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Astragalus strengthens the immune system, improving your resistance to infection, and helps you stay healthy and energetic during cold and flu season. It’s often sold in slices that resemble tongue depressors, so you can easily remove them from any finished recipe. Throughout cold and flu season, add a few strips of astragalus to any soup or stock you make. The flavor is mellow; it won’t ruin the taste of the finished dish. If you’re already sick, or you’re taking immunosuppressant medication or blood thinners, check with your practitioner first before making this soup.
Yield: 12 servings.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large onions, peeled and diced
- 4 carrots, diced
- 4 celery stalks, ends removed and diced
- 8 cloves garlic, smashed and skins removed
- 10 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 quarts water
- 8 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced, or 4 ounces dried and soaked in water to rehydrate.
- 12 slices dried astragalus root
- 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1⁄2 cup miso paste, divided
- Place olive oil in a large stockpot, and roll it around to coat the bottom. Warm over medium heat. Once oil is warm, add onions, carrots, and celery.
- Cook over medium heat for 6 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure that the vegetables are coated with oil and cooking evenly. When vegetables are fragrant and soft, add garlic and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes.
- Using a cheesecloth and clean kitchen twine, tie thyme, rosemary sprigs, and bay leaves into a bundle.
- Add water, cheesecloth-herb bundle, mushrooms (along with the soaking water, if you used dried shiitakes), and astragalus slices to the pot and cover. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and partially cover the pot. Simmer for 30 minutes, and then add nutritional yeast.
- Remove the astragalus and herb bundle from the broth. Strain the vegetables out, if desired. If you’re not using it right away, store broth in the fridge for 4 to 5 days, or in the freezer for 3 to 4 months.
- To serve, spoon 2 teaspoons of miso paste into each serving vessel — mugs, teacups, and bowls all work well. Ladle 1 cup hot broth over miso paste, using the back of a spoon to help the paste dissolve completely into broth. Drink and enjoy!
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Melanie St. Ours is a clinical herbalist specializing in women’s health and mental health. These recipes are excerpted from her book The Simple Guide to Natural Health: From Apple Cider Vinegar Tonics to Coconut Oil Body Balm, 150+ Home Remedies for Health and Healing. She is the founder of Psyche & Soma LLC, the home of her private herbal practice since 2012.