Alternative Medicine

Health - Alternative Medicine
By: - at June 17, 2013

Chicken Soup with Goji Berries: Perfect for the Common Cold

There's no cure for the common cold but that doesn't stop us from splashing more than seven hundred million dollars a year on cold and flu remedies. Eating fruit and specifically consuming goji berries is a great way to boost your body's defenses. Surprisingly, they have been spotted in Britain growing naturally along the south coast. I will discuss the healing and nutritional qualities of goji berries and outline why they have come to be known as a superfood. 

Dried Goji Berries (Also Referred to as Wolf Berries):
Dried Goji Berries

The Power Of Goji Berries
The first clue of finding goji berries is looking for bright purple flowers almost like passion flowers. These purple flowers after a couple of weeks then turn into bright, red berries. You would never expect this fruit to grow in the UK naturally or the U.S. Goji is probably one of the trendiest and subsequently most overpriced fruit you can get, so it is amusing that this fruit can actually grow naturally in geographical locations that have directly contributed to the berry's popularity.

Lycium barbarum (Goji Berries or Wolfberries) Flower:
Lycium barbarum (Goji Berry) Flower
By Pancrat via Wikimedia Commons

Goji berries have been used in Chinese traditional medicine for two thousand years. All over Asia there are many fantastically colourful names for this berry. Some of these entertaining nicknames for the berry are: ‘The drive away old age berry’, ‘The happy berry’, and the ‘Miracle berry’ with the root of the nicknames hinting at the medicinal properties that the Chinese believe it has. I wouldn't advise picking them in the wild, as they can be easily confused with toxic berries. There is good news if you wish to find the healthiest and purest source as these berries can be grown from home. Just be sure to buy a plant that is at least a year old to survive the winter, and go to a reputable supplier to avoid diseased imports or scams.

You can plant your goji plant at any sunny location and it will grow away more than happily with minimum care and attention. All you need is a planting spot which could even be on a balcony or even a decent size window ledge planting box. Still, give your plants a good amount of water and make sure they get enough sun no matter which spot you decide to plant them at. Year after year they will produce fluorescent orange red berries if cared for appropriately.

Goji Berries - Lycium barbarum:
Goji Berries - Lycium barbarum

Feeling That Cold
When you are coming down with a cold or flu, goji berries are great dietary supplements to get you through as they are full of nutrients to help support your immune system. I am adding them to a recipe that always makes me feel better when I am under the weather. I am making a traditional Chinese chicken soup that is believed to boost your immune system as one of my favorite recipes. I am using dried goji berries in this recipe. They are great alternatives to fresh berries as they are available all year round from health food shops or Chinese supermarkets.

They work in savoury dishes and in Asia they are reserved for the most savoury dishes. Try them in a savoury dish like chicken soup and I assure you this chicken noodle soup recipe calling for goji berries will not disappoint you. Just pour cold water to rehydrate them and leave them to one side prior to any cooking preparations.

Goji Berry Chicken Soup:
Goji Berry Chicken Soup

A Very Special Soup
This soup not only tastes great but is packed full of ingredients that could help you fight off the first signs of a cold. For this soup you will need two onions that are antiseptic, four inches of ginger which contains chemicals that could reduce inflammation, and two chilies which can help to thin mucus build-ups. You could use chilies that are spicy as you like to help combat mucus. It's basically about making it as strong as you can without ruining the flavor of the soup.

I am also going to add one of my favorite ingredients which are Shiitake mushrooms and to this recipe we will add twelve. I use these whenever I get the excuse to because not only are they my favorite ingredients in terms of taste, but they are used in Asia in loads of traditional medicine. They are particularly used as a tonic for when people start to get older and also commonly used in Asian countries when you have a cough, cold, flu and that sort of thing.

Shiitake mushroom:
Shiitake mushroom

Adding It All Together
The great thing about Asian soup is that the recipes are really laid back - none of this sweating of onions or reducing anything like in most soups. It’s all about putting everything together in a pan and boiling it away. I am adding about three chicken thighs, five stock cubes and two litres of boiling water. Put it on the heat and bring it up to a boil. In Asia the most common way of taking medicine is actually by consuming soup. People won’t just take these when they are feeling ill, but will actually use them as preventative medicine.

Let the soup boil for an hour, and in an hour and a half on low simmer till the chicken starts falling off the bone; the ingredients should begin to be appearing to be really well cooked. Once the soup is ready, turn off the heat and add the star ingredient: goji berry. These goji berries contain chemicals which studies suggest could help support your immune system. Take off the heat and add ten cloves of finely chopped garlic, and finally flake the chicken off the bone.

Chicken Soup with Goji Berries

Hot chicken soup is one of those things that we just instinctively crave when we have got a cold or flu. And whether or not the chicken itself has any medicinal benefit, the jury is a little bit out on this, but the placebo effect is something you can’t ignore. And if you really feel that it's doing you good, it probably is. Finally add a bit of ginger and chilly on the top just as a last little bit of flavor to give you kick of spice. Remember the more chilies you use the more likely your mucus membranes will get cleaned out. It's all about adding just as much as you can handle for your stomach or just enough so as to not ruin the dish.

Goji Berries:
Bowl of Goji Berries

So there you have it, chicken soup topped with goji berry goodness.





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