Posted in Winter Health
Prevention is our first line of defence and as we head into the colder months, strengthening our immune system by eating well, staying hydrated, exercising appropriately and getting plenty of rest will all help to support our health and immunity.
This recipe for Chinese herbal soup contains traditional herbs that are cooked into a delicious soup to support recovery and vitality for everyone. These herbs help to support immunity, strengthen Qi and blood, benefit digestion and restore energy.
Huang Qi (Astragalus Root)
Strengthens Qi and supports the Spleen and Lungs, traditionally it strengthens the Wei Qi (our immune Qi) and is said to ‘open the gates of optimism’. Astragalus is also one of only 13 herbs scientifically labelled as ‘adapatogenic’ and able to support your body through times of stress and fatigue.
Dang Shen (Codonopsis Root)
A tonic herb that tonifies Qi, generates blood and fluids, supports the Spleen, Lungs and immune system. It is anti-inflammatory, promotes circulation and is rich is prebiotics such as inulin.
Shan Yao (Dioscorea polystachya - Dried Chinese Yam)
Tonifies the Qi and Yin of the Lungs, Spleen and Kidneys. It aids digestion, strengthens the immune system, reduces blood sugar and support our energy levels.
Gou Qi Zi (Dried Goji Berries)
Strengthens the Yin and Blood of the Liver and Kidneys and tonifies Jing. This herb is high in anti-oxidants, can help reduce blood sugar levels, brighten and support eyesight and improve energy levels.
Long Yan Rou (Arillis Longan - Dragon’s Eye Fruit)
Tonifies the Qi and Blood of the Heart and Spleen. Full of vitamins and helps to promote a calm mind.
Hong Zao (Jujube Dates)
Strengthen the Qi, blood and digestive system, Calm the spirit and central nervous system and rich in vitamins and minerals.
Xiang Gu (Shitake Mushrooms)
Strengthen immunity; they are also adaptogenic and can up-regulate or down-regulate the immune system. Rich in minerals, vitamin D and essential amino-acids, they are anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and contain compounds that reduce cholesterol.
You will need: one packet of herbal soup mix, 1 chicken (preferably organic), a pinch of salt, some fresh ginger (optional) and approx 2-3 litres of water.
Put the chicken (you can chop it into pieces or keep it whole) and all the other ingredients in to a soup pot/slow cooker or large pan on the stove and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour or until the chicken is tender and fully cooked. Remove from the heat and serve with chopped spring onions.
All of the herbs are edible although the roots (Dang Shen and Huang Qi) will taste hard and woody so I remove them before eating.
In my soup mix the roots are cut into small pieces and can be hard to remove. Sometimes I prefer to make a Nourishing Herbal Bone Broth instead.
You will need: one packet of herbal soup mix, 1 chicken carcass, approx 3 litres of water, ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, a pinch of salt and black pepper, extra veg (optional – 2 onions quartered, 4 celery stalks, 1 large carrot, dried seaweed, ginger, thyme or any other herbs you might like).
Add the chopped bones, vegetables, vinegar and soup mix to a slow cooker or large pot. Add enough water to cover everything and leave about 3 inches extra. Bring this to the boil and then simmer for at least 6 hours (I usually cook this overnight) - you may need to add more water. Once cooked, strain all the ingredients and discard them. You will be left with a tasty and nutritious bone broth that you can enjoy straight away.
Top Tip: I like to pour this broth into ice cube bags and keep them in the freezer, then take a couple out and add to all soups and stews over winter for additional flavour and nutrition.
What’s so good about bone broth?
Bone broth is a protein-rich liquid high in collagen and gelatine, both of which support our connective tissue, joints and digestion. The amino acids in bone broth can improve integrity in our small intestine which helps our immune system.
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