TCM Nutrition | Four Gods Soup Si Shen Tang 四神湯
As you open the lid, hot steam kisses your face carrying the sweet scent of herbs and pork broth that has been simmering in a pot for nearly two hours.
When Hippocrates said "let food be thy medicine" he probably wasn't thinking in regards of Traditional Chinese Medicine. For centuries, hundreds of herbs have been used in Chinese medicine to treat various diseases, address health concerns, and generally just to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Many East Asian cultures have been using a variety of common foods and herbs for their nutritional values and medicinal qualities.
Si Shen Tang or Four Gods Soup is a classic Taiwanese herbal soup. The name 'Four Gods Soup' comes from the four herbs that make up the formula.
It consists of four herbs:
Fu Ling (茯苓)- Poria Mushroom:
powerful antiviral, anti-tumor
calming, decrease stress
helps to remove excess fluids in the body
Huai Shan (淮山) - Chinese Wild Yam
aids digestion and absorption
repairs worn-out tissue
helps alleviate bodily weakness
Lian Zi (蓮子) - White Lotus Seed
anti-aging, helps to repair damaged proteins
calming and nourishing for the heart, spleen, and kidneys
Qian Shi (芡实) - Euryale Seeds
increase vitality & energy
anti-aging, support youthful-looking skin
additional herbs were included:
Yi Ren (薏仁)- Job's Tears
strengthen spleen, help eliminate excess fluid from the body
Dang Gui (當歸) - Radix Angelicae Sinensis
nourishes blood, helps repair damaged cells, decrease pain, regulate menstruation
The Four Gods Soup is a simple, yet flavorful soup that is both nutritious and delicious. It is famous for a variety of health benefits from the herbs and pork bone broth base. Home made bone broth is full of healthy proteins such as collagen to maintain a healthy body.
eases anxiety and stress by supporting the adrenal glands
resolves stress induced digestive dysfunctions by supporting the digestive system
nourishes the spleen
calms the mind
nourishes the lungs
strengthens the kidneys
helps with retaining youth and vitality
eliminates dampness such as phlegm and edema
helps to repair leaky types of illnesses such as IBS/diarrhea
I like the versatility of this dish because it can be hearty enough to eat as a meal, or be served as a light side soup. The cooking wine brings out the aromatic qualities of the herbs giving it an uplifting taste.
2-4 pieces Beef or Pork Bones
4 Pork Ribs
4-5 large pieces broken up Fu Ling (茯苓)- Poria Mushroom
8-9 pieces Huai Shan (淮山) - Chinese Wild Yam
1/4 cup Lian Zi (蓮子) - White Lotus Seed
3 tbsp. Qian Shi (芡实) - Euryale Seeds
1/4 cup Yi Ren (薏仁)- Job's Tears
1 pieceDang Gui (當歸) - Radix Angelicae Sinensis
2 slices of ginger
1 clove of garlic
1/3 cup cooking wine
1 tsp. of salt
add beef bones and pork ribs to a pot and fill it with water. Bring it to a boil, then let it simmer on low heat, skimming off any fat and scum from the surface.
To prep the herbs, wash all of the herbs by rinsing it under running water
-microwave optional- if you want to speed up the cooking, you can microwave the herbs in water for 3 minutes to help cook them faster
While the broth is simmering, soak the herbs for 30 minutes to let them rehydrate and soften up.
Add the herbs to the pot with the pork ribs and beef bones. Bring the pot to a boil, then lower the heat to medium to cook the soup for 1-1.5 hours. Skim off any scum that rises to the surface.
Add cooking wine and salt to flavor the soup