Build Your Immune Power with Change of Season Soup

Change of Season soup roots

By Dr. Mahalia Freed

This herbal formula is a great harmonizer, helping to balance the body and mind in times of stress, especially during the change of seasons. It enhances the immune system and increases the body’s own adaptive energies. Thus, it is also excellent for those involved in active sports.
Traditionally, there is no separation between food and herbs in Chinese medicine. This herbal tonic was often prepared as a nourishing chicken soup using an old hen.
You may prepare the herbs as a well-simmered tea, or use the recipe below as a guide to make a soup that you will enjoy, adding seasonal vegetables and spices as desired. Find a version that you love? Curried? Harvest-style? Contact the clinic to share your recipe!

Basic Ingredients

You can use equal parts of each herb (e.g., 4 sticks of herbs 1,2, and 3, and a handful of goji berries), buy the herbs pre-packaged in Chinatown of some supplement stores, or try the following guide:

  • Astragalus membranaceus / Huang Qi – 4 sticks, 15 cm long
  • Codonopsis pilosula / Dang Shen– 3 sticks, 10 cm long
  • Dioscorea sinensis (Chinese wild yam) / Shan Yaeo– 2 sticks, 5 cm long
  • Lyciium barbarum (Chinese wolfberries or Goji berries) / Gou Qi Zi– 3 tbsp
Fresh Codonopsis root
Fresh Codonopsis root

Soup Ingredients

Chicken and Marinade

400 g of skinless chicken pieces, on the bone

2 tbsp fresh grated garlic

2 tbsp fresh grated ginger



Tasty Additions

1 tbsp dry ginger

1 cinnamon stick

5 cloves

5-10 peppercorns

Handful of Chinese Dates

Final Additions

1/2 C thinly sliced carrot

1/2 C chopped celery

1 C chopped bok choy

1/2 C chopped onions

Fresh coriander as garnish


  1. Wash and dry the chicken.  Marinate it in the fresh ginger and garlic in the fridge overnight.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Put all of the “basic ingredients” into about 15 cups of water in a large soup pot.
  3. Add the marinated chicken and the “tasty additions”.
  4. Bring the water to a boil, cover and simmer for about 1.5 hours or until the chicken is cooked.  (If you are making the soup without chicken simmer for only 1 hour).
  5. Remove the Astragalus, Codonopsis and Chinese wild yam from the pot.
  6. Add the “final additions’ of carrots, celery, bok choy, onions and any other vegetables you enjoy in soup and continue simmering for about 20 more minutes.
  7. Let it cool and serve garnished with fresh coriander