From Bump to Baby Kitchen Experimenter

Pregnancy Tonics: Herbal Soup with Dang Shen, Wolfberries and Red Dates

This simple yet nourishing pregnancy herbal soup with Dang Shen was shared by my mother-in-law, and my dear hubs helped to prepare the concoction after checking with her.

Dang Shen, also known as, Codonopsis Pilosula, is a type of Chinese herbs used mainly to boost immunity, reduce fatigue and stimulate the central nervous system.

While it looks very similar to Ginseng and Cordyceps, it is sometimes referred to as the “poor man’s Ginseng” because both Ginseng and Cordyceps are more costly.

This recipe was done using a slow cooker and simmered over approx. 6 hours before consuming. I’ve been buying my herbs from Eu Yan Sang, and drinking this pregnancy soup with Dang Shen for several years :)

Pregnancy Herbal Soup with Dang Shen, Wolfberries and Red Dates Recipe


1/2 black chicken – either black chicken or pork ribs can be used
Water – fill enough to cover ingredients or as desired.
Dang Shen, one strip sliced
Wolfberries, a handful
Red Dates, 10 – 15pcs

pregnancy tonics soup recipe
Wash and rinse the herbs before boiling the pregnancy tonics soup.


  1. Blanch the meat. Drain water and set meat aside.
  2. Rinse herbs and put into the slow cooker and pour water to keep ingredients submerged. Set at ‘Auto’ for the slow cooker to work its magic.
  3. Cook for approx. 4 to 6 hours, season with salt (if preferred, or go without any salt) and it’s ready to serve.
pregnancy tonics soup recipe
The medium-sized slow cooker works great for a 1 – 2 pax portion of pregnancy tonics soup. Yums!

Are Chinese herbs safe during pregnancy? Is Dang Shen suitable for pregnant mums?

Some online sources suggest that Dang Shen, which is a type of Ginseng, is unsafe to be consumed during pregnancy. There are certain types of Ginsengs which expecting mums should avoid, but with clearance from the TCM Herbalist, I’ve been drinking this Dang Shen black chicken soup for several years :) As always, prior to starting on any TCM herbs, always consult with a medical expert. This applies whether you’re pregnant or not :)

Benefits of drinking this black chicken soup with Dang Shen during pregnancy:

Benefits of Dang Shen: Boost immunity, reduce fatigue and stimulate the central nervous system
Wolfberries (or Goji berries): Aids in vision, beneficial to kidney and livers, and packs loads of antioxidants.
Benefits of Red dates: Coveted superfruit by the Chinese, boosting 70-80X more Vitamin C than grapes and apples, helps improve immunity and anaemia. Previously we did an iron-boosting drink during my first pregnancy as I was suffering from low iron levels, and it really did help!


  • Ensure meat is fully cooked before consuming the soup or meat.
  • Reduce the amount of water for a richer soup – the amount we used was a tad too much, so the soup ended up less concentrated.
  • Recommended consumption frequency: once to twice a week.
  • Enjoy the meat with some cut chilli and soy sauce, and serve with rice and veggies for a complete meal.
  • If you are unsure, always check with your doctor before consuming herbs during pregnancy.

Post-update: Now that Leroy is 4 years old, I’m still making this soup for my husband, Vera and myself from time to time. This herbal soup with Dang Shen helps to improve fatigue and iron levels too! So if you or your children suffer from low iron levels (like us!), you can try this soup!

Bowls up to better health, fellow mamas! What pregnancy tonics soups do/did you take during pregnancy?

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