“Wood” soup

Categories: Large Intestine Fluid Vacuity, Liver Blood Vacuity, Liver Qi Stagnation

Wood Soup
(4-6 servings)

2 bay leaves
6½ cups vegetable soup stock
1 leek: white and pale green portions only
2 celery stalks
1 cup eggplant
12 black or shitake mushrooms: soaked if dry, and slivered
4 tbsp sesame seeds
¼ cup pine nuts
1 tbsp roasted sesame oil
¼ cup rice vinegar
1 tbsp turmeric or 1/8 tsp saffron

1. Slice leek and celery, cut eggplant into cubes.
2. Add the vegetables and mushrooms to stock, simmer 30 minutes.
3. While simmering, toast the sesame seeds in a 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes and the pine nuts for about 5 minutes.
4. Add the bay leaves, sesame seeds, pine nuts, sesame oil, rice vinegar and turmeric, and simmer 5 minutes.

Bay leaf is warm and pungent, it regulates and tonifies qi, removes blood stagnation and sedates yin. Vegetable stock is neutral (?). Leek is warm and pungent, it tonifies qi and blood and clears heat. Celery is sweet, bitter and cold, it clears heat, subdues LV yang and wind, and calms the shen. Eggplant is sweet and cold, it clears heat, moves blood and moves qi. Shitake mushrooms are sweet and neutral, they supplement qi, and boost wei qi. Sesame seeds are sweet and neutral, nourish LV and KD, moisten the LI and nourish jing and marrow. Pine nuts are sweet and slightly warm, they moisten and tonify the LU and lubricate the intestines. Sesame oil is cool and sweet, tonifies qi and blood, clears heat and sedates yang. Rice vinegar is warm, sour and bitter, it detoxifies and invigorates circulation of blood. Turmeric (?). Saffron is neutral, sweet and sour, it tonifies qi and blood, transforms stagnation and disperses stagnant qi.
Overall, this soup nourishes qi and blood while at the same time moving these substances. It harmonizes the Liver so it moves qi through the body smoothly, while moistening and lubricating to allow movement.