Who Is Ron Teeguarden?
Ron Teeguarden is the cofounder, with his wife Yanlin, and leader of Dragon Herbs. He is widely recognized as one of the foremost herbalists in America. Ron has been a professional practitioner and teacher of the holistic Asian health arts since 1971. He has been a powerful translator of Eastern philosophy and health care techniques to ten’s of thousands of Americans for nearly four decades. He is recognized as the premier spokesperson for Chinese tonic herbalism in America, having spent decades teaching the concept that it is better to promote our health and well being than to become sick and then have to take remedial measures.
Ron has written two major books on Chinese tonic herbalism. His first book, Chinese Tonic Herbs, published in 1984 (Japan Publications), is a classic in the field. It is the book that introduced the art of tonic herbalism to the American public. The Ancient Wisdom of the Chinese Tonic Herbs (originally published as “Radiant Health”), published by Warner Books (Time Warner) in 1998, is recognized as a major book on the subject of Chinese longevity-herbalism. It is a must-read for those who have an interest in Chinese tonic herbs and the Asian arts of longevity and radiant health. His most recent book, 30 Tips for Living a Long and Happy Life is available now. If you read it and apply the tips, you will probably live a long and happy life! Ron has been featured in articles in Time Magazine, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times, and many other newspapers and magazines, and in numerous news stories on television, including features on NBC, HBO and CNN.
Ron specializes in the Chinese tonic herbs – herbs that have been used for centuries to promote longevity and radiant health. Ron has taken special interest in the adaptogenic herbs and in the art of Life Cultivation by which one can develop radiant health (“health beyond danger”).
Ron frequently travels to some of the world’s most exotic locations seeking the highest quality, most extraordinary anti-aging, immunoprotective, cardioprotective life-enhancing, empowering herbs in the world. For the past two decades, he has spent extended time in many regions of China, Japan, Central Asia, the Himalayas and Southeast Asia. These adventures result in the ever-growing repertoire of thousands of tonic herbal enthusiasts in this country. Ron has proven to have a knack for finding miraculous herbs. As a result of his research and exploration, Dragon Herbs offers the largest and most extraordinary range of tonic formulations in the world. And Ron is incredibly dedicated to finding the BEST tonic herbs and superfoods available anywhere on earth. His customers can count on the fact that they are getting the best herbs and herbal products that nature and mankind can provide.
Ron has very close ties to a number of very senior phyto-pharmaceutical scientists throughout the world, and particularly in mainland China. They provide him with inside tips on where to find the most extraordinary herbs available. Ron is directly involved in the manufacture of hundreds of herbal formulations.
Ron could not do what he is doing without his wife and partner, Yanlin Teeguarden. She is the maestro who runs the operation, including the overseas procurement and production of the hundreds of formulas made by Dragon Herbs. She is also the person responsible for the beautiful “look” associated with the Dragon Herbs stores, literature and packaging.
Master Herbalist Ron Teeguarden is well known as the “father” of the tonic herbal movement in America. He first started selling tonic herbs such as Ginseng and Goji berries in 1971, and teaching about the tonic herbs in 1974. Hundreds of herbalists and health practitioners consider him their teacher and thousands of others have been influenced by his teachings. Over his career, Ron has personally worked with thousands of clients and has built a reputation as one of the pre-eminent herbalists working in America today. In addition, Ron has developed hundreds of commercial formulations, including entire herbal product lines for prominent network marketing, direct marketing and retail companies. Ron and Yanlin live alternately in Los Angeles California and in Fuzhou China.
Ron is a proponent of the concept of “radiant health,” a degree of health that the Chinese define as “health beyond danger.” This definition of radiant health, to the Chinese, further includes increased longevity, emotional balance, strong resistance to disease, superb vitality and the maintenance of youthfulness. According to Ron, “the Western mind-set emphasizes treating disease while the Chinese focus is on the promotion of overall health and prevention.”
