Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Tian Qi – No Monkeying Around

I was introduced to Tian Qi, a Chinese herb, when I hit puberty. This was a period where I would, literally, grow by centimeters when I hit the sack. Yes, we humans only grow when we sleep. And this herb was believed to help the body to generate and regenerate new cells for growth.

There was a legend about how Tian Qi was discovered. A monkey was once badly injured by a villager. After several days however, the monkey was seen to have made great progress in recovery. The villager decided to trail the monkey and spied it digging some roots to eat. After the monkey left, he dug up the root and took it home. And that was how Tian Qi came to be a frequently prescribed medicine among traditional Chinese physicians to this day.

The herb is usually used in conjunction with Ginseng, because it is believed that Ginseng is great for improving “qi” or energy while Tian Qi delivers benefits to the blood and bones.

I wasn’t the only one taking this herb; my pets loved it too. I would grind the herb into powder and mix it into their food, and I was convinced that Tian Qi helped heal my animals’ cuts and wounds faster.

As I grew older, I would often boil the herb according to the recipe below. Tian Qi is also known to stabilize blood pressure and prevent stroke.  I would add pork trotter and chicken feet to further supplement the collagen in my body. Tian Qi is easily available from Chinese medical shops.

Tian Qi & Ginseng Soup

Tian Qi (田七)                      10 g, sliced thinly
Ginseng (泡参)                    20 g, sliced thinly
Pork trotter                           500 g
Chicken feet                          300 g
Chicken                                   400 g
Honey dates                         6
Chinese yam                        250 g, cut into chunks
Water                                      4 litres
Salt                                           2 tsp

1.          Put both Chinese herbs in a cloth bag. Secure the opening tightly.
2.          Blanch pork trotter, chicken feet and chicken for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse meat under tap water.
3.          Add Chinese herbs, honey dates and Chinese yam in a pot of water. Bring to boil.
4.          Add meat and boil for 10 minutes. Lower heat and simmer for 2 hours.
5.          Season soup with salt.
6.          Serve hot.


  1. I like mine with black chicken =)

    1. It's quite a versatile herb. I would double-boiled it in black chicken soup too. : )

  2. Hi, I am recovering from an injured knee and your recipe above is just what I need! May I know how frequent can we drink this Tian Qi soup? Thank you!