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Chinese Traditional Herbs and Black Chicken Recipe

Updated on August 3, 2012

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Black Chicken Soup with Astragalus and Codonopsis Pilosula
Black Chicken Soup with Astragalus and Codonopsis Pilosula | Source

Black Chicken Herbal Soup with Radix Astragali and Codonopsis Pilosula

Both my grandfather and my father studied Chinese medicine from a medical school in China while in their twenties and practiced Chinese medicine for the rest of their lives. Growing up in a house with two Chinese doctors I had learned quite a bit about Chinese herbal medicines and have consumed different Chinese tonic soups containing traditional Chinese herbs.

Black Chicken Herbal Soup with Radix Astragali and Codonopsis Pilosula is one of those tonic soups I have drunk and it is a popular soup among Chinese for replenishing their internal energy and improving any weakened condition of spleen and lung cost by tiredness and stress. If it's your first time to try this soup, it would be wise to use the minimum amount of the Radix Astragali and Codonopsis Pilosulas as stated in the ingredients below. This soup should be taken in moderation. It's not recommended for someone who is sick, pregnant, breast feeding, and/or still in the process of recovering from a surgery. Consult your doctor if you're on medications.

Black Chicken
Black Chicken | Source

Black Chicken - Silkie

Black chicken is also called Silkie. The reason people called it Black chicken is because of its black skin, flesh and bone. Its skin is also super smooth and a lot thinner than the skin of a regular chicken. Its flesh is grayish-black and has its own unique smell and taste but in a good way. A Black chicken contains antioxidants called carnosine which can improve muscles, brain, skin, and heart. There are many different traditional Chinese herbal soups that include black chicken as one of the main ingredients.

Codonopsis Pilosulae and Radix Astragali
Codonopsis Pilosulae and Radix Astragali | Source

Codonopsis Pilosula

Codonopsis Pilosula is also an energy tonic. It mainly helps with spleen, lungs and stomach and improve the immune system. It can also increase blood cell levels and lower blood pressure. It's used after someone has recovered from illness to replenish their chi - internal energy. It also increases red blood cells which is helpful for anemia patients.
Codonopsis Pilosula is more toward the hot side in terms of Chinese medicine. It's mainly for people with a weak immune system and low vitality. If you haven't try it before, it would be wise to sample it first and wait for a day or two to see whether you can tolerate it. Some people might experience dry throat or have a breakout on their skin. If these symptoms occur, you might want to either stop taking it or dilute it with a lot of water.

Codonopsis Pilosulae and Astragali
Codonopsis Pilosulae and Astragali | Source

Radix Astragali

Radix Astragali is called Huang Qi or Bei Qi in Chinese. Astragalus root is used to boost the immune system, renew the vitality and improve metabolism. It's especially helpful if you take it before the cold/flu season. It can increases oxygen levels in the blood and prevents body anoxia, improves heart function, lowers blood pressure, protects the liver, and regulates blood sugar.

You can make Black Chicken Herbal Soup with Radix Astragali and Codonopsis Pilosula by boiling or steaming. The following instruction is for boiling and it's better for people who haven't tried this soup before because it's less condense. You can buy Radix Astragali and Codonopsis Pilosula at Chinese herb stores.

Cook Time

Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 2 hours
Ready in: 2 hours 5 min
Yields: Serves four bowls


  • 1 Black Chicken, Cleaned and chopped in desired sizes
  • 5-10 g Codonopsis Pilosula
  • 10-20 g Radix Astragali
  • 5 quarts Water

Cooking Instructions:

  1. In a medium size pot, add in all the ingredients.
  2. Turn the stove on high and bring the water to a boil. Lower the heat and let it simmer for 2 hours.
  3. Then turn off the heat, use a pair of chopsticks or other utensils to separate the meat from the bone. You'll see the soup will turn a bit creamy. Use deep bowls to hold the soup. There is no need to add any seasonings. The soup is tasty just by itself.
  4. You can chew and suck the juice out the the Astragalus and Codonopsis Pilosulae but don't swallow them all. Even the black chicken is hard to swallow after two hours of cooking. Drink the soup when it's hot.


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    • kittyjj profile imageAUTHOR

      Ann Leung 

      6 years ago from San Jose, California

      Yes Kim. This soup is ok for men.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      is this soup ok for men???

    • kittyjj profile imageAUTHOR

      Ann Leung 

      6 years ago from San Jose, California

      Thank you idigwebsites for reading and commenting.

    • idigwebsites profile image


      6 years ago from United States

      my, my this dish sure looks tasty for me. Thank you for a great hub, ill try to cook this dish , the sooner the better. great hub!

    • kittyjj profile imageAUTHOR

      Ann Leung 

      6 years ago from San Jose, California

      N, you might want to start out with 3-5 pieces for your first try. Then you can adjust it accordingly in the future.

    • profile image

      6 years ago

      Looks interesting, I'm going to make it. I don't have a scale, please advise how many pieces (instead of grams) of each herb to put? Thks

    • kittyjj profile imageAUTHOR

      Ann Leung 

      6 years ago from San Jose, California

      I don't recommend your daughter to take this soup if she is pregnant. But she can try black chicken with red dates soup.

    • Mmargie1966 profile image


      6 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      This hub is so valuable to me...just found out my daughter is pregnant. I'll pass it on to her!

      Thank you, Kitty!

    • kittyjj profile imageAUTHOR

      Ann Leung 

      6 years ago from San Jose, California

      Silkie is tasty and great for making different types of soup. My kids love Silkie and red date soup the most. Thank you Marcy for reading.

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 

      6 years ago from Planet Earth

      This is so interesting! I've heard of Silkie chickens, but not heard much about their food values or what makes them unique. I learned so much from this hub! Thank you for sharing!

    • kittyjj profile imageAUTHOR

      Ann Leung 

      6 years ago from San Jose, California

      Thank you alliemacb for reading and commenting. You can find these ingredients at Chinatown.

    • alliemacb profile image


      6 years ago from Scotland

      Looks good. Not sure where I would buy some of the ingredients, but the ever-reliable internet will help me, I'm sure. I love Chinese flavours and want to try making more authentic dishes. Nice hub.


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