Traditionally the Chinese people use medicinal herbs in their daily cooking to maintain their health. In fact, Chinese dumplings were first used by the Chinese healer Zhang Zhongjing over 1,800 years ago to deliver medicinal herbs in a tasty package. Herbs can add earthy, pungent, sour, sweet, citrus and spicy notes to your soups and other foods. While you can add medicinal herbs to any of your recipes, soup may be the easiest place to start. There is something about soup that is calming and comforting. We all know the home remedy of chicken soup when you are not feeling well. Why not add some additional natural health benefits to give it a boost!
If you have never used Chinese herbs in your soup be aware that the scent while cooking may not always be pleasant. Harder herbs or large pieces of herbs will take longer to cook so remember to allow for that while cooking. The longer the soup simmers, the darker the broth will become. The herbs can be left in the soup and eaten or use a large reusable culinary bag to easily remove the herbs after cooking. When finished you will have a bowl of steamy goodness that will have a unique flavor and help you to feel good.
Use your favorite soup recipe or check out the one we have provided at the end of the article. That is one of the nice aspects of soup. You can add your own flare and preferences.
Angelica Sinensis (Dang Gui): Benefits women’s health, supports the immune
system, removes toxins, benefits cardiovascular health, supports skin health,
has antioxidant properties and benefits digestion.
Buy Angelica Sinensis Here.
Astragalus Root (Huang Qi): Benefits the kidneys and promotes a healthy
immune system, is a tonic and has diuretic effects
Buy Astragalus Root Here.
Burdock Root (Niu Ban Gen): Promotes healthy body fluid levels, benefits
the lymphatic system, supports circulation, aids in digestion, promotes urinary
tract health and may benefit blood sugar.
Buy Burdock Root Here.
Chinese Wild Yam (Shan Yao): This herb is popular in Cantonese soups. Chinese yam benefits the spleen, lung and
kidneys, promotes increased energy and alleviates body weakness.
Buy Chinese Wild Yam Here.
Codonopsis Root (Dang Shen): Aids with stress, supports digestive health,
benefits kidneys and has antioxidant properties.
Buy Codonopsis Root Here.
Coix Seed (Yi Yi Ren): Coix seed drains dampness and clears
heat. It supports digestion benefits
urinary health, benefits the skin and promotes healthy fluid balance.
Buy Coix Seed Here.
Cordyceps (Dong Chang Xia Cao): Cordyceps mushrooms promotes a healthy immune
system, promotes energy and endurance, benefits reproductive health, supports
digestive health, benefits the nervous system and promotes the body’s uptake of
oxygen in the cells. If you don’t want
the texture of mushrooms, use the powder instead. You will still get all the benefits of the
Buy Cordyceps Powder Here.
Fox Nut Barley (Qian Shi): Also known as Euryale Seeds. Benefits blood pressure, digestion,
cardiovascular health and men’s health. Qian shi tonifies the kidneys and
Buy Fox Nut Barley Here.
Ginger Root (Gan Jiang, Shen Jiang): Ginger contains natural anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. Ginger may help help settle the stomach, temporarily relieve pain, benefit circulation, and support digestive health.
Buy Ginger Root Here.
Ginseng Root (Ren Sheng): Ginseng promotes a healthy immune system, benefits
brain function, may promote energy levels, contains antioxidants and has
Buy Ginseng Root Here.
Gogi Berries (Gou Qi Zi): Also known as Wolfberries benefit the liver,
vision and kidneys.
Buy Goji Berryies Here.
Lily Bulbs (Bai
He): Dried lily bulbs benefits
cough, supports the throat, benefits lungs.
Buy Them Here.
(Long Yan): Dried longan fruit benefits
the blood, supports natural sleep and has anti-aging effects.
Buy Them Here.
Sacred Lotus Seed
(Lian Zi): Also known as White Lotus
Seed it tonifies the kidneys and spleen.
It supports digestive health and promotes relaxation. It has astringent, anti-inflammatory and
Buy Sacred Lotus Seed Here.
Poria (Fu Ling): Also known as Indian bread. Benefits normal body fluid levels, supports
digestive health, promotes urination, is a heart tonic, promotes sleep and
benefits a positive mental state.
Buy Poria Here.
Red Dates (Hong Zao):
Benefits cell function, promotes calmness, protects the liver and
moistens the lungs.
Buy Red Dates Here.
Solomon’s Seal (Yu Zhu): Benefits the throat and moistens lungs.
Buy Solomon's Seal Here.
Tangerine Peel (Chen Pi): Dried Tangerine peel benefits the stomach, may
temporarily ease nausea and supports respiratory health.
Buy Dried Tangerine Peel Here.
Turmeric Rhizome (Jiang Huang): Turmeric has potent natural anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric benefits circulation, digestion, blood sugar levels, joint health and may temporarily relieve pain.
Buy Turmeric Here.
White Ginseng (Hua Qi Shen): Also known as American Ginseng. This herbs offers gentle cooling and balances
the body’s yin and yang forces.
Buy White Ginseng Here.
Be creative! You are not limited to the herbs listed above. Try adding your own favorite herbs and start enjoying their health benefits in more delicious ways. Enjoy!
Chinese Herbal Chicken Soup
Makes 6 - 8 servings
This is a great recipe to use on it's own or build upon, Add your favorite herbs, noodles, rice or vegetables.
- 1 Whole Roasting Chicken
- 2" Piece of Fresh Garlic, Sliced
- 0.75 oz. (20 g.) Dried Codonopis Root, Cut
- 0.75 oz. (20 g.) Dried Astragalus Root, Cut
- 0.5 oz. (15 g.) Dried Chinese Yam, Cut
- 0.5 oz. (15 g.) Dried Longan Fruit
- 15 - 20 Goji Berries, Dried
- 10 Red Dates, Dried
- 2 Carrots, Peeled & Cut Into Bite-Sized Pieces
- 2 Stalks Celery, Cut Into Bite-Sized Pieces
- 1 c. Bok Choy, Chopped (optional)
- 2 Green Onions, Sliced (optional)
- Salt to taste.
- Rinse all dry ingredients and place in a bowl of cold water to soak.
- Cut the chicken to to pieces - breasts, legs, things & wings. The skin can be left on or removed per your preference.
- If desired, par boil the chicken for several minutes to remove excess fat.
- Strain the dried herbs and remove the chicken from the boiling water.
- In a pot of fresh water, enough to cover the chicken by an inch or so, add the soaked dried herbs, chicken, garlic, celery and carrots. Bring to a boil for 15 - 20 minutes.
- Reduce heat and simmer for 2 - 3 hours. Add more water if needed. If using, add the bok choy the last 20 minutes of cooking. Top with green onion when served if desired.