Ancient traditional Chinese medical practitioners were paid to keep clients well instead of helping them get better once they were ill. To them, it didn’t make sense to begin digging a well when you are already thirsty or foraging for weapons after engaging in battle.
This traditional Chinese medicine soup is used to strengthen and cleanse the body and build immune defences to prevent illnesses as the seasons change – a time when many of us are particularly susceptible to colds & flu’s. This soup is meant to improve your immune system for the coming winter months, not to remedy a current cold. Those who have a cold should wait until the cold has passed to utilize these immune boosting herbs.
The herbs for Change of Season Soup can be purchased individually or pre-packaged together at traditional Chinese medicine stores, herbal dispensaries and some health food stores.
Astragalus membranosus (Huang Qi) - 4 sticks, 15cm long each
A root that supports and balances the immune system and improves energy and resilience to life's stressors. It also has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.
Codonopsis pilosula (Dang Shen) - 4 sticks, 10cm long each
A root that helps strengthen Qi energy, improves immune defences and nourishes the body.
Discorea opposita (Chinese wild Yam)
Anti-inflammatory, soothes digestion. Strengthens the lungs and kidneys.
Lyciium barbarum (Goji berries) - 3 tbsp
Goji berries help to strengthen the liver and the kidneys. Anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, nutritive (high in calcium and vitamin C).
This soup can be made with the above ingredients alone, simmered for 2-4 hours in a covered pot with 4-6L of water. This can also be used as a base for a nutritious bone or vegetable soup by adding the following optional ingredients:
- 1 whole chicken carcass or beef bones
- 2 whole cloves of garlic (5-10 for some serious anti-microbial activity)
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 thumb sized piece of ginger
- Your choice of fresh fall produce: carrots, celery, mushrooms, squash, beets, swiss chard, kale, beet greens, etc...
- salt and/or bouillon as desired
Place herbs in a tea sock or cheesecloth bag for easy removal otherwise they can be strained out. If herbs are left in they tend to sink to the bottom and can be mostly avoided while scooping the soup out. Add all ingredients (except leafy greens) to a large soup pot. Cover with 4-6 L of water, bring to a boil and simmer covered for 2-4 hours until chicken and vegetables are well cooked. Remove herbs and bones, add leafy greens, and continue cooking until greens are wilted. Serve.
Drink 1 cup or bowl every day for 2 weeks. This soup is also safe for children but the amount needs to be adjusted for weight.