How to Use TCM Herbs for Nourishing Soups

Why this resource is helpful:

Enjoy warm nourishing soups loaded with hearty Traditional Chinese Medicinal (TCM) herbs to transition into the restful yin seasons of autumn and winter
Quoted From:

"As the days shorten, plants send their energy to their roots and go to seed, while deciduous trees shed their leaves. We cozy up in warmer clothes, stack firewood, and start storing up our food and energy reserves for the winter. In autumn, we transition from the more active yang seasons of spring and summer into the more restful yin seasons of autumn and winter. We too send our energies underground, sleeping and eating more, and moving and doing less. In autumn, we bundle, store, and prepare for the more fallow winter season ahead, when the world rests.

Soup is perfect for welcoming autumn! Enjoy warm nourishing soups medicinally loaded with a hearty Chinese herbal base. Slow-cook over the stovetop or in a crockpot with your favorite proteins and veggies. Here are some of my favorite Chinese medicinals to enrich nourishing stews.

Astragalus root with autumn leaves.

Astragalus is included in traditional Chinese medicine formulas to tonify the Qi and Blood, boost energy, strengthen immunity*, and nourish internal resilience to withstand unwanted environmental factors. Throw 6-12 astragalus root slices into your stews, allowing them to simmer and decoct for at least 30 minutes. Remove astragalus before serving, and enjoy the slightly sweet, gently warming, and lightly moistening broth with a dash of fresh ginger, some mushroom slices, and your protein of choice.

Native to China, Mongolia, and North Korea, astragalus grows in grassy environments and mountainsides with abundant sun exposure and dry sandy soil with good drainage. Astragalus is an herbaceous perennial, growing between 25 and 40 centimeters in height, with small yellow pea-family flowers that bees and other pollinators adore. When grown for cultivation, the plants are traditionally harvested after four or five years, with the roots collected in spring or fall. The roots are dried in the sun and then sliced for distribution. The slices are light yellow with a firm, fibrous texture.

If you"re already ill or are taking immunosuppressant medications, then check with your healthcare practitioner first before working with astragalus.

Dried shiitake mushrooms in a pot of water.

With its delicate umami flavor, meat-like texture, and malleability, shiitake is a staple in our vegan Taiwanese-American household. Alongside ginger, soy sauce, and sesame oil, we stir-fry, soup, sauce, and enjoy shiitake in a variety of ways. Keep a jar of easily accessible dried shiitake in your kitchen cabinet. Rehydrate for 10 minutes, then either slice thinly for stir-fries or add whole into soups. Fresh shiitake is delicious too and is available at some groceries, or as a joyous addition to forest-style gardens.

A balancing and nourishing adaptogen, shiitake is native to warm and moist parts of Southeast Asia, growing in clumps on the decaying wood of deciduous trees. Shiitake has a dark cap that dries into black, and an earthy aroma. Rich in vitamins, polysaccharides, and protein, shiitakes are delicious thinly sliced in miso soup, cooked at length in nourishing broths, and tossed into stir-fries."

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