A Soup Every Other Day Keeps the Doctor Away

March 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted the way in which we live and work. With more free time spending at home and intrigued by thoughts of boosting immunity against COVID, Channel 823 invited Steven Ng, a registered Chinese medicine practitioner at Athena Dispensary in Po Lam Shopping Centre, to share two healing soup recipes that can enhance immune system and provide three more tips of keeping doctor away.

Arrowroot with Rice Beans Soup

“Prevention is always better than cure”, as the saying goes. As Hong Kong is in the midst of its worst COVID-19 wave to date, practicing proper hygiene and strengthening immune system can protect ourselves from infections. From the perspective of Chinese medicine, Steven said that COVID is a type of seasonal febrile disease. As people are usually susceptible to spleen dampness and lung discomfort, especially during spring, he recommends to have arrowroot with rice beans soup to strengthen our spleens and lungs, and enhance immunity. He explains that arrowroot could clear heat and resolve toxin, and relieve bone pain and dampness all over the body; rice beans and lentils could eliminate dampness and strengthen the spleen. Straight ladybell root (shashen) can clear heat and enrich yin. Fragrant Landpick (yuzhu) and Lilii Bulbus (baihe) can moisten and invigorate the lungs respectively, while whelk head can nourish yin and enhance flavour.

Rice beans can remove dampness, strengthen the spleen, and enhance immunity.

Ingredients

Arrowroot – 1 catty

Lean meat – 1 catty

Rice beans – 1 tael

Lentils – 1 tael

Straight ladybell root (shashen) – 1 tael

Fragrant landpick (yuzhu) – 1 tael

Lilii Bulbus (baihe) – 1 tael

Whelk head – 1 tael

Tangerine peel (chenpi) – 1 piece

Candied dates – 3 pieces

Water – 12 bowls

Recipe

  1. Blanch the lean meat, wash and soak the rest of the ingredients for later use.
  2. Peel arrowroot and cut it into thick pieces.
  3. Place all ingredients in a soup pot, fill with 12 bowls of water and simmer over high heat for two hours. Season and it's done!
Ingredients for arrowroot with rice beans soup

Purple Jasmine Root and Smilax Glabra Soup

For those who are recovering from an illness, Steven recommends purple jasmine root and smilax glabra (tufuling) soup, which helps resolve toxins from the body and strengthen our spleen and stomach. Both help detoxify, purple jasmine root is the root of the purple jasmine which can clear away heat, while smilax glabra (tufuling) can remove dampness. Lotus seeds are often cooked with Chinese yam rhizome for tonifying kidneys and spleens. This soup can be prepared for toning the body after illness and removing heat.

Ingredients

Purple jasmine root – 1 tael

Smilax glabra (tufuling) – 1 tael

Lean meat – 1 catty

Lotus seeds – 1 tael

Chinese yam rhizome – 1 tael

Codonopsis pilosula (dangshen) – 1 tael

Dried raw barley – 1 tael

Lycopus lucidus turcz (decan)– 1 tael

Whelk head – 1 tael

Tangerine peel – 1 tael

Candied dates – 3 pieces

Water – 12 bowls

Recipe

  1. Blanch the lean meat. Wash and soak the rest of the ingredients for later use.
  2. Place all ingredients in a soup pot, fill with 12 bowls of water and simmer over high heat for two hours, season and serve.
Purple jasmine root and smilax glabra soup help detoxify the body to boost recovery.

The above two soup recipes are mild and suitable for all ages, much enough for three to six people. You may have it daily, but three times a week is recommended. Last but not least, Steven shares three more tips for disease prevention, in the hope that everyone can maintain a healthy lifestyle and stay safe from all kinds of diseases!

Three tips for disease prevention

  1. Keep a balanced diet to improve the body’s immunity and recovery. Drink a glass of soya milk daily as it is rich in protein and can nourish yin and clear heat.
  2. Avoid eating fried and spicy foods, as they increase dryness and heat in the body, making people more susceptible to illness. Steaming and boiling are recommended as they use less oil.
  3. Half an hour of daily aerobic exercise and sweating can improve blood circulation and flush out toxins, protecting us from virus and bacteria.

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