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Herbal Chicken Soup: Nourishing body and soul

Diet plays an important role in Chinese Medicine. As such, eating according to seasons is essential for good health and longevity. Today I will be talking about a Chinese winter warmer soup that nourishes the body and fights off the cold. Winter is a time to go inward, conserve energy and prepare for rebirth once again in Spring. Therefore, it is important to nourish our bodies in this time to enable growth when spring comes.

Though we are not quite in to Winter yet, it is fast approaching. With Covid19 and flu season potentially merging in the next couple weeks, it is wise to maintain good health and give your body a better chance of fighting any unwanted pathogens. That said, this soup is not recommended if you already have a cold/flu. Please note this soup should not be taken if you have a cold/flu instead use as a preventative measure.

Soups are nutritious comfort food that can be had by all walks of life. It is easy, economical to make and can be made in big batches. This soup contains some super herbs and foods with numerous benefits:

1. Goji Berries (Gou Qi Zi)

This has a sweet taste, is neutral in nature and targets the Liver, Kidney and Lung meridians. Gou Qi Zi nourishes and tonify Liver and Kidney Blood and Yin. Benefits the Jing and brightens the eyes. Nourishes Yin and moistens the Lungs. This is one of the primary tonics used in Chinese medicine to improve weakened conditions.

2. Astragalus (Huang Qi)

Astragalus is sweet tasting, slightly warm in nature and targets Lung and Spleen meridians. This herb tonifies Qi and Blood, Strengthen the Spleen and raises the Yang Qi of the Spleen/Stomach. It tonifies the immune system, strengthen the Lungs, promote urination and generates body fluids. This herb promotes the ations of other herbs especially those that strengthen overall energy, digestion, blood production and blood circulation.

3. Chinese Yam (Shan Yao)

This is sweet tasting, neutral in nature and targets Kidney, Lung and Spleen meridians. It tonifies the Spleen, nourishes Stomach Yin, tonify Lung Qi and nourish Lung Yin, tonify Kidney Yin and astringes Jing. This herb can be used for a long period of time and can be used in place of cortisone, prednisone and progesterone. This herb also helps add muscle mass.

4. Codonopsis Root (Dang Shen)

This is a sweet tasting herb, neutral in nature and targets the Lung and Spleen meridians. Dang Shen is able to tonify the middle jiao, augment Qi, tonify the Lung, nourish Blood and promote the generation of body fluids. Though similar to ginseng, this herb has a weaker action. Dang Shen can also beautify and freshen the skin.

5. Dried Citrus / Tangerine Peel (Chen Pi)

Acrid, bitter and aromatic in taste, warm by nature and targets the Lung, Spleen and Stomach meridians. Chen Pi regulates Qi and adjusts the middle jiao, dries dampness and transforms phlegm, helps prevent stagnation from tonic herbs and helps descend the Qi. As a result, Chen Pi is widely used in settling the stomach in cases of overeating, nausea and vomiting.

6. Red Dates (Hong Zao)

These are sweet tasting, neutral in nature and targets the Spleen and Stomach meridians. This herb tonifies the Spleen and Stomach, augments Qi, nourish the Blood and calms the Spirit, moderates and harmonizes harsh properties of other herbs. Hong Zao also counteracts the drying effects of ginger. Another important action for this herb is increasing endurance and assisting the Liver in recovery after toxic exposure.

Herbal Chicken Soup: Nourishing body and soul

Serves 4


1 whole skinless chicken (plain or black bone chicken)

3L of water

1-2 inch ginger sliced

Salt to taste


30g Goji Berries (Gou Qi Zi)

10g Astragalus (Huang Qi)

30g Chinese Yam (Shan Yao)

10g Codonopsis Root (Dang Shen)

10g Chinese Angelica Root (Dang Gui)

3-5 inch piece Citrus peel (Chen Pi)

5-6 Red Dates (Da Zao)


1. Soak herbs for 5 to 10 minutes and rinse a few times.

2. Wash the chicken, remove any fat and place in boiling water to cook for a few minutes. Skim off foam from the top, remove and rinse off the chicken.

3. Add all ingredients in a soup pot with 3L of filtered water. Bring soup to a boil for 5 minutes. Reduce heat and continue to cook for 3 hours. Add more water if necessary. This recipe should yield about 6 cups of broth.

4. When ready add salt to taste.

5. The meat, Goji berries, Chinese yam and dates can be eaten.

6. If you get low on broth but still have meat left over, you can shred the chicken, add another 4-5 cups of water and cook a second time over medium heat for 20 minutes. This should yield another 2 cups of yummy broth.

Please note:

· Herbal mixes or herbs sold separately can be found in most Asian grocery stores.

· When purchasing herb mixes as well as during the simmer process, there may be a distasteful smell. However, the long slow cooking process brings out the sweetness of the herbs.

· Can use a pressure cooker to reduce cooking time to one hour.

· Enjoy with the family once or twice a month


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