Pat Chan Soup (八珍汤) was the punishment to puberty. My mother forced me to drink this super bitter medicinal soup at the end of every menstrual cycle. It was a monthly torture.
I hated it so much that I secretly throw away the bowl of soup. Once, I was caught in the act. She was furious and refused to boil it for my again. I was elated…though not for long. I could feel a dip in energy after every menstrual cycle that I begged my mother to make if for me again.
Despite my distaste for it, I had to admit that it is good for me. Until now, my period is always regular and I never had much pain. Whenever I feel tired despite having enough sleep, I’ll make this soup or red dates tonic to strengthen my body.
In the recent years, my family found a Chinese herbal shop which sells a formula that taste palatable. On top of that, we added more black dates, and honey dates to make it sweeter. This is the best tasting Ba Zhen formula that I’ve tasted (as best as this bitter soup can be anyway).
Medicinal values & beauty benefits
This medicinal soup helps one regain strength and stamina. Formulated specifically to combat what Traditional Chinese Medicine refer to as ‘Blood and Qi deficiency’, it helps improves pale complexion, shortness of breath, and irregular or painful menstruation.
This medicinal soup is not only given to women after menstruation, but to patients after surgeries. It contains:
- Chinese Angelica Root – Gui Shen/ 归身
- White Atrocytlodes rhizomes – Bai Zhu/ 白术
- Rehmannia – Shu Di Huang/ 熟地黄
- Eucommia bark – Du Zhong/ 杜仲
- Codonopsis root – Dang Shen/ 党参
- White peony root – Bai Shao/ 白芍
- Poria – Fu Shen/ 茯神
- Sichuan Lovage – Chuang Xiong/ 川芎
- Honey Fried Licorice Root – Zhi Gan Cao/ 炙甘草
- Pot/ slow cooker
Eight Treasure Tonic (Pat Chan Tong / Ba Zhen Tang / 八珍汤)
- 10 g Chinese Angelica Root (Gui Shen/ 归身)
- 18 g White Atrocytlodes rhizomes (Bai Zhu/ 白术)
- 15 g Rehmannia (Shu Di Huang/ 熟地黄)
- 15 g Eucommia bark (Du Zhong/ 杜仲)
- 8 g Codonopsis root (Dang Shen/ 党参)
- 16 g White peony root (Bai Shao/ 白芍)
- 8 g Poria (Fu Shen/ 茯神)
- 8 g Sichuan Lovage (Chuang Xiong/ 川芎)
- 12 g Honey Fried Licorice Root (Zhi Gan Cao/ 炙甘草)
- 8 pieces Black Dates
- 1 piece Honey Dates
- 1.2 L Water
- Step 1 PREP: Rinse herbs.
- Step 2 COOK: Place water and herbs in a pot. Bring to boil and then simmer for 1 hour.
When to drink it?
This tonic is normally drank after menstruation is just over. Women in my family swear by this soup – they drink it not just after menstruation, but sometimes during and before it. It’s viewed like a supplement more than a medicine.
I normally boil this in a pot before going to bed and leave it on the stove. In the morning, I’ll reheat the soup until its lukewarm and drink it on empty stomach before having my breakfast. Traditional Chinese Medicine believes that drinking herbal remedies on an empty stomach is best for absorption.
However, this is a rather ‘heaty’ soup. So we normally not make it when the weather is too hot or drink too much of it. One or two bowls is quite enough.
Note: There are many variation to this herbal remedy. To make it less bitter, we normally add black dates, red dates, and honey dates. My family alternate between two formulas. This particular recipe is my personal favourite.
Enjoy (if you can)!