Kristen Chew, a multi disciplinary healer here at DeHart Studios, has graciously shared one of her families secrets!
This recipe for Ginseng Soup was passed down from my Aunt Ann, and was recently shared with me at her celebration of life luncheon. While not technically my aunt, but my cousin’s po-po (paternal grandmother), Aunt Ann was just like a grandmother to me, as she and my Uncle Mert lived only a short walk from our house growing up. At the luncheon, I was talking with my cousin, an attorney who recently relocated from LA to Arizona. She had just taken the Arizona Bar Exam only 2 days after Aunt Ann's passing, and was anxiously awaiting her results. She mentioned that when she took the California State Bar years ago, po-po had given her a recipe for Ginseng “soup" (really more of a sweet tea) and advised her to drink it instead of coffee to help give her the energy and stamina to study for long hours, yet still sleep well at night, and to help relieve some of her anxiety around studying. Like a good grandchild, she listened, made the soup, and indeed she did pass the California Bar! While studying for the Arizona Bar this year, she decided that again, she had to make po-po’s special ginseng soup. (And in case you are wondering, yes, she did pass once again!)
The recipe includes some common Chinese herbs, including ginseng (ren shen), red dates (hong zao), black dates (da zao), and codonopsis root (dang shen) which is more commonly known as poor man's ginseng. Below is the original recipe as written.
40 red dates
14 black dates
5 codonopsis pilosulae
4 ginseng root
* Note that this recipe makes a large amount, and only 1/4 or 1/2 the recipe is enough to last a few days or even up to a week. I also recommend cutting open both the red and black dates before cooking in order to extract the full therapeutic benefits from the fruit. Store the cooked soup in the refrigerator to keep it fresh as long as possible.
Chen, John K., and Tina T. Chen. Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology. City of Industry, CA: Art of Medicine Press, Inc., 2004.
Having just gotten married this past June to my wonderful husband, I have found that the year long process of planning my dream wedding had left me more stressed out and run down than I had realized, and getting back to feeling like me again was taking longer than anticipated. Just a few weeks ago, I decided to try Aunt Ann’s Ginseng Soup recipe. After all, if it could help my cousin to pass the bar twice, it could certainly help me to recover and regain my energy again. …and in fact, I am drinking the soup at this very moment, and feeling optimistic that I am well on my way to returning to normalcy.
Therapeutic Benefits, Cautions and Contraindications
Hong Zao (red dates) / Da Zao (black dates)
Dang Shen (codonopsis pilosulae, "poor man's ginseng")
Ren Shen (ginseng root)
Kristen Chew is available for acupuncture, bodywork and herbal consultations on Thursday evenings, Fridays and Sunday mornings