Si Shen Soup Benefits In TCM

Top left (Chinese yam), Top right (Poria), Bottom left (Lotus seed). Bottom right (Gordon enryale seeds).

In this post, I want to share with you a soup that is suitable for almost everyone to drink (and with great benefits)!

This soup is called Si Shen soup (四神汤). The biggest benefits of this soup are that it can help to calm the mind (to improve sleep quality) and strengthen the spleen and digestion. 

Let us take a look at each of the ingredients. 

1. Poria (茯苓)

Poria’s thermal nature is neutral. It benefits the spleen, heart (mind), lungs and kidney.

The main benefit of Poria is that it can remove the dampness inside a person’s spleen and hence, improve the digestion and absorption of food’s nutritions. 

2. Chinese Yam (山药)

Chinese yam’s thermal nature is neutral. It benefits the spleen, lungs and kidney.

Its main benefit is that it can strengthen the spleen and lungs. It can also protect the kidney.

It can be hard to differentiate Poria and Chinese yam if you buy a packet Si Shen ingredients. After cooking, Poria is harder to chew compared to Chinese yam. I will share more about the soup in the later part of this post.

3. Lotus Seed (莲子)

Lotus seed’s thermal nature is neutral and it benefits the spleen, heart (mind) and kidney.

You can read more about Lotus seed and its benefits in my previous blog post here.

4. Gordon enryale seed (芡实)

Gordon enryale seed is neutral in thermal nature and it benefits the spleen and kidney.

Not many people know what is Gordon enryale seed but I want to mention that it is also a type of grains and it has very good properties in retaining fluids in our body. Thus, it is highly recommended for people with excessive sweating and frequent urination (especially at the night).

The powerful combination of ingredients

The reason why Si Shen soup is so popular is because the four ingredients come together and maxmize the effectiveness of helping the person to calm his/her mind to improve sleep quality (and relief insomnia).

If you have noticed, you will find that all four ingredients have the properties of strengthening the spleen. Thus, Si Shen soup is very good in strengthening a person’s spleen and improving digestion and absorption of nutrition in the food. 

All the ingredients are also neutral in their thermal nature so it is highly suitable to most people’s body constitution. 

But if you are experiencing constipation, then you may want to limit the intake of Si Shen soup for the time being.

How to cook Si Shen soup

Most people cook Si Shen soup with chicken meat or spare ribs (pork). You can do this as well if you like it.

Else, if you are a vegetarian, you can add in lion’s mane mushroom or king abalone mushroom for more fillings. 

Here are the ingredients (1 to 2 pax). If you have purchased those Si Shen soup packets (pre-packed), you can just use the dosage as indicated on the packaging:

  1. Water
  2. Poria (15 to 30g)
  3. Chinese yam (30 to 60g)
  4. Lotus seed (10 to 15g)
  5. Gordon enryale seed (10 to 20g)
  6. Lion’s mane mushroom and king abalone mushrooms (150g to 300g each, optional)
  7. Chicken meat or spare ribs (500g, optional)

The following are the steps for cooking vegetarian Si Shen soup:

  1. Wash and rinse the four ingredients.
  2. Soak all the four ingredients in water for about one hour (this is to boost the effectiveness and release of the ingredients’ benefits into the soup later on).
  3. Pour the soaked water and all four ingredients into the pot. You also need to add more water so that it is enough for 2 pax etc. You can also add in the mushrooms during this step.
  4. Once the soup starts to boil, bring the heat down to the smallest so that it simmers for another 40 to 60min. 
  5. There you have it! You will have a nutrition soup that benefits your mind and body =)

The following are the steps for cooking Si Shen soup with meat:

  1. Wash and rinse the four ingredients.
  2. Soak all the four ingredients in water for about one hour (this is to boost the effectiveness and release of the ingredients’ benefits into the soup later on).
  3. Pour the soaked water and all four ingredients into the pot. You also need to add more water so that it is enough for 2 pax etc. Bring the pot to boil.
  4. Using another pot, put in the raw chicken or spare ribs meat, put in water (tap water) enough to cover the meat. Then cook it under strong heat to bring it to boil. Do not cover the pot with lid because it will overflow easily. Once it starts to boil (or starting to boil), you will see stuff floating around (refer to the following picture to see what I mean), make sure you remove all these stuff so that the soup later on will be clearer and healthier. Let the meat boil for a total of around 3 min or when you see there are significantly lesser of those floating stuff.
  5. Now you can transfer the meat over to the soup which should be boiling now.
  6. Once the soup (with the meat) starts to boil, turn the heat down to the smallest and let it simmers for another 40 to 60min.
  7. That’s all! It is good to serve now!
Make sure to remove these stuff when boiling the meat before adding it to the soup.
Make sure to remove this stuff when boiling the meat before adding it to the soup.

Why does some Si Shen soup contain Chinese barley?

If you buy those pre-packed Si Shen soup ingredients pack, you may notice that some vendors will include Chinese barley.

Chinese barley has a cooling effect (and it can help to remove water retention in the body) and is generally fine to add along with Si Shen soup. But do note that Chinese barley is not suitable for women who are pregnant. 

Hope you find this post useful!

Feel free to message me if you have any questions!

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