“There are basically three levels of herbal practice in China,” explains Teeguarden. “The lowest level is medicinal. This approach, based on medicinal herbs, is known in China as the inferior herbalism. The medicinal herbs used to treat diseases and other disorders are prescribed by doctors. They are powerful and often effective, but may have side effects if used for an extended period of time or incorrectly. The second level is known as the general herbalism and utilizes herbs that combat weaknesses and prevent ailments from occurring. The third level is known as the superior herbalism and utilizes the ‘superior herbs.’ These superior herbs, also known as the ‘tonics’ build up every aspect of your system, creating greater resistance, balance, adaptability and radiant health. These are the anti-aging, wisdom-enhancing, longevity herbs of China.“
Superior herbalism is Ron Teeguarden’s specialty. “The superior herbs have stood the test of time and have proven to offer long-term benefits without harmful side effects if taken regularly. Superior herbs are generally as safe as food and many are good tasting as well. In fact, in China, superior herbs are considered superfoods.
When Ron speaks of the benefit of herbs, he talks from personal experience. Ron was born in St. Augustine, Florida, on February 8, 1947. He attended the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. He was a pre-med student on an athletic scholarship (tennis). In 1969, in his last year of college, he contracted a viral infection for which doctors could not seem to find a cure. Plagued by extreme fatigue, deep depression and headaches, he lost 55 pounds and showed no signs of getting any better.
Desperate for an alternate solution, he tried a Chinese herbal tonic which was recommended by one of his friends. “I felt better immediately,” he recalls. “I felt my energy come back and I felt alive. I made a significant recovery within a very short time.
The experience changed his life, and he began to study with a number of Asian teachers who taught him Taoist health techniques, including acupressure and a completely natural diet. He lived a pure macrobiotic lifestyle and worked in the macrobiotic community for seven years. He was involved in the seminal founding of Eden Organic Foods, a natural foods provider that is still a prominent organic foods company. He also learned about the healing properties of Chinese herbs. Then in 1974, he met the man who would come to have the greatest impact on his life: Sung Jin Park, a Korean Taoist master.
Master Park took him on as his prime student and taught him the inner secrets of the Art of Radiant Health. “The level of my learning became so much deeper than before,” Ron explains. “He shared with me secrets and fundamental knowledge that is extremely hard to come by these days, even in Asia. I have lived in China and Japan for extended parts of my life and have never met anybody with his depth of knowledge and understanding. He shared with me knowledge that one is taught only if you are deemed dedicated and worthy.“ Master Park directed Ron to teach ten people to be masters of the deepest Asian health arts and to instruct each of them to teach ten others, and so on, so as to spread the knowledge of these great arts throughout the Western world. Ron accepted these instructions and vowed to spend his life doing so.
When Sung Jin Park returned to Korea in 1976, Ron spent several months in Japan studying Oriental health care and took a serious interest in the herbalism practiced in Japan. The Japanese were just introducing the Kampo system of standardized, modern formulations into the Japanese market and Ron saw an opportunity to apply the same methods in America. Ron returned to California and remained in America directing a holistic health clinic in Santa Monica, California, where he practiced acupressure, dispensed tonic herbs and taught an endless series of classes. During that time, Ron co-developed a form of acupressure that is now practiced throughout the world known as Jin Shin Do Acupressure.
In 1984, Ron wrote Chinese Tonic Herbs. It was published by Japan Publications, the very prestigious Japanese publisher of books on Asian health care techniques. The book has become a classic and remains the best selling book on Chinese tonic herbalism to date in America. Also in 1984, he journeyed to China for the first time to immerse himself in a culture where herbalism was a part of everyday life. While in China, he met with everyone from farmers to pharmacists. His travels gave him an idea about opening “bars” to mix and sell herbal tonics. In 1986, Ron opened the first “elixir bar” in the United States at Charmer’s Market in Santa Monica. From that point on Ron Teeguarden devoted his time solely to the development and promotion of Chinese tonic herbs.
