot
-------------> Yin <---> Yang

—What is Yin to one thing may be Yang to another

The Polarized Relationship of Yin and Yang

The polar opposites within the theory of Yin-Yang are found within everything and are understood through by the existence of the other. To know Yin is to know Yang and to know Yang is to know Yin. The cold of Yin cannot be known as Yin unless the hot of Yang is known in their polarized relationship.

The relational interplay is critical to understanding the respective polarity and universal positioning of Yin as to Yang. Compare Earth in two examples. The Yin of physical matter dominated existence downwards towards Earth as related to the Yang of spiritual energy dominated existence upward towards Heaven. But the Earth will be a Yang force of movement and generating life as related to the Yin force of stasis and death of Space.

Generalized {Yin} as to {Yang} Theory

  • Black as to White
  • Dark as to Bright
  • Cold as to Hot
  • Down as to Up
  • Soft as to Hard
  • Heavy as to Light
  • Stasis as to Activity
  • Slow as to Fast
  • Mass as to Energy
  • Empty as to Full
  • Large as to Small
  • Inward as to Outward
  • Internal as to External
  • Structure as to Function
  • Night as to Day
  • Water as to Fire
  • Winter as to Summer
  • Fall as to Spring
  • Earth as to Heaven
  • Space as to Earth
  • Moon as to Sun
  • Earth as to Sky
  • Space as to Time
  • Female as to Male
  • Physical as to Metaphysical

Yin and Yang theory is applied to human biology, plants, stones, and minerals. Application of the generalized theory of Yin-Yang to herbal healing theory is the basis of understanding the inherent nature of plants, stones, and minerals as they effect the body, mind, emotions, and spirit.

Herbal Healing {Yin} as to {Yang} Theory

  • Cool as to Warm
  • Salty as to Sweet
  • Bitter as to Pungent
  • Hypo as to Hyper
  • Rest as to Movement
  • Relaxed as to Energetic
  • Receptive as to Aggressive
  • Psychological as to Physical
  • Introvert as to Extrovert
  • Aerials as to Roots
  • Moistening as to Drying
  • Blood as to Energy
  • Vegetable as to Meat
  • Raw as to Cooked
  • Nourishing as to Circulating
  • Front as to Back
  • Inside as to Outside
  • Interior as to Surface
  • Torso as to Head
  • Below the waist as to Above the waist
  • Disease as to Health
  • Lumbar Spine as to Thoracic Spine
  • Hypometabolic as to Hypermetabolic