If you are feeling a little under the weather or lethargic, this chicken soup recipe is for you.
In this herbal chicken soup recipe, we are using 3 mains herbs that is aim to boost your Qi and Energy. They are namely:
1. Huang Qi (黄芪) aka Astragalus
The scientific name for Astragalus is Astragalus membranaceus. It is mainly produced in Inner Monogolia, Shanxi and Gansu provinces of China. I tasted a slice of the astragalus root and the taste isn’t very nice. So I guess it is still better with soup.
The root is long, cylindrical and yellow-brownish in colour. At the medical hall, they are usually sliced thinly.
According to the summary in the Bencao Congxin (New Compilation of Materia Medica): “Astragalus is sweet in taste with a warm property. The raw herb can be used to consolidate the exterior of the body. If there is an absence of sweating, it can restore normal sweating, and if there is excessive sweating, it can regulate it to a normal degree. It warms the muscles and strengthens the striae as well as invigorates qi.”
Astragalus are usually used in soups with other complementary Chinese herbs. The main purpose of astragalus is to boost energy levels, build up resistance especially when your immune system is lowered by overworking and stress. It is also an effective herb for sores and ulcers because it can dispel toxin to promote skin regeneration through tonifying qi and blood.
Note: Use astragalus root with care in some certain autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Crohn’s disease, etc. And it shouldn’t be used in those who have had transplant surgery. In terms of drug interactions, it should avoid Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan, Neosar), Lithium, and immunosuppressants.
2. Dang Shen (党参) aka Codonopsis Root
Dang Shen is commonly used in TCM to correct ‘Qi’ (气) deficiency and improve blood circulation to revitalise the body. They are usually found in Shanxi and Gansu provinces in China. This herb is also a common ingredient in the everyday recipes of soups and steamed dishes.
However, do not confused this with Ginseng as Ginseng itself is also another Qi tonic. Some people have called Dang Shen, “the poor man’s ginseng” because it has similar properties to Ginseng but weaker efficacy compared to it.
If you are having poor appetite, you can have a quick fix with Dang Shen too. Get a beetroot, cut it into cubes and boil it together with a few cubes of Dang Shen (5-10g). This refreshing drink will help you bring back your appetite
Note: Dang Shen should not be used excessively, it may interfere with blood clotting and is best to be avoided prior to surgery. It should not be more than 60g per dose. Also it should not be used with Li Lu (Veratrum)
3. Goji Berries aka Wolfberry Fruit
This fruit needs no introduction. They are a form of super food. It is one of the most antioxidant-rich fruits around. They are believed to be good for vision so if you have a desk bound computer facing job, you need to add this to your soup. In TCM, the berries are used to reinforce the Liver, invigorate the Kidneys and replenish vital essence, or jing.
They are found usually along Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and Gansu province in China.
How do you know if they are good quality?
The large with red thick pulp are usually the better qualities ones.
Note: While the berries are generally safe in moderation, studies have suggested that the berries may interact with blood thinning medication such as warfarin.
Homemade Chicken Herbal Soup
Main ingredients: Black chicken, Dang Shen, Astragalus, Red dates, Longan, Goji Berries, and Sliced ginger.
500 grams of Chicken meat,
30 grams of Astragalus,
30 grams of Dang Shen
25 grams of Red dates,
15 grams of Goji Berries,
15 grams of Longan,
slices of ginger, a small amount of salt, and 1.5 liters of water.
- Clean the silk chicken’s insides and exterior.
- Slice its meat into chunks for later use.
- Put the silk chicken chunks into a pot filled with cold water. Wait for the water to boil, then remove the chunks and rinse thoroughly.
- Wash the red dates and longan, then dry thoroughly.
- Soak the Dang Shen and Astragalus for 3-5 minutes before washing and drying thoroughly.
- Put all above ingredients into a steaming pot or a slow cooker, and add 1.5 liters of clean water. Cover the pot and simmer on medium heat for an hour (longer for slow cooker).
- After the soup is done, flavour with salt and add Goji Berries before serving.
1. Astragalus, Dang Shen, should not be consumed by pregnant women
2. Do not consume Astragalus in great quantities, not even when you have a fever or have a fluid deficiency.
3. Chicken should not be eaten together with sesame, chrysanthemums, wasabi, sweet rice, plums, garlic, carp, soft-shell turtle meat and shirmp.