Si Shen Tang - Four Herbs Soup 四神汤

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Chinese Four Herbs Soup 四神汤

The most common and famous herbal soup recipes in Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat diarrhoea, strengthening the spleen and nourishing the digestive system. It also calms the nerves and improves poor appetite. It is particularly great for elderly who needs to regain their strength and appetite after a bout of illness or after surgery.

The name of this herbal soup in Mandarin directly translated means ‘Four Gods’. It has only 4 ingredients but when combined, it signifies that the soup is very powerful, like having the strength of four gods!

Shan yao (Wild yam) is rich in proteins, polysaccharides, vitamin C, calcium, minerals, enzymes, saponins and diosgenin and fibre. It dilates blood vessels, thereby improving blood circulation, enhancing overall wellness and especially for skin, it increases skin hydration, smooths wrinkles, increases skin elasticity and improves colour tone. It strengthens the spleen and stomach to aid digestion, nourishes the kidneys and lungs. Hence this soup is great for our skin as well.

Qian Shi (Euryvale) strengthens the kidney and spleen to stop diarrhoea, removes dampness to regulate our spleen and stomach. Qian Shi is generally used to for those with knee and back pain, frequent urination, leukorrhea, and diarrhoea.

Lian Zi (Lotus seed) calms the spirit, strengthens spleen and kidney. It is commonly used for diarrhea from chronic spleen deficiency, excess vaginal discharge for women, anxiety, and insomnia.

Fu Ling (Poria Cocos) helps to regulate water metabolism, removes dampness and calms the spirit (shen, 神) and helps relieve insomnia. It works at the heart, lungs, spleen and kidney meridians and improves the spleen function and help in nutrients absorption needed to maintain healthy skin conditions.


Who should drink this soup?

  • Those suffering from malnutrition, poor appetite, or who wants to gain weight

  • If you experience frequent diarrhea or have weak digestive system

  • Women who feel hormonal imbalance, having dull skin, experiencing insomnia

  • Elderly who just recovered from illness/surgery and wants to regain strength and appetite

  • During pregnancy or post-partum to boost nutrition

  • Also suitable for children to improve their appetite

How to drink this soup?

  • This soup is best taken warm on an empty stomach early in the morning for better absorption and to warm up the digestive system.

  • It is usually cooked as a savoury soup with some meat (protein) and all the herbs can be consumed. You can add additional fresh Shan Yao if you like to eat the fresh ones.

  • It can also be cooked as a dessert, just add rock sugar and other ingredients for a sweet dessert.

  • Many supermarkets and traditional chinese medicine shops sell prepacked herbs. You just need to buy the meat and add it in, so its very convenient.


  1. Dried Wild Yam (Shan Yao )30g ; 山药 30g

  2. Lotus seeds (Lian Zi) 30g; 莲子30g

  3. Euryvale (Qian Shi) 20g; 芡实20g

  4. Poria Cocos (Fu Ling) 50g; 茯苓 50g

  5. Pork ribs 300g ; 排骨 300g / Chicken / Chestnuts*

  6. Salt 1 tsp ; 盐 1 tsp*

  7. Rice wine 15ml ; 米酒15ml*

  8. Water 1.5l ; 水 5l*
    *not included


  9. Wash the pork ribs and blanch in hot boiling water. Wash away the scum and set aside.

  10. Rinse the 4 herbs and place them in a pot of water (1.5l). Add in the pork ribs.

  11. Use medium to high heat to boil for 30mins then turn the heat to medium-low to simmer for another 30mins.

  12. Add in the salt and rice wine to taste.

  13. Serve warm.

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