Charmer’s Market was the precursor to the better known Tea Garden Herbal Emporium which opened in 1988 in Venice, CA. “It was like a MASH unit – an 800-square-foot space that was packed wall to wall with people from morning ‘til night. Frequently stopping by the Emporium for elixirs and to have their herbal programs replenished and reviewed were such luminaries as Mel Gibson, Darryl Hannah, Danny Glover, Sharon Stone, Jackson Browne, Wesley Snipes, John McEnroe, Wayne Gretzky, Dr. Andrew Weil, Warner Erhard (founder of EST), Reverend Michael Beckwith (“the Secret”) and Mel Simon (owner of “the Forum” in Caesars Palace and the Mall of the Americas), among many others.
He was the chief herbalist for the Emporium until 1993 when he shifted his efforts toward developing and sourcing herbs in China. At that time, Ron began spending most of his time in China. Ron had a highly fortuitous encounter on a flight to Beijing in 1993 with the Commissioner of Drug Approval for the People’s Republic of China, Xiao Pei-gen. They were seated together for the long flight. Ron happened to have an article in his flight bag written by Professor Xiao entitled “The Antiaging Herbs of China.” Professor Xiao was certainly surprised to meet somebody with an interest in the tonic herbs on an airplane, especially someone who had a highly marked-up article he had written. Xiao Pei-gen became Ron’s mentor in China. Ron spent considerable time at Professor Xiao’s world renowned Institute of Materia Plant Development, a direct branch of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, and the cutting edge herbal institute in China. Professor Xiao gave Ron an insiders track into the whole herbal industry of China, including direct contact with major scientists, research institutions, manufacturing facilities, and most importantly, incredible sources of raw materials. Concurrently, Ron met his future wife, Yanlin, who was just finishing up her studies at the prestigious Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade in Shanghai when the pair met. From the very beginning, she helped with sourcing and logistics in China.
In 1996, Ron had a meeting and interview with Grand Master Xu Guo-Jun, Ph.D., in the presence of Professor Wang Zheng-Tao, Ph.D., and Professor Zhou Zhen-He, Ph.D. Professor Xu was then Professor Emeritus at China Pharmaceutical University in Nanjing, China; director of the Chinese Pharmaceutical Association; a member of the Chinese Pharmacopeia Commission and the Chinese Academy of Sciences; a member of the Advisory Panel of Medicine, Academic Degree Committee, China; and a member of the Consulting Specialist Committee (Pharmacy), Chinese Ministry of Health. At that time, Professor Xu (who was in his late eighties) was the most respected herbalist in China. He has since passed away. Professor Wang was then a professor at China Pharmaceutical University, Department of Pharmacognosy; a member of the Chinese Pharmacopeia Commission; and Director of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences’ Commission to Standardize Chinese Herbs. Professor Zhou was then president of the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine at China Pharmaceutical University in Nanjing, China. The three great men jointly wrote the Foreword to Ron’s book, The Ancient Wisdom of the Chinese Tonic Herbs.
At that meeting, based on Ron’s life work, published materials, and comments made during the interview, Ron was deemed a “Master Herbalist” by the three masters.
Ron Teeguarden left the Tea Garden Emporiums in 1996 and currently operates Dragon Herbs, based in Santa Monica, California. There remains a tremendous demand for his consultations and the demand for his herbal products has been growing dramatically. Ron remains the herbalist for many top celebrities and executives. He and Yanlin spend considerable time in China overseeing their manufacturing facilities and herb farms, and meeting with researchers who are investigating the nature of the tonic herbs and developing new herbal materials, technologies and products. And Ron continues to travel to the most exotic regions of the world to find herbs that can benefit us all.
“More and more, you see people in Western cultures embracing what’s actually very commonplace in the East,” says Ron. “We don’t compete with conventional Western medicine, we compliment it. It is our intention to provide the knowledge and materials that can improve the lives of millions of Americans.”