Lung Soup

October 25, 2011 — 7 Comments

Named for it’s healing properties, not because it is literally lung soup, this tasty concoction I whipped up as a result of my recent health complaints. Spring is playing havoc with me, and not in the normal sense of hayfever and allergies (touch wood, I don’t suffer from either of these). But all the wind is winding up my Liver, and drying out my Lungs. If you remember the 5 element theory I blogged about here you can see the relationship between spring, wind and liver. How is this effecting my lungs? When the liver gets wound up it generates internal heat, and this heat is being transferred to the lungs in the insulting Wu cycle (the energy should healthily flow Lungs to Liver in the Ke cycle). This is all really high level diagnosis, because there’s also yin deficiency present which heavily contribute to dryness of the Lungs. Complicated Chinese Medicine theories aside, my symptoms confirm dryness of the Lungs; desire for liquids, persistent low grade sore throat, dry unproductive cough along with some digestive problems associated with the Lung/Large Intestine organ pairing. Left untreated these symptoms can develop into chronic conditions. But get this, something really interesting also happened; I’ve had a little crack at the tip of my thumb for weeks now. It’s started to heal (finally) but here’s the pic (look closely just above the nail)…

I didn’t initially put two and two together (it took my brilliant Chinese Medicine doctor to point it out), but the location of the crack is at Lung 11 – the end point on the Lung channel – the crack signifies extreme dryness in the Lungs! Interestingly the function of this point is to drain heat in the Lungs – don’t you just love it how our bodies tell us what’s going on internally?

So that is how I came to making up Lung soup in addition to eating copious amounts of pears which help to moisten the Lungs. Lung soup is made up of celeriac, cauliflower, garlic, white pepper, shiitake mushrooms, garlic and spring onions. You’ll note there’s lots of white coloured vegetables here, white being the colour that resonates with the Lungs in the 5 element theory. Also resonating with the Lungs is the pungent flavour; garlic, pepper and celeriac providing this. Shiitake mushrooms have an additional function in the respect they nourish the Lungs while clearing heat and phlegm congesting the Lungs. Shiitakes are prized in Asian traditions for their healing properties and used for immunity. Modern science has now isolated the compound lentinan in Shiitakes which is the reason for their powerful immunity benefits. This all comes back to the function of the Lungs, because in TCM the Lungs are responsible for distributing the defensive qi – what we call immunity in western science. So I hope you’re starting to see now how ancient traditions are now being backed up by modern science, minus the microscope.

Lung Soup

Lung Soup, the recipe
1/2 celeriac, chopped
1 head of cauliflower, broken into florets
1/2 onion, diced
800ml vegetable stock
generous handful shiitake mushrooms, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 spring onion, sliced
olive oil
salt and white pepper to taste


  1. Lightly saute the roughly chopped 2 cloves of garlic with a good pinch of salt until just aromatic.
  2. Add in the celeriac and cauliflower. Stir around a bit to get the vegies just to sweating then amp up the heat and add in your stock to just under covering the vegetables (you want a nice thick soup).
  3. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat, pop the lid half on and simmer for about 20 minutes until the celeriac is soft (the cauliflower will soften way before the celeriac does).
  4. Using a stick blender, blend until very smooth. Seasoning with salt and white pepper to taste.
  5. Meanwhile, saute the garlic slices, spring onions and mushrooms in a bit of olive oil until soft. Transfer to a tray and pop under the grill for about 5 – 10 minutes until they crisp up
  6. Serve with crispy mushrooms topping the soup and a light sprinkle of white pepper

Note: what would really add a gorgeous vegan cheesyness to the soup would be to stir in at the end 1/4 c of savory yeast flakes (available from health stores). Not only great savory taste (think: umami) but a good non-animal source of Vitamin B12 often lacking in meatless diets.

How’s spring treating you? Are you getting any change of the season symptoms?

Healing with Wholefoods, Paul Pitchford
The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods, Michael Murray


7 responses to Lung Soup


    Okay Beck, I’ma going to try this soup. I have same symptoms as you but including liver disfunction and split thumb dry lungs and cough. Must be the season…. Is this a daily soup while symptoms last? Besides being theraputic, sounds a very yummy soup… Mum


    Thank you for this amazing recipe. I made this soup tonight for a friend that has walking pneumonia. It seem to really help. Thank you for sharing it!


    I really want to try this! But I am allergic to all mushrooms. Would it still be good for you & taste good without mushrooms? Any ideas? I am having a good bit of symptom’s right now with my lungs.

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