Change of Season Soup Recipe

In traditional Chinese medicine (a form of alternative medicine that originated in China), the lungs are thought to be particularly vulnerable to colds and flu during the changing of the seasons.

Change of season soup is a herbal soup that some alternative medicine practitioners say may enhance the immune system during the changing of the seasons. 

One cup or bowl once or twice a day (for less than two weeks) is often recommended by practitioners for a healthy person.

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. To improve the taste, use it as a base for a hearty soup made with shiitake mushrooms, onions, carrots, potatoes, pumpkin, squash, beets, 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.

1. Codonopsis root
This herb is thought to help tonify and strengthen "qi" energy and helps to build blood and nourish body fluids.

2. Astragalus root
Astragalus is a root thought to helps strengthen protective defenses, strengthen qi energy, nourish the spleen, and tonify the blood and lungs.

3. Dioscorea (Chinese yam) root
Dioscorea is a herb believed to tonify and balances the lungs and the kidneys.

4. Chinese Lycii berries
Lycii berries is believed to strengthen the liver and the kidneys.


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.

You can drink it as a broth, use it as a base for soup recipes, or place it in a mug or thermos and sip it throughout the day.

Another traditional home remedy is ginger tea. You can find the recipe here.

Keep in mind that supplements haven't been tested for safety and dietary supplements are largely unregulated. In some cases, the product may deliver doses that differ from the specified amount for each herb. In other cases, the product may be contaminated with other substances such as metals. Also, the safety of supplements in pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and those with medical conditions or who are taking medications has not been established. You can get further tips on using supplements here.

It's also important to note that self-treating a condition and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences. If you're considering using Chinese herbs, make sure to consult your primary care provider first.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.

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