A Shared Passion for Hunza: Bernard Jensen & M. Salim Khan
Exploring the Fascination of Two Famed Herbalists with the Hunza Region
By A. Hafiz Qadri
The Hunza Mountains
Bernard Jensen & M Salim Khan The Confluence of Two Herbalists' Legacies in the Valleys of Hunza
This four-part blog series will offer readers a comprehensive journey into the lives and works of Bernard Jensen and M Salim Khan, as well as their shared fascination with the Hunza region and the treasure of Hunza Shilajit. Different parts will delve into the rich history, philosophies, and contributions of these herbalists while shedding light on their connection to the enigmatic Hunza Valley.
Hunza and its Inhabitants
The Hunza Valley, nestled in the rugged mountains of northern Pakistan, is a pristine haven of natural beauty. Surrounded by towering peaks and lush greenery, the region provides the perfect backdrop for the Hunza people’s natural way of life. Their diet, predominantly plant-based, is rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, with a focus on grains like barley, buckwheat, and millet. These staples are grown in terraced fields using traditional farming methods and mineral-rich water, providing a wealth of essential nutrients.
The Hunza people, hailing from a remote region in the Himalayas, have long captivated the world with their remarkable longevity and vibrant health. Deeply rooted in nature and herbal traditions, their lifestyle is a testament to the power of living in harmony with the environment.
The Hunza Lifestyle
The Hunza people are renowned for their deep connection with nature, standing in stark contrast to the unnatural and artificial way of life that afflicts modern society.
Herbs and medicinal plants also contribute to the Hunza lifestyle. The people of this region have a profound knowledge of herbal remedies, handed down through generations. They harness the healing properties of indigenous herbs to treat various ailments, often opting for holistic approaches instead of relying on modern industrial medicine.
Physical activity also plays an integral part of the Hunza way of life. With their mountainous terrain, walking and trekking are essential for daily transportation and a source of exercise. The Hunza people are known for their robust health and vitality, which is maintained through regular physical activity and labour-intensive work.
Another remarkable aspect of the Hunza lifestyle is their water source. The region boasts some of the purest water on the planet, sourced from glaciers high in the mountains. This natural, unprocessed water is rich in minerals and oxygen, contributing to the overall well-being of the Hunza people.
The Legendary Longevity of the Hunza People
Perhaps the most intriguing element of the Hunza lifestyle is their exceptional longevity. It is not uncommon for individuals to reach the age of 100 or more in this region. Several factors contribute to this impressive feat. The Hunza diet is low in calories but abundant in nutrients, promoting overall health and longevity. Their stress-free, close-knit community and strong social ties create a supportive environment that fosters mental well-being.
The Hunza people and their region serve as a powerful reminder of the benefits of embracing herbal medicine and wholesome nutrition along with a natural holistic lifestyle. Their story inspires us to reconnect with nature, foster community bonds, and prioritise our health and well-being through simple yet powerful practices. As we continue to learn from the Hunza way of life, we are reminded that, in an increasingly disconnected and artificial modern world, there is wisdom in the world’s ancient traditions that continue to live as part of our human heritage. This time-tested wisdom can lead us towards a healthier and more fulfilling future.
Dr. Bernard Jensen and the Hunza Region
Dr. Bernard Jensen (left) with the king of the Hunza State
Hunza – A Source of Fascination
The Hunza region and its people have been a deep source of fascination for Dr. Bernard Jensen, a pioneering figure in the field of holistic health and nutrition, and whose life and contributions I shared in an earlier article. Dr. Jensen embarked on a remarkable journey to the Hunza region, in the mid-20th century. His fascination with this isolated community and their extraordinary longevity would shape his life’s work and leave an indelible mark on the world of natural health.
His journey to the Hunza Valley was driven by a deep curiosity to understand the secrets behind the Hunza people’s vitality and longevity. What he discovered left a profound impact on him. Dr. Jensen was welcomed into the Hunza community, and he observed their traditional lifestyle, which included a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, an abundance of pure water, and a close-knit social structure.
A fruit stall in Hunza
Dr. Jensen was particularly intrigued by the Hunza people’s robust health, often living well beyond a century. Their lifestyle, which emphasised natural, unprocessed foods and the use of herbs and holistic remedies, resonated deeply with his own philosophy on health and wellness.
A Pivotal Moment
Upon his return from the Hunza Valley, Dr. Jensen devoted much of his life to studying and promoting the principles he had learned from the Hunza people. He became a passionate advocate for the benefits of natural, whole-food nutrition, detoxification, and holistic living. He authored several influential books, which later became foundational texts in the field of holistic health.
Dr. Bernard Jensen’s journey to the Hunza region and his fascination with the lifestyle and longevity of its people marked a pivotal moment in his career. It led him to a deeper understanding of the powerful connection between natural living, nutrition, and health. His work has continued to inspire generations of individuals to embrace a holistic approach to well-being, emphasising the importance of a diet rich in whole foods, clean water, and natural remedies – principles he learned and cherished from the remarkable Hunza people.
