Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Chinese Herbal Chicken Soup

Chinese Herbal Chicken Soup

        One of the most common ways to use tonic herbs in China is cooking them in a soup with chicken and vegetables. This is because chicken is thought to bring out the Chi tonifying and blood nourishing aspects of the herbs. Generally speaking, tonic herbs have a pleasant taste which does not adversely affect the flavorful aspects of mealtime soups.


Huang Qi                  Astragalus
Hei Mu Er                Black fungus
Dang Shen                Codonopsis
Shan Yao                   Dioscorea
Kun Bu                      Kelp
Long Yan Rou          Longan
Lian Zi                      Lotus seed
Gou Qi Zi                 Lycium fruit
Yu Zhu                      Polygonatum
Hai Zao                    Seaweed         

Xiang Gu                  Shitake mushroom

        The herbs astragalus, codonopsis, and dioscorea are classified by Chinese herbalists as chi tonics. They are reputed to benefit digestion, aid the absorption of nutrients, and enhance energy. The two dried fruits, lycium and longan, are classified as blood tonics. They are reputed to treat anemia, reduce fidgeting, and benefit sleep. Black fungus and seaweed add a satisfying texture to the soup. Polygonatum is traditionally classified as a yin tonic, which restores moisture. Lotus seed is a mild sedative useful to relieve hyperactivity; it is rich in proteins.
        For individuals recovering from serious illness or other debilitating experience, the soup can be taken daily for about one week to restore strength. Others may wish to enjoy this dish about once a week for a great energy boost.

        To make the soup, place 1 to 2 pounds of chicken with skin removed in a medium-sized pot and add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and remove any residue which floats to the top. Add the whole package of herbs, two cloves of crushed or grated garlic, two thin slices of fresh ginger, and a teaspoon of salt. Bring to a slow boil, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes.
        Add sliced fresh vegetables, such as carrots, cabbage, and celery at this time, and simmer for an additional 5 minutes to soften them. Then add 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, and 1 tablespoon of wine (optional). Remove from heat. All the herb materials are edible except astragalus (the long, flat herb), which is too too fibrous and should be removed before serving.

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Welcome to our new blog!

          We're excited to be growing and going through some big changes. We've recently launched our new website (which you can view here). It's really fun when you have a dream and you finally make that dream come true. This blog has been something that we've wanted to do for quite some time- so here we are! We thought we would use this blog to keep you informed of what we're doing and what we're excited about, and also just to share with you ideas and tips for staying fit and healthy.
          Here at the Green Lake Healing Center, we are the home to the practice of Paul and Lisa Olko. You can read more about us in our bios. We serve the community through several natural healing modalities. Paul's work focuses around Traditional Chinese Medicine, Naturopathy, Herbal Medicine, Natural Healthcare Consultations, and Tui Na (traditional Oriental body work). Lisa's work focuses on FirstLine Therapy (a therapeutic lifestyle program, designed to address the underlying cause of many common health problems, and therefore improve health). She works with people who are wanting to maintain a healthy weight and a healthy body through healthy eating and lifestyle, and stress management.
          We have an herbal pharmacy stocked with over 850 herbs in all forms. We service our own patients with customized herbal formulas as well as other practitioners in the area. We have a lot of products (such as linaments, salves, and therapeutic herb formulas) that we make ourselves from scratch from high quality, mostly organic ingredients. We ship daily and we're open 9 am to 5 pm Monday - Friday.
          We're having fun keeping very busy. Just this week, Katalin, one of our herbal assistants, mixed up a fresh batch of Chinese Herbal Chicken Soup Mix, which the next blog post is going to feature.