We will be carrying herbal soup packets at BAP for patients to make a tasty, immune strengthening batch of soup. The following recipe combines the benefits of bone broth with Chinese herbs. Many of us have already experienced a cold this fall as the seasons make their shift. Eating this soup periodically can help keep our immune systems strong throughout the winter. The recipe can be used without the herbal packet to make a hearty bone broth.
1 uncooked organic chicken, thawed
2 tsp sea salt
3 slices fresh ginger (sheng jiang), cut ½ inch thick
1 herbal soup packet:
- 3 slices astragalus root (huang qi)
- 5 pieces codonopsis root (dang shen)
- 6 red dates (da zao)
- 5 shiitake mushrooms (xiang gu)
Place the uncooked chicken in a soup pot and cover with water. Put the lid on and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until chicken is fully cooked, about 1.5 hours.
Remove the chicken from the pot (retain the broth) and let the chicken cool until it’s comfortable to touch. Separate meat from the bones, and place all bones and cartilage back in the broth. Set the meat aside for later.
Add the fresh ginger and herbal soup packet to the pot along with the broth and bones. Put the lid on and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 1-2 hours.
Separate the bones and herbs from the liquid (keep the broth!) with a strainer. Discard the bones, astragalus (long, flat, and woody; looks like a tongue depressor), and codonopsis (beige and shriveled; looks like a thin finger), then return the remaining ginger, red dates, and shiitake mushrooms to the broth.
Add additional salt to taste and serve as is or over cooked rice.
ABOUT THE HERBS
Fresh ginger / Sheng jiang:
In its fresh form, ginger is used for external wind-cold conditions. It warms the Lungs and calms coughing, but it also adds to the flavor of the soup! Ginger is also known for its ability to reduce nausea.
Astragalus root / Huang qi:
Huang qi is a staple qi tonic, used in this soup for its ability to tonify wei qi (i.e. immune system/protective barrier) and strengthen the exterior. This herb is often used in conjunction with chemotherapy and radiation for its immune potentiating effects.
Codonopsis root / Dang shen:
Dang shen is used to tonify qi, specifically Lung qi. Since winter colds and flus usually enter through this pathway, it’s especially important to keep the Lung qi strong. Dang shen is special because it’s one of the few qi tonics that can be used when you’re actively fighting a pathogen.
Red dates / Da zao:
Da zao is used to tonify digestive qi, specifically for fatigue, nausea, and low appetite. They add a subtle sweetness to the broth.
Shiitake mushroom / Xiang gu:
Shiitake mushrooms are a common food item, but recent studies have revealed many medicinal benefits. Lentinan, a flavonoid derived from shiitake, has been attributed to a broad spectrum of immunity improvements in clinical trials.
Brittany Griffin is a nationally certified herbalist and New York state licensed acupuncturist with a four-year master’s degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine. She holds a bachelor’s degree from The Pennsylvania State University, where she formed a strong background in human biology and genetics. Brittany has worked as a research assistant in the neurology department at NYU Lutheran Medical Center and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Chinese medicine.
She encourages an integrative approach to healthcare through evidence based medicine and interdisciplinary communication. Her recent interests involve ecological impacts and product quality of herbal medicines. She writes on these themes for the BAP blog seasonally.