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Food as Medicine: Eight Treasure Soup

Enjoy this naturally sweetened, healthy and auspicious dish in the new year. This traditional dish is filled with Chinese herbs that help nourish and calm our bodies through the winter.

Several of these ingredients are shown to prevent cell damage, aid in weight loss, improve digestive function and lower risk of heart disease and diabetes. They can decrease the risk of chronic disease with bioactive compounds involved in antioxidant, antitumor, liver protective, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antiviral activities.


Eight Treasure Soup


  • 3 tablespoons of dried adzuki beans

  • 3 tablespoons of dried lotus seeds

  • 3 tablespoons of dried lily bulb

  • 2 tablespoons of dried Chinese pearl barley

  • 2 tablespoons of glutinous rice

  • 3 tablespoons of dried Chinese jujube

  • 3 tablespoons of dried longyan

  • 3 cups of fresh shan yao (Chinese yam or Dioscorea opposita), peeled and chopped into bite sized pieces*

  • ~3 liters of spring water

* Note: we recommend using food prep gloves when handling fresh shan yao, as it may cause skin irritation.


  1. Wash all ingredients thoroughly and soak the first 4 ingredients in water overnight.

  2. Drain and rinse all ingredients.

  3. Add the rinsed ingredients along with the rice and dried jujube into a large stock pot and fill spring water.

  4. Cover and bring to a boil, simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally, and then add the longyan and fresh shan yao.

  5. Bring back to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  6. The soup should be thick like a congee or porridge.

  7. Serve warm.

Tip: We recommend using a rice cooker. You can add all the ingredients and set your rice cooker to the brown rice setting and make this with ease.



OK Kwon, MY Lee, JE Yuk, SR Oh; et al (2010). Anti-inflammatory effects of methanol extracts of the root of Lilium lancifolium on LPS-stimulated Raw264.7 cells. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. Volume 130, Issue 1, Pages 28-34

Zeng Y, Pu X, Du J, et al. Molecular Mechanism of Functional Ingredients in Barley to Combat Human Chronic Diseases. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2020;2020:3836172. Published 2020 Mar 30. doi:10.1155/2020/3836172

Maruyama C, Araki R, Kawamura M, et al. Azuki bean juice lowers serum triglyceride concentrations in healthy young women. J Clin Biochem Nutr. 2008;43(1):19-25. doi:10.3164/jcbn.2008039

Yang Yao, Guixing Ren. Suppressive effect of extruded adzuki beans (Vigna angularis) on hyperglycemia after sucrose loading in rats, Industrial Crops and Products, Volume 52, 2014, Pages 228-232,ISSN 0926-6690,

Amarowicz, Ryszard & Estrella, Isabel & HERNÁNDEZ, TERESA & TROSZYŃSKA, AGNIESZKA. (2008). Antioxidant activity of extract of azuki bean and its fractions. Journal of Food Lipids. 15. 119 - 136. 10.1111/j.1745-4522.2007.00106.x.

Arooj M, Imran S, Inam-Ur-Raheem M, et al. Lotus seeds (Nelumbinis semen) as an emerging therapeutic seed: A comprehensive review. Food Sci Nutr. 2021;9(7):3971-3987. Published 2021 May 6. doi:10.1002/fsn3.2313



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