So many people seem to have a hard time with seasonal transitions and find themselves getting sick regularly no matter how hard they try to stay healthy.
There's a traditional TCM soup recipe that works wonders for preventing colds and flus and keeping the immune system strong, particularly during seasonal transitions.
This can be taken as a herbal drink throughout the year if you need a little boost or used daily during the turn or seasons of if you're feeling rundown.
The soup has a slightly bitter taste on it’s own so to improve the taste, you can use it as a base for a hearty chicken soup or bone broth made with a whole organic chicken and shiitake mushrooms, onions, leeks, carrots, yam, daikon radish, beets, turnip, kale or other local harvest vegetables. You can also add it to a bone broth with green onion and fresh ginger to give it a hearty boost!
People who are in the midst of a cold or flu should not drink the soup until after they have recovered opting instead for a cold or flu busting tea.
To make change of season soup, you will need equal parts (2-3 oz each) of the following herbs. Chinese herbal shops sometimes sell the herbs pre-packaged for convenience or try the following suggestions:
You can use equal parts of each herb (eg. 4 sticks of herbs 1,2, and 3, and a handful of goji berries)
Astragalus/Huang Qi – 4 sticks, 15 cm long. This herb is an adaptogen, helping the body to better manage stress. It also stimulates the immune system and it tonifies the body overall.
Codonopsis pilosula (Dang Shen)– 3 sticks, 10 cm long This herb is important in tonifying Qi energy (according to TCM principles). It detoxifies blood. It increases blood and the production of other immunity-important fluids. It is an adoptogen, helping the body to better manage stress
Chinese wild yam (Dioscorea sinensis/Shan Yao) – 2 sticks, 5 cm long.This herb relaxes the smooth muscles along the digestive tract. It is also great for the liver and is anti-inflammatory.
Chinese wolfberries or Goji berries (Lyciium barbarum/Gou Qi Zi) – 3 tbsp.These berries strengthen the liver and the kidneys. They also work to improve the immune system.
1Fill a large stock-pot with water. Add the above herbs to the pot and place the lid on. Bring to a boil and simmer for 4 to 6 hours. If the water level boils down, add water to refill if necessary.
Using a slotted spoon, remove the herbs from the pot and allow the soup to cool. This recipe makes about 4 liters of herbal soup.
To make a more hearty traditional soup
Sauté onions, leek, ginger and garlic on medium heat until soft
Add celery and carrot for a few minutes then add chicken and ample water including the Chinese herbal mix
Bring the water to a boil, cover and simmer for about 1.5 hours or until the chicken is cooked. (If you are making the soup without chicken simmer for only 1 hour).
Remove the Astragalus, Codonopsis and Chinese wild yam from the pot with a slotted spoon then add any other vegetables and spices you enjoy in soup and continue simmering for about 20-30 more