Chinese herbal chicken soup is a chicken soup loaded with different herbs. It’s said to be very effective in boosting the body’s warmth and energy. Chinese herbal chicken soup is easy to make, as it only requires a few ingredients like dried herbs, garlic, ginger, and chicken. The key is to balance the flavors from the herbs. Chinese herbal chicken soup does not contain any added preservatives or artificial flavors.

Soups are quite important and necessary for normal Chinese autumn and winter days. We believe that it is quite dry in those two seasons and thus soups with various herbals are employed to moisten our lungs and remove body heat. Those ingredients, which are believed to be beneficial to our body, are used most frequently in Cantonese cuisine. Some Cantonese drinks the liquid only. But the meats are quite nourishing too.

herbal chicken soup| chinasicihuanfood
herbal chicken soup|

Some of the most popular Chinese herbals

Wolfberries (Gǒu Qǐ |枸杞) are dried from the ripe fruit of Lycium barbarum L. Wolfberries can nourish the liver, promotes vision, and invigorates the kidneys. In daily cooking, we blew dried wolfberries with flower teas like chrysanthemum tea.

Chinese wild yam (Huái Shān|淮山), the root of Dioscorea opposite Thunb has multiple efforts on the spleen, lung, and kidney. It can boost energy and alleviate bodily weakness.

Astragalus Root (Huáng Qí|黄芪), nourish the kidney, improve resistance, and boost the immune system and is believed to be a tonic, diuretic, and pectoral medicine.

Red dates (Hóng Zǎo|红枣) can improve cell mutation, calm nervous system, protect the liver and moisten our lung.

Codonopsis Root ( Dǎng Shēn|党参) can release stress, anti-aging, adrenal fatigue and digestive problems and combats tiredness.

Angelica Sinensis (Dāng Guī|当归), a warming Chinese herb nourishes the blood and invigorates blood circulation. It has been used in Traditional Chinese Medical for a quite long history for women’s healthy, including relieving symptoms of gynecological conditions such as menopause, menstruation pain, recovery from childbirth.

Soloman’s Seal –(Yù Zhú|玉竹),the slivers of curly herb are yellowish in color and is believed to treat ailments related to the lungs and throat. It helps with dry cough, sore throat and thirst.

Honey dates (Mì Zǎo|蜜枣), nourishes the spleen, boosts the immune system.

herbal chicken soup|
Chinese herbal soup|


  1. If you ever tried Chinese herbal soup before, you may not like the smell when purchasing your herbal mix even the smell during the simmer process. But be brave and try it. The final soup will comfort you with a unique sweet taste.
  2. You can make this soup with regular pot, clay pot or high pressure pot. For high pressure pot, you can slightly reduce the water added as there is less water evaporated during the cooking.
  3. The longer you simmer the soup, the stronger and darker the soup will be.
herbal chicken soup|
herbal chicken soup|

Herbal Chicken Soup (药膳鸡汤)

Chinese herbal chickens soup
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Cantonese
Keyword: chicken, Herbal
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 823kcal
Author: Elaine


  • 1 organic chicken ,either plain chicken or black bone chicken
  • 3 L water
  • 1 small thumb ginger
  • salt to taste

Herbal mixes

  • 2 tbsp. goji berries
  • 3 red dates
  • 2 honey dates
  • 5 pieces codonopsis ,20g
  • 3 slices Chinese wild yam ,20g
  • 2 tbsp. Astragalus root or 4 pieces ,20g
  • 3 pieces Chinese Angelica root ,10g
  • 3 pieces Soloman’s seal ,10g


  • Soak all the herbals except red dates, goji berries and honey dates in a large bowl with enough water. Set aside for 30 minutes.
  • Cut chicken into pieces and blanch in a pot of boiling water with 3-4 slices of ginger. This process helps to remove the dirt and blood water from the bones. Pick the chicken pieces out and transfer them to a soup pot.
  • Add enough water and the soaked herbal. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 30 t 40 minutes. Add red dates, goji berries and honey dates, continue simmering another 30 minutes.
  • Season with salt before serving.



Calories: 823kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 69g | Fat: 56g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 281mg | Sodium: 300mg | Potassium: 760mg | Vitamin A: 525IU | Vitamin C: 7.1mg | Calcium: 64mg | Iron: 3.4mg
herbal chicken soup|

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  1. 5 stars
    Hi Elaine,

    almost all my colleagues at work have a cold, not to speak of those that sit next to me in the bus on my way to and from there. But I feel my stamina building up with each spoon of this delicious soup.

    There’s a German proverb which says that medication must taste bitter. This recipe however proves it all wrong 🙂

    Thank you very much, I can only recommend this to anyone.

    1. Andreas,
      Haha, Medication really tastes bitter but herbals not. They prevent a very unique aromatic sweet flavor. Glad you find the new taste.

  2. Hey there, can you eat the herbs after they are cooked? Or is it better to just eat the chicken and the broth? Thank you.

  3. My broth came out red cloudy looking and not milky like yours. Any idea what might have caused the broth to taint? I used black silkie chicken. Thanks!

    1. I guess the red color is brought by red dates. Change your red dates to better quality or add it later.

  4. Eager to try this, Elaine. But just wondering if the 823 calories per serving is accurate? is it for the whole dish perhaps? Please clarify! Also, are you supposed eat the herbal ingredients?