Hippocrates is said to be the “father of western medicine,” since I practice TCM, I’m not so sure, but what I really do like is his quote, “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” I also appreciate the part of the Hippocratic Oath that talks about “first do no harm,” this is the root of the Gerson Therapy, which is probably why Dr. Max Gerson named the very important component of his therapy, Hippocrates soup after him. Hippocrates soup is an integral part of The Gerson Therapy. On this diet it is required to have at least 8oz with lunch and 8oz with dinner every day. This soup is made fresh every other day. The ingredients are really pretty simple and we are lucky that even the local Fred Meyer (mega chain grocery store) carries the most challenging ingredient to find… celery root. We are especially lucky that we live in Portland with so many amazing co-ops that offer so much amazing produce.
I would honestly say that I find this soup pretty bland, but there are some great garnishes to add to make it so tasty. The most simple addition that I find really makes it taste so good is ginger,* just grate some fresh ginger root to taste and yummy!! Another easy addition is a little lemon juice… this is Dan’s favorite way to have the soup. I personally like both and then add a little cilantro or basil… muy delicioso!!!
*Ginger was an ingredient that originally not allowed on the Gerson Therapy, but now it is allowed and of course anyone on the Gerson Therapy should check with their Gerson trained MD to make sure it can be added to their program.
TCM Properties of Hippocrates Soup
Onion and leek are warming and moving, they nourish Lungs and Spleen to help reduce phlegm in the body. Celery and celery root are cooling and cleansing to the body, the salty nature helps to dissolve masses. Tomatoes are strengthening to the Spleen and Stomach; help alleviate thirst by promoting body fluids. Parsley builds blood, is warming and drying, which is great for Spleen and the pungent flavor enters/supports the Lungs. Potatoes are neutral and sweet in flavor which tonifies the Spleen/Stomach. Garlic is very pungent and warming to help dissolve masses, purge toxicity and parasites from the body.
Together all these foods and herbs work together to build the Spleen and Stomach energy to improve digestion and build qi. They also help to dissolve masses in the body to reduce tumors. It is interesting that many of these foods are also high in quercetin which is considered a strong antioxidant that is proven to prevent and breakdown cancer cells.
Fresh ginger root or Sheng Jiang (in Pin Yin) is a great food and medicine. In Traditional Chinese Medicine fresh ginger is pungent and warm in nature. It is used to release the exterior (meaning it can help treat beginning stages of cold or flu), it warms the center to stop vomiting or nausea (because it is a warming herb that helps descend the Stomach Qi) and it is also used to reduce toxicity (that is why it is traditionally served with sushi; to prevent seafood poisoning).
Even in Western Herbalism we see that it is used for nausea and stomach upset and some companies even make it into yummy candies for all to enjoy. Well my 3 year old daughter does not really like those candies (too spicy for her) and they are kind of a choking hazard so I make ginger syrup for her when we travel. She is really affected by motion sickness in the car and sometimes in airplanes so I wanted to be sure to have some on hand for her. The last time I made ginger syrup I thought it was crazy sweet, but she still wasn’t the biggest fan (still too spicy). So while making it last time I had a brainstorm… add strawberries to the syrup. This was such a hit for her! It basically tastes like strawberry jam with a mild ginger kick at the end. I put the syrup into tincture bottles and let her self administer, good thing the dropper is so small because she just kept taking more and more. This was perfect for our trip to California, she was great on long car rides and on the airplane.
The recipe for ginger syrup that I made the first time was from Rosemary Gladstar’s Book Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide. Then for my own version I added strawberries and did not use as much sweetener as she recommends. By the way I super highly recommend any book by Rosemary Gladstar she is one of my favorite herbalist ever! And that book is super user friendly for anyone to be able to use.
Strawberry Ginger Syrup
- 3-5 strawberries (chopped)
- 1-2 inch size piece of fresh ginger root (chopped)
- Maple Syrup, Agave, Coconut Nectar or Honey
Start by chopping up the ginger and add to a pan that has enough water to cover the ginger and cook down by 1/2 and still have some liquid. You really don’t need much water it just helps to keep the mixture from burning and to extract more spice from the ginger.
Slowly bring this to a boil and just let it boil off 1/2 of the volume of liquid. Then strain out the ginger and strawberry bits. Pour the strained liquid into a small glass so you can note how much liquid you have. Then pour approximately the same amount of sweetener in. You can then pour the combined liquids back into the pan and heat up to really incorporate them.
I know these are all approximations, but to give you an idea of how much I ended up with… I filled 2-2oz. tincture bottles with the finished product. Plus a little extra for me to add some hot water to and have a delicious tea. Since this doesn’t have as much sugar make sure to keep refrigerated when possible and use up with in the week. If you omit the water and simmer the ginger in honey as Rosemary Gladstar recommends then you can keep this in the refrigerator for a couple weeks (if it lasts that long).
Jade looking for more yummy “medicine”
Anti-Inflammatory Dinner (Mixed Vegetables with Quinoa)
Both ginger and turmeric are powerful anti-inflammatory herbs. They are very versatile since they can be used in flavoring foods or just made into a tea to promote circulation, reduce pain, and improve digestion.
In Chinese Medicine we use ginger to tonify the Stomach and Spleen. Its nature is warming, which aids the digestive fire and its energy is said to be descending. This is helpful when there is digestive upset, nausea, dizziness or even motion sickness. Western Medicine has recently shown support of ginger’s anti-inflammatory nature (see study). There are even studies showing the effectiveness of ginger for motion-sickness and preventing nausea from chemotherapy (see study).
Turmeric is used in Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda to aid digestion, to promote circulation and alleviate pain and to reduce swelling in the body (this is for reducing swelling with trauma and from tumors/cancer). Its nature is also warming since it promotes blood circulation and aids digestion. Western medicine shows much positive research with turmeric for arthritis (both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis), Alzheimer’s and cancer. Dr. Andrew Weil has a great article outlining this (see this article).
Essentially what the research is saying about these herbs is that they have naturally occurring COX-2 inhibitors, which reduce the inflammatory pathways in the body to alleviate pain. What I am saying about these herbs is that they taste good and Traditional Medicine has used them effectively for thousands of years, so eat up!!
Sautéed Vegetables with Fresh Turmeric and Ginger (serves 4)
- 1 small onion
- 1 head of broccoli
- 1/2 head of cabbage
- 2 inches grated fresh ginger root
- 2 inches grated fresh turmeric root
- 1/2 block of tempeh
- 2 garlic cloves
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 TBS liquid aminos (soy or coconut) or salt to taste
- 2-3 TBS nutritional yeast
- 2-3 cups cooked rice or quinoa
Steam saute the onion and cabbage first for a couple minutes (just add a little water to the bottom of the pan to lightly steam while you are cooking… this avoids needing to use oil). Then add broccoli (florets and stalk). Steam saute for another couple minutes and then add remaining vegetables: peas, corn, carrots… whatever you have on hand. Add the ginger, garlic, lemon juice, nutritional yeast and turmeric the last couple minutes of steam sauteing. Make sure to add more water if needed to make a nice broth to pour over cooked rice or quinoa.