Change of season soup is an immune system tonic used in TCM. It is ideal to enhance the immune system during the changing of the seasons. This herbal formula is also thought to improve resistance to colds and flu and help with stress.

People who are in the midst of a cold or flu should not drink the soup until after they have recovered.

The soup has a slightly bitter taste on it’s own. To improve the taste, use it as a base for a hearty chicken soup made with a whole organic chicken and shiitake mushrooms, onions, leeks, carrots, yam, beets, turnip, kale and other local harvest vegetables.


To make change of season soup, you will need equal parts (2-3 oz each) of the following herbs. Chinese herbal shops sometimes sell the herbs pre-packaged for convenience or try the following suggestions:

You can use equal parts of each herb (eg. 4 sticks of herbs 1,2, and 3, and a handful of goji berries)

1)Astragalus/Huang Qi – 4 sticks, 15 cm long. This herb is an adaptogen, helping the body to better manage stress. It also stimulates the immune system and it tonifies the body overall.

2) Codonopsis pilosula / Dang Shen– 3 sticks, 10 cm long This herb is important in tonifying Qi energy (according to TCM principles). It detoxifies blood. It increases blood and the production of other immunity-important fluids. It is an adoptogen, helping the body to better manage stress

3) Chinese wild yam (Dioscorea sinensis/Shan Yao) – 2 sticks, 5 cm long.This herb relaxes the smooth muscles along the digestive tract. It is also great for the liver and is anti-inflammatory.

4) Chinese wolfberries or Goji berries (Lyciium barbarum/Gou Qi Zi) – 3 tbsp.These berries strengthen the liver and the kidneys. They also work to improve the immune system.



1. Fill a large stock-pot with water. Add the above herbs to the pot and place the lid on. Bring to a boil and simmer for 4 to 6 hours. If the water level boils down, add water to refill if necessary.

2. Using a slotted spoon, remove the herbs from the pot and allow the soup to cool. This recipe makes about 4 liters of soup.

If you’re making a more hearty soup

1. Sauté onions, leek, ginger and garlic on medium heat until soft

2. Add celery and carrot for a few minutes then add chicken and ample water including the Chinese herbs

3. 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).

4. Remove the Astragalus, Codonopsis and Chinese wild yam from the pot with a slotted spoon then add any other vegetables and spices you enjoy in soup and continue simmering for about 20-30 more minutes.


Bon appetite and enjoy a healthy season!