Dissecting Mom’s Homemade Soup [plant medicine]
In addition to the above basic ingredients, any of the following can be added to give soup even more healing qualities.
Mushrooms: Mushrooms are a great alternative for vegan and vegetarians. They are an excellent source of protein. Shiitake mushrooms have many health benefits, including supporting the immune system. They are easily available and add a rich umami flavor to any broth or soup. Other mushrooms can also be used as well as mushroom powders.
Goji berries: It is not common practice to add berries to soup, but goji berries are not like strawberries or blackberries. They tend to have a bitter flavor and can be used in savory applications. Goji berries are rich in vitamin C and will boost the immune system.
Hot peppers: Hot peppers thin out mucus, help to unblock head colds and stuffy sinuses, and are rich in vitamin C.
Turmeric: Turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and broad immune support. It is helpful for cold and flu, bronchitis and sore throats. To get the full benefits of turmeric, it should be combined with both black pepper and fat (oil) when consuming.
Kale: Kale adds minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and fiber to the soup. It has a high vitamin C content and high levels of an antioxidant called quercetin, which is anti-viral and believed to help fight common colds.
Nettle (Urtica dioica): It contains iron, magnesium, zinc, selenium and sulfur. It is considered a tonic herb and builds and restores health. Nettle and kale will help with the fatigue effect of colds and flu.
Lemon: This adds a great boost of vitamin C.
Barley: This is rich in phosphorous, which supports cell regeneration and healing. It is also packed with other minerals and vitamins. Barley adds a subtle nutty flavor and thickens the broth.
The following recipe is a powerful ally in times of
cold, flu and respiratory infections.
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 sticks of celery
3 large carrots (1 finely chopped, 2 sliced)
1 bay leaf
5 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 thumb-size piece of ginger, finely minced
½ tsp turmeric
1 Tbsp fresh thyme/2 tsp dry thyme
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, roughly chopped
½ tsp black pepper
2 quarts of stock of choice
¼ cup goji berries
1 cup sliced fresh shitake or ½ cup dried shitake (additional mixed mushrooms for vegan options)
5 cups chopped kale or 1 cup dried nettle
½ cup pearl barley
1 cup cooked white beans
1-3 hot chili peppers, chopped—not deseeded
1 tsp salt
1-2 cups shredded chicken (optional)
· Heat the oil. Add the onions, celery and finely chopped carrots.
· When they start to get golden, add remaining carrots and spices. Cook for 5 minutes on low heat.
· Add in remaining ingredients, except for beans and kale.
· Simmer medium low for approximately 20 minutes.
· Add beans, kale and chicken; simmer 10 more minutes.
· The pearl barley should be tender and cooked through; cook slightly longer if needed.
· Taste for salt. Garnish with parsley and add a squeeze of lemon.
Ayshica Andrews is a Realtor, blogger, gardening consultant, and “food is medicine enthusiast.” For more information, email her at [email protected] or visit GardeningInTheDesert.com. Also follow her on social media (Facebook: Gardening in the Desert and Instagram: @SolitaryBeeGardens).