A Book Inspired by the Hunza People
His fascination for Hunza Valley served as a profound source of inspiration, leading him to embark on a journey of working with individuals, focusing on dietetics and nutrition. This also prompted him to pen the book, ‘A Hunza Trip With Dr. Bernard Jensen: (The Ultimate Health Valley)’. It is considered the finest of books written about the longevity and health secrets of the Hunza people. The 148 pages paperback deals with the following topics:
- The Hunza People
- Continuity and Heredity
- Whole Diet Experiments
- Causation of Disease
- Hunza Food and Its Civilisation
Dr. Jensen held the belief that nutrition stands as one of the most critical aspects of the healing profession. He expresses surprise at why it hasn’t received more widespread recognition and comprehensive education in colleges and medical schools. His conviction in the power of nutrition is unwavering. He firmly believes that through a deep understanding of nutrition, individuals can appreciate the true value of fruits, berries, nuts, and other natural foods, recognizing how these can be integrated into their everyday lives to help them rejuvenate, be well-nourished, and become healthier.
He emphasises the remarkable abilities of these foods, which not only nourish the body but also play a crucial role in addressing specific health concerns. They aid in the restoration of the body’s vitality, including mending issues like sciatic nerve problems and alleviating the discomfort caused by acidic build-up. He firmly believes that understanding the intrinsic value of these foods is the key to a healthier life.
For him, the words of Hippocrates resonate deeply, echoing the sentiment that “food should be your medicine and your medicine should be your food.” This philosophy encapsulates his core belief in the healing potential of natural nutrition.
Herbalist Salim Khan and the Hunza Region
Herbalist Salim Khan amidst the Hunza mountains
The Allure of Hunza: A Bold Pursuit of Knowledge
Salim Khan is a renowned herbalist who has garnered a reputation in the world of natural health and wellness. What sets him apart is not only his extensive knowledge but also his deep-rooted fascination for the Hunza region, a passion he shares with his mentor, the legendary Dr. Bernard Jensen.
The journey to Hunza is definitely not for the fainthearted. With its steep rugged terrain and treacherous paths, it takes a considerable degree of boldness and determination to pursue the path of Hunza. However, for Salim Khan the allure of the place and its people was an irresistible pull that did not deter him from his aspirations.
Salim Khan’s fascination for the Hunza region is more than just fascination; he has delved deep into the Hunza lifestyle, philosophy, and traditions. He has had the privilege of meeting the Hunza people, engaging in their events, and experiencing their warm hospitality by staying in the homes of generous hosts. These immersive encounters allowed him to gain firsthand insight into the lives of these remarkable individuals.
Following the footsteps of his mentor
A student of Dr. Bernard Jensen and several other distinguished herbalists, Khan’s journey to the heart of the Hunza Valley was a transformative experience. Driven by the same curiosity and wonder that inspired his mentor, he ventured into this remote, mountainous region not once but multiple times.
Salim Khan’s unwavering admiration for the Hunza people and their unparalleled health and longevity stems from his mentor’s fascination. Dr. Bernard Jensen’s influence runs deep, and it was because of him that Khan was introduced to the wonders of this region. Salim Khan echoes Jensen’s sentiments, acknowledging the Hunza people as true exemplars of health and longevity, making it a mission to share these insights with the world.
The Hunza Life: Embracing Nature’s Wisdom
What captivated Salim Khan the most is the natural and herbal lifestyle of the Hunza people, a way of life that emphasises fresh, unprocessed foods and traditional herbal remedies. He firmly believes in the wisdom of these practices and has incorporated them into his approach to health and wellness. The harmony that the Hunza people maintain with their environment resonates deeply with Khan, and he often emphasises the need to learn valuable lessons from their lifestyle.
The Hunza people’s close-knit social structure, low-stress way of living, and physical activity also play a role in the holistic framework for their robust health. Salim Khan believes that these elements collectively contribute to their exceptional well-being, which he aims to share with a global audience.
A Holistic Approach to Well-Being
The lessons Salim Khan learned from the Hunza people extend beyond just dietary practices. He acknowledges the significance of social relationships, community bonds, the power of a stress-free way of being, and the benefits of maintaining a close connection to the natural environment. These principles have become central to his holistic approach to health, influencing not only his practice but also his teachings and writings on the subject.
Salim Khan firmly believes that, in a modern world fraught with health challenges, we can benefit immensely from these insights into the Hunza way of life. His dedication to sharing the wisdom he has acquired from this extraordinary community is a tribute to the lasting influence of his mentor, Dr. Bernard Jensen, and a testament to his commitment to bettering the well-being of individuals everywhere.
In a world searching for ways to improve health and longevity, M. Salim Khan stands as a bridge between the ancient wisdom of the Hunza people and contemporary approaches to holistic well-being. His fascination and dedication to their natural and herbal lifestyle continue to inspire and guide countless individuals on their journey to better health and vitality.
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