Chinese black chicken herbal soup falls into the realm of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). While there are literally countless variation of this traditional soup that has been consumed for millenniums, the base ingredients always consist of black chicken meat, ginseng, wolfberry fruit (aka goji berry) and Chinese red dates. Additional Chinese medicinal herbs are added based on desired health effect. In addition to the base ingredients, the version of this soup I’ve grown up eating consists of astragalus roots, pilose asiabell roots and Chinese yams. So what exactly are the health benefits of these roots?
Astragalus root is a staple item in traditional Chinese medicine, found in any Asian supermarket. Its main use is to boost the immune system. Pilose asiabell roots, aka Dangshen, is commonly consumed to combat fatigue and provide a boost of energy. Chinese yams is said to boost the vital functions of the lungs, kidneys and spleen. Goji berries induces a calming effect and increases the quality of sleep and even weight loss. I personally do not subscribe to claims of traditional Chinese medicine. Chinese black chicken herbal soup makes a great winter dish and if there are any truth to the medicinal claims, consider that as an added benefit!
To re-cap, there are countless variation of this soup in terms of the herbal ingredients. For our version, we include the following herbs. They can be found in any Asian supermarket. All you need is a 3 oz. herb mix package for this recipe, or equal parts for each medicinal herb.
- Astragalus root
- Pilose asiabell root (aka Dangshen)
- Chinese yam
- Wolfberry fruit (aka goji berry)
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Other popular ingredients that are traditionally added to the soup are rehydrated shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated scallops and water chestnuts.