Tag Archives: chinese herbs

Soup essentials


A quick peek at some Chinese herbs that I had in the fridge. Stocks were definitely running low, with some herbs ‘out of stocks’ at the moment.

On figuring out which Chinese herbs to buy and use, the trick was to buy those herbal soup combination mix. They would list all the Chinese herbs used in 六味汤, 十全大补汤 and more. The herbs used in most combination packs were lackluster. If you could figure out what herbs to use in the soups, it would be cheaper to buy the better grade herbs separately for storage. The good thing about getting acquainted with the Chinese herbs were that you could probably use them in many ways such as porridge, steaming etc.

Buy the herbs from retail stores like Hock Hua if you were new to this. Should you become more professional at shopping for herbs, it would be cheaper to buy at some of the dried goods stores at Albert Centre.

Healthy children, happier days

There was a direct correlation between both factors. Having both children illness-free meant that we could spend our weekends out and about, and hence, lesser time to prepare scheduled blog posts.

Both Z and X generally enjoyed good health, especially more so for Z.  X was still very robust compared to average but Z was way more robust.  Furthermore, Z loved herbal tonic soups and supplements. I hoped X would adopt his brother’s appreciation for such tonics.  X definitely shared the same preference for junk food as he attempted to snatch Z’s gummies with such a firm and decisive grip a few days ago.

I had never been a firm believer of Chinese tonics till my first pregnancy.  I developed such strong immunity back then that I did not fall sick for a record period of 18 months.  During the second pregnancy, I took my health for granted and skipped for the last trimester, I fell sick.

It was not like we did not take supplements or balanced diets.  These Chinese herbs were so effective.  I started off being a total noob but there were 3 types of must-know Chinese herbs to save our lives literally.  To me, prevention was always better than cure.  Good health always meant as easier parenting time.

‘Yang Shen’ – this had cooling properties and was great for days when you felt an onset of fever/sore throat coming up.  We always bring this out for travelling.  How on earth do you think we could hop off for long, winter holidays with Z?  It was not that Z would not fall sick but we minimized the down time.  I also had other tricks like packing our own water but that would be another blog post altogether.
How to use: Wash and put a few slices into a glass, add very hot water (cannot use boiling as it would kill off some properties and if it was not hot enough, it could not draw the flavour).  Drink when the water had cooled and repeat the process till the herb had become tasteless.  The last step was more for maximizing the investment, else it was quite wasteful!

‘Pao Sheng’ (American ginseng) – this was for boosting immunity and honestly worked better than all western supplements put together.
How to use: Same as yang shen.

‘Dan shen’ – I usually confused this with pao sheng but if I did not remember wrongly, this was to combat fatigue.  I reckoned this as pretty true because when I used to take this every alternate day during my first pregnancy, I could stay up till 1am to do my post-graduate assignments.
How to use: You would have to boil this for 15min, ideally with dried longans and red dates.  The additional ingredients were to boost the taste and provided some additional functions.

The massive world of Chinese herbs was probably too much for an average person to understand but the above 3 worked like miracles in the arena of prevention.  In my 1st pregnancy, I alternated between ‘pao sheng’ and ‘dang shen’ daily.  Post pregnancy, it was supposed to be on a weekly basis.  Well, penning this down was a good reminder to get the groove started.  In terms of concentration, it was up to our own personal preferences.  For young children, it would be best to dilute.  On exact details, do consult your nearest medicinal hall such as Hock Hua, ZTP, Eu Yan Sang…

When I first started buying these Chinese herbs, I had been overwhelmed.  Over time, I learnt what cordyceps, dried huai shan, yu zhu, gan cao, bei qi, bei xin etc were.  While I used them every once in a while, the above 3 ‘shengs’ were any mom’s best bets.