After giving birth, a woman’s body is depleted and needs to be nourished by her environment (calm, quiet and warmth), loving and supportive people, and the foods she eats. She needs to take care of herself more than ever at this point, but must also take care of her infant. Balancing these can be difficult for the first few weeks, until both the mother and baby are better acquainted and on a regular schedule.
Using Chinese “food” herbs in soups and stews is an ideal way to nourish the qi (life energy) and blood, and help mom balance hormones postpartum. The herbs in these recipes taste good and bring added medicinal value to a warm, nourishing meal.
Mother warming soup recipes:
Nourish Blood and Essence Soup
- 1 ounce Dioscorea root (Shan Yao)
- 7 cups organic chicken or bone soup stock
- 2 ounces Lycii berries (Gou Qi Zi)
- 1 yam, diced
- 1 ounce Lotus seeds (Lian Zi)
- 5 black or shitake mushrooms
- 12 Red Dates “jujubes” (Dao Zao) – soaked and pitted slivered (if dry, soak first)
- 2 cups chopped greens (kale, chard, spinach, etc.)
- 1/4 cup rice wine or rice vinegar
Break Dioscorea into small pieces and simmer in soup stock along with the Lycii berries and Lotus seeds for 1 hour. Add Da Zao, yam, and mushrooms and simmer for another 20 minutes. Add rice wine and greens and cook for 5 more minutes. Serve hot.
Dang Gui Chicken Soup
- 2 pounds organic chicken
- 1L organic chicken stock
- 1 cup of water
- 5 very thin slices of dang gui
- 20 goji berries
- 5 slices ginger
- 5 spring onions thinly sliced
- 2 carrots cut into ½ cm rounds
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ cup rice wine
Rinse chicken and add to water in a heavy stockpot. Bring to boil. Add the onion, celery and carrot then cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 1 hour. Remove chicken from broth and shred meat into small pieces. Strain broth through strainer/sieve and pour back into stockpot. Add sliced carrots, herbs, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 25 minutes. Add chicken and Dang Gui and cook for 10 minutes more. Remove Dang Gui before serving. NOTE: Dong quai is inadvisable for women who are pregnant or menstruating.
* You can buy dang gui, and other herbs from Healthy Home Market, any good local Chinese grocery store or online.
Christina Gabbard, CPES a.k.a Carolina Placenta Lady, is a Certified Placenta Encapsulation Specialist serving natural mommies; health minded women who have an interest in the TCM properties of encapsulated placenta for alleviation or prevention of post-natal depression, “baby-blues”. She also enjoys empowering moms through birth related challenges and transitions; helping them to conceive, carry, and confidently birth their babies. She resides in Charlotte NC with her family.