Chinese Herbal Chicken Soup
After writing the hub “Use of Herbal Therapy in Chinese Medicine,” I think it would be befitting to write a recipe hub on how to make a simple herbal chicken soup. The Chinese believes that prevention is better than cure, and what better way to fortify your body against free radicals (well-known for germinating diseases and cancer) and environmental pollutants than to incorporate herbs in cooking. Herbs on their own are not very tasty, unless they’re dried fruits—and Chinese medicine includes a rich variety of fruits to create a balance of taste and ultimately the balance of yin and yang. Very clever, if I may say so myself.
Growing up in Singapore, my mother has a rich arsenal of herbs stashed in cabinets in the kitchen. She believes strongly in Chinese herbs but I was too young and “uninformed” to realize how powerful these herbs lurking in the cabinet can be. Nor was I very appreciative, sad to say, whenever she brewed certain herbs that resulted in a bitter taste that I had to consume it to get rid of certain health conditions. Often times, she would have to bribe, coerce, threaten, intimate (short of beating the c. out of me) to drink that healing potion.
But Chinese herbal chicken soup is easy on the palette, unlike the ones mentioned above. The combination of herbs serves to bring out the flavor of chicken and if you eat with rice, it’s a complete meal in itself. And, now that I’m all grown up and wiser—sooo…good for you.
There are different ways to make herbal chicken soup and different combinations of herbs are used to target different medical needs. However, there are some basic herbs that are generally used to make chicken soup and this is what I have here:
You can buy these ingredients individually or look for them in a ready-mix pack. I suggest the latter as it is much easier.
- Lotus seed
- Black Fungus
- 1 whole chicken, or cut into big hunks—leave bones in (soup tastes better that way)
- 2 crushed cloves of garlic
- 3 to 5 slices of ginger
- 1 tablespoon of soya sauce
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Carrots and celery (optional), cut into chunks.
- Bring 4 to 5 cups of water to a boil
- Put chicken in, together with herbs
- Add garlic, ginger, salt and pepper and once it boils, lower heat and allow to simmer for 50 to 60 minutes.
- Add vegetables 10 minutes before cooking time and season with soya sauce.
- More salt and pepper can be added if desired.
Dish it up in a bowl, garnish with cilantro and enjoy!
While you are enjoying your delicious soup, you may want to know the health benefits of the herbs involved in this soup. Here’s the breakdown.
Root herbs—astragalus, codonopsis and dioscorea
- promote qi (an important concept in Chinese medicine—meaning energy).
- aid digestion, increases absorption of nutrients, and promote cardiovascular health
- enhance energy
Dried fruits—longan and lyceum are classified as blood tonics
- Treat anemia
- Reduce fidgeting or nervous tension
- Aid sleep
- Alleviate dryness and promote blood circulation
- A yin tonic
- Restore moisture to dried membranes (good for the skin)
- Mild tonic
- Alleviates nervousness and irritability
There you have it. Every herb pulls its own weight and when you combine them together, you get one giant health boost. Kinda of neat!
More natural cures by anglnwu:
Health Benefits of Nutmeg: http://healthbitsntips.wordpress.com/2010/10/15/health-benefits-of-nutmeg/
Goji Berries Promote Good Eyesight: http://healthbitsntips.wordpress.com/2009/07/09/anthocyanins-the-secret-to-goji-berries/
Natural Cures for Oral Lichen Planus: http://hubpages.com/hub/Natural-Cures-for-Oral-Lichen-Planus
Colon Cleansing the Natural Way: http://hubpages.com/hub/Colon-Cleansing-the-Natural-Way
Herbal Cures for Osteoarthritis: http://hubpages.com/hub/Natural-Cures-for-Osteoarthritis
Fight gum disease the natural way: http://hubpages.com/hub/Healthy-Gums-Is-Possible
Home Remedies to get rid of acne: http://hubpages.com/hub/Banish-Acne-Angst-With-Simple-Tricks