We had one day, Monday, forecast to be sunny. I chose to use it to run errands, one of which was to stop at the Asian grocery. They had lovely shiitake mushrooms on sale. I could not resist getting a couple of packages. Now the return of rainy weather has triggered my sinuses to act up. I have been getting pressure behind my right ear that will not clear. I was fine over the weekend and on the shopping day but yesterday and today I have a painful earache. I actually took the dreaded ibuprofen. So I am also preparing the shiitakes as a better form of medicine. When any part of your head hurts, it calls for soup. When the weather is dark and cold and raw it calls for soup.
Shiitakes contain all eight essential amino acids which is unique in a plant food source. They also contain a type of essential fatty acid called linoleic acid. Shiitake mushrooms have sterol compounds that interfere with the production of cholesterol in the liver. They not only slow it’s production but also contain potent phytonutrients that keep cells from sticking to blood vessel walls and forming plaque buildup. Perhaps their most well known health benefit is immune support. So they are a perfect tool to fight this sinus thing. Since thisweather is predicted to linger I have to take action. Life can’t stop even though my ear is really bothering me.
I also have some ginseng root I will add to the stock. Whenever I see fresh ginseng in the Korean market I always get some. To preserve it I bottle the roots in white wine or rice wine. When I lived in Korea I spent hours in places like this store on Namdaemun market, asking about the medicines and their uses. I also got a tour of the herbal pharmacy and acupuncture clinic at one of the major medical schools and was so impressed I having been using both herbal medicine and acupuncture ever since. When I lived in California I would write the herbs I wanted down in Chinese characters and take them to a little shop in San Francisco’s Chinatown. My spoken Chinese was very basic and the people there spoke Cantonese, not Mandarin, anyway, but the list worked perfectly. They would sometimes write suggestions or directions for me which I would take home and translate
It isn’t just Asians who use medicinal soup. After all, chicken soup has been fed to those under the weather in Europe and America for years. Paleo diet people are touting the benefits of bone broth. Soup is a comfort food as well as a nutritional one. Most people, regardless of origin or ethnicity have a favorite soup, and in many places soup is part of every meal. Since this rainy weather is going to keep up. I probably will be making more soup than just my medicinal mushroom special. There are so many to choose from. If I had to pick a favorite it would be almost impossible, but lot’s of people do. What’s your favorite?