By Eyton Shalom, M.S., L.Ac, Ayurvedic Medicine Practitioner
They say that the way to the heart is through the stomach and this recipe has it all, including 7 healing herbs that boost immunity, energy, stamina and libido, making this soup a powerful aphrodisiac. Got a special occasion, like Valentine’s Day or an upcoming anniversary? This is your best bet!
This recipe is a medicinal, healing elixir that makes its own chicken bone broth. The healing herbs are wonderful in this broth and if you already have chicken bone broth and just want to sip a healing broth, you can add the herbs and spices and simmer in your broth for 10 to 20 minutes, then sip.
We know from experience, and even scientific studies, that chicken soup is very healing. When Eyton Shalom was recovering from walking pneumonia and swollen lymph nodes while in acupuncture school, this is the recipe that helped him heal.
From a Chinese medicine perspective, Eyton says that any condition with swelling, mucous and phlegm may find this soup extra healing. It’s also helpful for people with a “heat illness,” which in Chinese medicine could include symptoms like fever, chronic infective sinusitis, headaches, chronic skin outbreaks, sweating or anxiety.
The seaweeds, kombu and wakame, are wonderful because they are decongesting, but they are best left out of the recipe if you find you are cold all the time or experiencing weak digestion, diarrhea or chronic fatigue. Seaweeds, full of minerals that support hormone balance, are yet another ingredient for boosting your libido!
While you have to plan ahead to get the healing herbs used in this soup, it’s worth it!
The healing herbs in this soup are also aphrodisiacs:
- Astragalus (Huang Qi) – this adaptogenic herb (which means it helps the body deal with stress) is an immune booster used in Chinese medicine to regain strength, vitality and libido.
- Codonopsis (Dang shen) – sometimes referred to as “poor man’s ginseng,” codonopsis is an adaptogenic herb with some of the same strengthening and energizing effects as ginseng. It’s been used to boost libido, clear mucus in the lungs and for symptoms like headaches, diarrhea, anemia, hemorrhoids, and high blood pressure.
- Dioscorea (Shan Yao) – also referred to as Chinese yam, dioscorea is used in Chinese medicine to restore energy and libido, nourish the blood and clear heat-related illness.
- Schizandra (Wu Wei Zi) – this herb is used in Chinese medicine to create a calm energy, clear the skin, strengthen the liver and balance the nervous system. This herb has long been prized for benefitting your hormone balance, sex drive, and fertility. Learn more about schisandra.
- Lily bulb (Bai He) – this herb helps with chronic cough, clearing the lungs, calming the mind for restful sleep and calming the spirit. Avoid using this if you have diarrhea. This herb is known for supporting women through menopause, relieving hot flashes and vaginal dryness.
- Ophiopogon (Mai Men Dong) – has been used in Chinese medicine to reduce inflammation, protect the body from bacterial infections, relieve constipation and strengthen the stomach. It’s also known as an herb supporting fertility, secretion of milk, and healthy libido.
- Goji Berry – Also called Chinese wolfberry, goji berries have moved into the category of superfood during the raw food movement in the United States for their ability to promote longevity. These antioxidant, vitamin and mineral-rich berries are used in Chinese medicine to support the kidneys, lungs and liver. Goji berries are known as an aphrodisiac for benefits including increasing testosterone (good for men and women!), boosting stamina, and improving mood.
Here’s where you can get all these herbs:
Fat Turtle Herb Company
Some of the herbs can also be purchased as follows:
- You may be able to find astragalus, codonopsis, schizandra and goji berries in your local health food store.
- Mountain Rose Herbs has astragalus, codonopsis, schizandra and goji berries.
- You may be able to find many of these in fresh or dried form in Asian markets.
Preparation Time: 6.5 hours; 30 minutes to prep the food and 4 to 6 hours to simmer.
Serves: 8 to 10 people
- Whole chicken or chicken parts (bone-in legs, thighs, breast with skin on)
- 6 slices fresh astragalus root (or 1 tablespoon dried ground astragalus)
- 7 codonopsis root (about 1 tablespoon ground coconopsis)
- 1 tablespoon dried, ground dioscorea
- 1/4 teaspoon ground schizandra berries
- 2 tablespoons whole goji berries, ground in a spice grinder
- 2 teaspoons dried ground ophiopogon
- 1 two-inch piece of kombu – chunks (cool lungs and transforms hot phlegm, avoid if you are always cold, have weak digestion or are chronically fatigued or weak)
- 1/4 cup dried wakame (see note above about when not to use this seaweed)
- 1 tablespoon dried lily bulbs (or 2 fresh lily bulbs, rinsed, cleaned and petals removed) – avoid this ingredient if you have diarrhea
- 10 whole coriander seeds or 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 fresh pear, chopped into small pieces (this helps nourish the lungs)
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- Fresh ground black pepper to taste
- Optional: rice or quinoa
- If using a whole chicken, cut it into parts. Rinse the chicken and pat it dry.
- Put chicken parts in a large stockpot or crockpot. Add enough water to just cover the chicken.
- Setting your burner to high, bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce to a slow simmer. Simmer for 4 to 6 hours. If you are using a crockpot, set it to high and reduce the heat to medium for a 4 to 6-hour cooking time. Your chicken will be moist and tender.
- Add all other ingredients, except the coriander and fresh pear. If you are using dried lily bulb, wait until the last 45 minutes of cooking to add it in.
- Add coriander and fresh pear in the last 45 minutes of cooking (this is when you’d also add dried lily bulb, if using it instead of fresh).
- Optional: If you want, you can add a cup of uncooked rice or quinoa (we recommend soaking it first; see instructions at the beginning of Chapter 9) in the last hour of cooking and just keep adding water, if you need more. The grains will soak up the liquid and make a porridge-like consistency.
- Add sea salt and pepper to taste.
Enjoy as is or drink the liquid only and save the chicken for another meal, if you just want the healing broth.
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