In our family, food is our medicine. When the weather gets cooler, the teapot and soup pot stay on the stove. When a family member begins to feel like they are getting sick, we eat our medicinal herbs for dinner.
Cooking with medicinal herbs is an excellent way to get “non-compliant patients” to take their herbal medicine. They don’t even know it’s in there; they think they’re just eating dinner!
Astragalus, which can be purchased at your local health food store, is categorized as an adaptogen and an immunomodulator. Astragalus has a very long list of impressive qualities that include antioxidant, cardiotonic, diuretic, hypotensive, immunostimulant, and tonic properties. It is effective at preventing infections and restoring the body after an illness.
Astragalus has no serious side effects and is considered safe at recommended doses. However, it is not recommended during the acute stage of an illness or during a fever, and it can interact with other medications and herbs. Long-term use of astragalus is generally limited to one dose daily for one month. If you or your child are being treated with immune-suppressing medications, you should not take astragalus.
Let me share with you one of my favorite medicinal soups. It is delicious, nutritious, and incredibly easy to make.
Maria's Astragalus Soup
- Astragalus Root
- Ginger Root
- Shiitake Mushrooms
- Arame Seaweed
- Sweet Potatoes
- Miso Paste
- Bone broth (or vegetable broth if you prefer)
My base usually begins with chicken bone broth, made from a whole chicken I baked a few days before. When I make the broth, I always add a lemon or lime to the water. The acid from the citrus helps pull the calcium from the bones, which enhances the nutritional value of the broth.
After straining the broth, I add ginger, garlic, onions, and astragalus root to my soup pot.
At this point, I begin to soak my seaweed in water. When it’s soft, I add it and the other vegetables to the broth.
Near the end, I add most of my spices for flavor and the kale or other dark leafy greens.
When the soup is finished, I remove it from the heat and add plenty of miso to flavor. You can also remove the Astragalus root before serving. If your husband is like mine, you’d better add some spicy hot peppers, too!
Try it and let me know what you think! And in the comments below, I'd love to hear from you! Do you have any favorite recipes that you cook up when the family is feeling sick?
If you want to know more about cooking with medicinal herbs, what herbs are safe for children and what illnesses are good to start with herbs when working with children...
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