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Chinese herbal concoction: Hui Sup Liu

Last post we started to talk about some herbal concoction, or herbal soup that's very important in maintaining good health for Chinese, especially Cantonese. While Ching Bo Leung is for anyone in any condition, there are other very common soups for specific needs. Like the following soup is about taking away the excess "dampness" in our body. Where does the dampness come from? One of the reasons is that when summer is hot, people like to have ice-cream or cold drinks that would affect the function of spleen and stomach. In Chinese theory, spleen governs transportation and transformation of "nutrients". When spleen is not fully functional because of the excess "coldness", the excess water in the body can't be cleared out. Besides in South China most areas are humid during summer, so our body is holds and absorbs dampness "from inside to outside."

HUI SUP LIU (or Qu Shi Liao in Mandarin) 去濕料

This soup regulates the electrolyte and water balance inside our body. This is specifically appropriate in hot humid weather. Ed俄ma, fungal infections (e.g. athlete's foot) and red, puffy eyes are symptoms associated with a "wet" condition which would benefit from this "Dampness-chasing" or "dewetting"  soup. This is also a soup with premixed packets that are easy to find in Asian grocery or supermarkets.

Ingredients: (Usually it's easier to buy the premixed packets, but if you do want to prepare, Chinese translations are here for you to print out as well.)

20g Job's tears barley (苡米七錢)

30g adzuki beans (赤小豆一兩)

30g hyacinth (lablab) beans (扁豆一兩)

30g tree cotton flowers (木棉花一兩)

1 lotus seed pod (蓮房一個)

(Winter melon) (冬瓜)

(Some Pork)


- If using the melon, wash it first but don't peel or remove the seeds: chop coarsely, and add into the soup pot, combine everything.

- Add about 8 cups of water, or enough to cover the ingredients by 3 times of the volume

- Bring to the boil, reduce heat, and simmer partially covered until barley is cooked and liquid is reduced, for at least 1 hour, 2-3 hours if you're using meat.

- Season with salt and serve. (The melon, pork, beans and barley are edible, but not the kapok flower or lotus pod.)

(sources: Streetwise Guide: Chinese Herbal Medicine by Wong Kang Ying and Martha Dahle, photos by Christina @,)