Souped-up Chicken Soup

A Supplementing – Tonifying Chinese Medicine Chicken Soup Recipe

You have likely heard or read that chicken soup can help you feel better when you are suffering from a head cold. While there is no known cure for the common cold, the amino acid cysteine, which thins respiratory tract secretions, is released from chicken during cooking. This helps chicken soup broth thin mucus in a manner similar to cough medicine.

Traditional Chinese medicine (TMC) includes TCM dietary therapy and there are lots of TCM recipes built around a chicken soup template. The following easy Chinese recipe for chicken soup enhances the health benefits of that old standard by adding the herbs Ren Shen (commonly known as ginseng), Da Zao (jujube), and Gou Qi Zi (lycii berry). All three herbs area available from HealthPoint. Be warned: good ginseng is extremely expensive. But the amount in this recipe is not large so the cost of the herbs will be negligible. We can always substitute Xi Yang Shen (American ginseng; see note below), Dang Shen (codonopsis root), Tai Zi Shen (Radix Pseudostellariae), of Hong Jing Tian (Herba Rhodiolae Roseae) as very good substitutes.

According to the principles of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), this soup has three main functions:
  1. Supplements Yuan (source) qi. Ginseng strongly supplements primordial qi. It should be avoided in large amounts or for long periods by people with vacuity or replete heat patterns that can manifest as elevated heart rate, high blood pressure, certain types of headaches, etc. Talk with us if you have questions.

  2. Supplements spleen qi and harmonizes the stomach. (In TCM, the terms spleen and stomach pertain less to the actual organs and more to the functions by which the body digests foods and beverage, the by-products of which are then used by the body to support all other body functions.)

  3. Supplements lung qi and strengthens the wei (defensive) qi.
The term “qi” is a broad term use to describe the motive functions of the body (transformation, raising, holding/retaining, warmth, and protection/immunity).

  • 1 whole chicken

  •  20 g (0.71 oz) ginseng (red) or American ginseng. American ginseng is safer for long-term use. It is more specific to the health of the lungs, but it also supports the TCM heart and kidney functions.

  • 20 pieces jujube (Chinese red date)

  • 30 g (1.1 oz) lycium

  • salt, to taste
  • Remove giblets from cavity of chicken. Wash the chicken thoroughly.
  • Place 10g ginseng, 10 pieces jujube, and 10g lycium inside the chicken.
  • Place the chicken (breast-side up) in a stock pot.
  • Add 1000cc of water, 10g ginseng, 10 pieces jujube and 20g lycium to the stock pot.
  • Cover the lid and bring to a boil, then reduce to medium heat.
  • Simmer for 30 minutes or until chicken softens. Season with salt to taste. Serve.
Other healthful additions to this soup include onions, garlic, carrots, basil, cilantro, scallions, and parsnips. Experiment!

Call us (952-767-4910) if you wish to purchase any of the herbs recommended for this healthful recipe.

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