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Beauty Soup

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Beauty Sweet Soup / Beauty Sugar Water (Chè Dưỡng Nhan, 養顏糖水)

There has been a lot of captivating posts about a tea or soup called Face Nourishing Tea or Beauty Sweet/Sugar Water. Cooked either as a sweet or savory dish, many claim that this soup was used over a thousand years ago in the Chinese royal palaces and is the secret antiaging soup consumed by ladies in the palace. What many people think it does is build collagen, prevent aging, nourish the liver, treat anxiety while replenishing blood. We did not live over a thousand years ago but we can study the list of ingredients that remains. Let's dive into the ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • Peach resin (Peach sap)
  • Snow bird's nest
  • White fungus
  • Goji berries
  • Red jujube
  • Logan

  • The following is a short description of each ingredient in this base herbal soup recipe. There may be more detailed information on each ingredient in texts and online posts then what is listed here.

    Peach resin (Peach sap): This peach resin or sap comes from the Chinese wild peach trees. The source of collagen in this reciipe is believed to come from this peach sap.

    Snow bird's nest: This nest is made from the saliva of swiftlet birds. No solid nutritional value has been found in snow bird's nest.

    White fungus: Snow fungus is another name for white fungus (Tremella fuciformis, bai mu er). It is believed that white fungus is anti-inflammatory, an antioxidant, promotes brain health, boosts the immune system, controls blood sugar levels, improves skin complexion, and lowers the risk of heart disease. Pregnant women should avoid eating white fungus.

    Goji berries: Goji berries (Gou Qi Zi, Lycium Fruit, Chinese Wolfberry) falls under the tonifying herb category. Being red, it tonifies the blood and enters the liver, lung and kidney channels. These berries nourish, moistens and brightens the eyes. Goji berries could interact with some medications and cause an allergic reaction. Additionally, pregnant women should take goji berries with caution. Pharmacologically, it is an antidiabetic, antihyperlipidemic, anxiolytic (helps with anxiety), hepatoprotective and immunostimulant. Pregnant women may want to take caution when eating goji berries in excess.

    Red jujube: Red jujube tonifies qi. (description coming soon...)

    Logan: Longan (Long yan rou, flesh of the logan fruit) tonifies blood. In so doing, it can calm the spirit which can be interpreted as reducing anxiety. Pharmacologically it is said to be antibacterial, antineoplastic, anxiolytic, an immunostimulant and affects the metabolism. The properties are very similar to that of goji berries. Those with dampness, too much phlegm and blockages should avoid eating too much of this fruit.

    This may not be an all inclusive list of possible ingredient variations for this recipe, but variations have been known to add cinammon flower, cordycep, chia seeds, gingko, Tragacanth Gum, coix seeds to white fungas. Some recipes may use three or four of the listed ingredients and leaving out the rest.

    Of the listed ingredients, snow bird's nest, made from the saliva of swiftlet birds, is considered the most expensive in the world to acquire. Some sources say that there has been no real proven nutritional benefits in snow bird's nest and no tests has been made confirming the benefits it is believed to have. A lot of claims were made stating the benefits of eating this ingredient but no real research was able to back them up. This could be why white fungus is considered a more cost effective altnernative to snow bird's nest.

    A further look into snow bird's nest, from Healthline, shows that these nests have carbohydrates, glycoproteins and minerals like calcium and iron as the main source of nutritional value. They too listed the potential beneficial claims, but emphasized how no solid evidence supports whether these claims are valid or not. Potential downsides to ingesting these nests are the potential risk of developing a deathly allergic reaction, the risk of food poisoning from bacteriae found in the nest and how some countries limit the import of snow bird's nest to prevent the risk of spreading the avian flu. Awareness of this allows consumers to select appropriate alternatives to replace this ingredient.

    Let that not deter us from trying the recipe. There are many other ingredients in this recipe. The other edible herbs remain to be discussed. It can be seen how the combination of these edible herbs can affect appearance given their herbal categories and how they act. A common word that can be used to describe the listed herbs is "nourishing".

    Lastly, what's unique about this soup is the preparation. Cooking this soup does take a little longer then other prepackaged herbal combinations. It's not as simple as just cleaning the ingredients. Since the peach resin is not edible when bought, it needs to be soaked from five to ten hours to overnight. Added to this, debri in the peach resin needs to be manually removed if present. For a small batch, this should not take too much time to clean and some are already clean after being soaked. Finally, the soup is placed into a container, covered and steamed for 45 minutes to 60 minutes to capture as much nutrients as possible.

    To summarize, there are many versions of this recipe and instructions for each recipe may be different. Some recipes add milk while others may not. When ordering prepackaged herbs for soup making, simple instructions are always provided. If you ever get a chance to try this soup, let me know if the claims of what they say about this soup is true. Until next time.

    References:

    Ajmera, R. (2020, September 8). Goji berries: Nutrition, benefits, and side effects. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/goji-berry#downsides

    Anh, T. T. D. (2019, May 12). Is beauty tea really as good as rumored?. beemart.vn. https://www.beemart.vn/che-duong-nhan-co-that-su-tot-nhu-loi-don

    Bensky, D., & Bensky, L. L. (2004). Chinese herbal medicine: Materia medica. Estland Press.

    Devje, S. (2022, January 26). Edible bird’s nests: Nutrients, benefits, downsides. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/bird-nest-benefits-and-downsides

    Lang, A. (2021, February 16). White fungus: Benefits, uses, and what to know. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/white-fungus

    Kim, H. (2015). Handbook of Oriental Medicine (5th ed.). AcupunctureMedia.com.

    Pitchford, P. (2002). Healing with whole foods: Asian traditions and Modern Nutrition. North Atlantic Books.

    Scheid, V., Bensky, D., ELLIS, A., & Barolet, R. (2015). Chinese herbal medicine: Formulas & strategies (portable 2nd edition) (2nd ed.). Eastland Press Inc.






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