Many of us have heard of many famous Chinese soups such as bird’s nest soup and sweet and sour soup, as well as the intriguing wall-jumping Buddha soup. Do you know that the Chinese use the soup for medicinal and food purposes? The Chinese believe in the balance of yin and yang or the hot and cold forces of nature and this is the basis of the ingredients used in Chinese soups.
Apart from the nutritional value of the food itself, the Chinese use the medicinal properties of the ingredients in the soup to maintain good health or to speed up the recovery of sick people with these ingredients. Ideally, fresh ingredients are used and, as far as possible, the best quality is also used. An example of a soup valued for its healing properties is the Bird’s Nest soup. In Mandarin, this is called the yan wo or literally Swallow’s Nest.
These are edible nests of swifts or swallows. When mixed with water, the whitish nests become gelatinous and are believed to have many health benefits. Among the benefits are the improvement of the immune system and the acceleration of the rebirth of cells. Bird’s nest could cost hundreds of dollars, but when consumed regularly, it is believed to improve resistance to disease in children by boosting the immune system, strengthening the lungs and kidneys in men, and improving skin in women. . Others believe that it can help people with asthma.
Meanwhile, there are soups that are believed to relieve colds and lower fevers. When one has a fever, the Chinese believe that drinking soup that has more yin will lower the fever, and when one has a cold, soup that has more yang is given to balance the lack of yang forces in the body. Examples of these soups include winter melon soup which is used to cool the body and is usually eaten during the hot summer months. Chrysanthemum is also incorporated into food to achieve the same purpose. For the cold months, ginseng and ginger can be used to warm the body that may be lacking in yang energy. Sweet and sour soup is also said to be good for colds.
Many Chinese soups use herbs and plants with medicinal properties as ingredients. It is these ingredients, as well as the balance of nutrients in the other ingredients, that provide us with many benefits. Everything is in the balance of the different elements of nature as the Chinese believe. And if you’re feeling down, why don’t you have some Chinese soup to balance out what’s bothering you?