This May marks 83-years after the oldest man in the world, Li Ching-Yuen died. The Chinese Immortal was said to be born in 1677 and died on May 6, 1933 at the age of 256, breaking the silence before his death and revealing his secrets to the world.
The birth and death of Li Ching-Yuen was discovered by a professor of the Chengdu University, Wu Chung-chieha during a research with Imperial Chinese government records from 1827. The records contained documents congratulating Li Ching-Yuen on his 150th birthday and also on his 200th birthday.
Prior to this discovering, the oldest human being that lived in recent times was Jeanne Clement, a French woman who died in 1997 at the age of 122. For Li Ching-Yuen, a few old men living in the neighborhood where he grew up actually knew him when they were boys. Li was a herbalist right from childhood and his health consciousness contributed largely to his longevity.
A Journal confirmed that in an article in the Evening Independent, stating that Li’s supposed longevity is due to, in his first century of life, by way of his experimentation with medicinal herbs in his capacity as a druggist, his discovery in the Yunnan mountains of herbs which “prevent the ravages of old age” and which he continued to use throughout his life.
At a point Li Ching-Yuen was on herbs diet alone for almost 40 years and he survived all the same. Those herbs included goji berry, wild ginseng, he shoo wu, gotu kola, rice, wine and lingzhi. He became a teacher of martial arts at the age of 71 in the Chinese armies. It is believed that he was married 23 times during his life time and had over 200 children.
In the time when Li Ching Yuen was a little boy, many people did not know how to read or write but he knew how to and also traveled a lot in his search for new herbs. After a hundred years of gathering herbs he decided to start selling the ones gathered by other people. These plants included gotu kola, he shouwu, wild ginseng, goji berry, lingzhi and many other Chinese herbs.
Li Ching-Yuen got his dietary recommendations and Qigong exercises from an unknown man who was said to have lived for 500 years. Besides those herbs diet and Qigong exercise, Li revealed that what made him live longer than other people was his ability to do the following:
Keep his heart quiet, walk sprightly like a pigeon, sit like a tortoise and sleep like a dog. Li said that to Wu Pei-fu, a warlord who took him into his house in order to find out about his secrets.
In other words, the secret of his longevity was inward calmness and peace of mind combined with breathing techniques. Also, the herbs diet was of great importance also.
The “normal” lifespan of the Western world is between 70-85 years and if someone is 100 years old he or she is believed to have exceeded life expectancy. However Li Ching-Yuen was able to break that expectation by experiencing four centuries – Late 16th century to early 19th century.