Chinese Soups: Ning Shen Soup

I’ve never been a huge fan of traditional Chinese medicine probably because all I remember of it in my childhood was how terrible all those concoctions that my mother made tasted. My other gripe is that I don’t have access to accurate records of what each of these ingredients do and I dislike all those “he said, she said” because if you listen to enough people, they all start to contradict each other after a while. That said, there is one thing I remember from my childhood that pretty much convinces me that I ought to pay a little more attention to traditional Chinese remedies – how effective “watermelon powder” is for mouth ulcers. Until now, I know of no other remedy for mouth ulcers that work that quickly or effectively. So yes, I’ve learned to be open to the potential benefits of traditional Chinese tonics…

According to traditional Chinese beliefs, Ning Shen Soup is supposed to be good for “calming the mind and keeping the heart healthy” so it has now been added to my repertoire of Chinese soups…

Ning Shen soup


  • 2L of water
  • Ning Shen Soup ingredients (see below)
  • 500g chicken or other meat
  • salt to taste

Ning Shen Soup Ingredients:

These are the health benefits that are believed (not necessarily proven!) to be associated with these ingredients.

  • Ziziphus Jujuba Mill – red dates which are believed to have the following health benefits:
    • alleviate stress
    • anti-fungal
    • anti-bacterial
    • anti-ulcer
    • anti-inflammatory
    • cardiotonic
    • antioxidant
    • immunostimulant
    • wound healing properties
    • chronic constipation
    • neonatal jaundice
    • nootropic (brain enhancer for memory, cognitive, intelligence)
    • neuroprotective properties
    • sore throats
  • Dioscorea Batatas Decaisne – Chinese Yam
    • stimulates the stomach and spleen and has a tonic effect on the lungs and kidneys
    • speeds the healing process
    • traditionally prescribed to treat hyperthyroidism, nephritis and diabetes
    • treatment for tiredness, weight loss, poor appetite, poor digestion, chronic diarrhoea, asthma, dry coughs, frequent or uncontrollable urination, diabetes and emotional instability
    • contains diosgenin which has been used to treat a variety of diseases, including asthma and arthritis
  • Polyconattum – Solomon’s Seal
    • used in treatment of diabetes
    • found to be effective in fighting nutritional hyperglycemia
    • used to treat pain, fever, inflammation, allergy, and weakness
    • in traditional Chinese medicine, it is supposed to strengthen various organs and enhance the qi
  • Cirrus Chachiensis – not exactly sure but the closest I could get to was orange peel
  • Bulbus Lilii – Lily Bulb
    • relieve cough
    • dispel phlegm
    • calm heart
    • induce sleep
  • Arillus Longanae – dried logan
    • benefits intelligence
    • stabilizes the Heart
  • Fructus Lycii – goji berry
    • eye health
    • antioxidant
    • neuroprotective


  • Boil water
  • Add in Ning Shen Soup ingredients and bring to the boil
  • Add in meat and simmer until tender
  • Add salt to taste


I have to admit I was somewhat apprehensive about trying it out on the boys but I shouldn’t have been because it was a huge hit with Hercules. Aristotle wasn’t quite as keen but he didn’t mind having it mixed with his rice or eating the chicken.

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