Ginseng chicken soup

I never really researched what exactly Panax ginseng, or Asian (Korean/Chinese) ginseng does for you. I just believed my mom, grandma, and the wisdom of all my Korean ancestors that ginseng is super good for you in various ways. I’ve had to drink ginseng tea (refrigerated – tastes bad enough cold, worse when hot) pretty much my whole life (like one month out of every year) because my mom thinks I have bad circulation since I’m always cold. Actually, I do have low blood pressure at about <100/~50. She says ginseng is great for blood pressure. I have no idea if the ginseng tea works, but right now my hands and feet aren't cold (they usually are)? My mom has always said ginseng is good for stamina and the immune system as well. It may also lower blood glucose.

I finally did poke around a little online (starting here) and found little scientific research to back up various claims for the wonders of ginseng. However, who am I going to trust? Several thousands of years of Chinese/Korean medicine and anecdotal evidence or modern medicine’s limited research? So I will keep drinking my ginseng tea and eating ginseng infused foods. Possible benefits are enormous, possible negative consequences are at about zero.

Korean ginseng chicken soup
I have no idea what to call it in English, but in Korean it’s called samgaetang. A whole chicken (small) is boiled in a pot of water with pieces of ginseng, whole garlic gloves, and “dechu” (some sort of dried date) for about 2 hours until the chicken is cooked through. The chicken is stuffed with sweet rice. My mom used a free range chicken and left out the dechu at my request. I of course didn’t eat the rice. But I ate pretty much the entire chicken breast and a leg (what, it was a small chicken!) with some young radish kimchi. I had the broth on the side. I like the mild flavors and to me, it tastes a tiny bit medicinal because of the ginseng. Unlike regular/American chicken soup, it’s not salty at all and might actually do something to help you feel better when sick by boosting your immune system, rather than just filling you up with noodles and making you more sick.




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