Many people like chicken soup because it is so delicious. In addition to great taste, chicken soup can replenish vitality. Adding a variety of ingredients to chicken soup will achieve different therapeutic effects.
Following are four chicken soup recipes to bring yummy flavor to your family, help combat gray hair, and nourish your qi and blood.
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has found that the human body has a “meridian” system, which is responsible for transporting “qi” and blood to all parts of the body. They are the basic substances that constitute the human body and maintain its physiological activities.
Qi is the “energy” or “vitality” that constitutes life within the body, and TCM generally refers to the substance that replenishes nutrients in the body as blood. Qi and blood circulate to maintain the balance and stability of various tissues and organs. When there is an imbalance or deficiency of qi and/or blood in the body, disease or other conditions may prevail.
In the Korean drama “Dae Jang Geum,” based on the true story of Jang Geum, the first female royal physician of the Joseon Dynasty, when Jang Geum prepares food for the king, she will first tell him how good the food is for which part of the body. For example, she will say this one can cure foot disease, this one can make people look beautiful, that one can darken the hair, and so on. If we do the same and treat all family members like royal dignitaries, all of them—including the elders—will have a very heart-warming feeling.
Chicken Soup to Nourish Qi and Blood, Combat Gray Hair
1. Polygonum Multiflorum (He Shou Wu) With Silky Fowl (Black-bone Chicken) Soup: Nourish the Kidneys and Reverse Gray Hair
Ingredients: silky fowl (black-bone chicken), Polygonum multiflorum, red dates.
Silky fowl cures deficiency and fatigue due to overwork. When one has been weak for a long time, or after a serious illness, one may experience sweating at night, asthma, heart palpitations, weak stomach, and symptoms of always feeling sleepy and not wanting to get up. Eating silky fowl can improve these symptoms.
Polygonum multiflorum can invigorate the kidney and reverse the graying of hair. This soup is particularly helpful for juveniles with white hair appearing at a young age, or those who have gray hair due to aging.
This soup also nourishes the yin and blood, invigorates vitality, and is good for all ages within the whole family.
Please note—Polygonum multiflorum is prone to chemical reactions with metals such as iron and copper. So, while preparing this chicken soup, make sure it is done in a ceramic casserole and using a wooden spoon.
2. Chicken Soup With Astragalus, Jujube, and Goji Berry: Nourishes Blood and Qi
Ingredients: chicken, astragalus, red dates, black dates, wolfberry (goji berries), Angelica sinensis, Chuanxiong rhizome, Ramulus cinnamon.
This chicken soup recipe is delicious and has the effect of nourishing qi. People with qi deficiency, such as those who are prone to colds, lack of energy, or have cold hands and feet, can benefit from eating astragalus, jujube, and wolfberry chicken soup. Moreover, astragalus and Angelica sinensis together are effective in nourishing the blood.
For vegetarians, chicken can be replaced with Hericium erinaceus, Pleurotus eryngii, or vegetarian chicken and bean curds (tofu).
3. Ginseng Chicken Soup: Invigorate Qi and Relieve Fatigue
Ingredients: chicken, ginseng, red dates, ginger.
Ginseng chicken soup can invigorate qi. Hard workers often find themselves completely exhausted physically, with little energy after a full day’s work. This can result in a bad mood and temper and may affect others in the household. One bowl of ginseng chicken soup will soothe the symptoms and bring peace.
4. Sijunzi Chicken Soup: Improve Immunity
Ingredients: chicken, ginseng, Atractylodes macrocephala, Poria cocos, licorice, ginger, red dates.
Sijunzi (often referred to as “the four gentlemen”) are the four herbs of ginseng, Atractylodes macrocephala, Poria cocos, and licorice. This medicinal recipe is tonic in nature and can replenish qi. The effects are mild, yet effective (gentlemanly). Drinking it regularly can improve immunity and prevent diseases such as flu.
Massage 2 Acupoints to Eliminate Flatulence, Promote Bowel Movements
1. Neiguan Acupoint
Efficacy: Improve bloating caused by eating too much.
People often overeat—and not always healthily. Foods that are high in oil and calories are not easy to digest. Overconsuming sweets can stimulate the secretion of gastric acid, making people feel uncomfortable, and may cause flatulence and constipation.
One way to help the condition is to massage the Neiguan acupoint. Neiguan is located three finger widths below the horizontal crease of the wrist, between the two tendons. The feeling of a bloated and uncomfortable stomach is called hypocardia in TCM, and Neiguan is the prime location for daily health care. During clinical practice, I often ask my patients to press the Neiguan acupoint lightly, and they will feel comfortable soon. But beware, if you press it for too long, it can cause vomiting.
In addition, pressing the Zusanli acupoint is good for warming the stomach.
2. Hegu acupoint
Efficacy: Help relieve gas and constipation.
Hegu is at the purlicue, the area between the thumb and index finger/forefinger. It is the point of the large intestine meridian, which can help to relieve gas and constipation.
As the gastrointestinal peristalsis of the elderly is very slow, press 20 times on the left and the right sides.
*Some herbs mentioned in this article may be unfamiliar, but they are generally available in Asian supermarkets.
Note: Because different people have different physiques, it is recommended to consult your doctor or TCM experts.