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Kristine, one of my regular cooking clients, contacted me the night before our cook day asking for something “healing.” She had just gone in for emergency surgery and was still recovering. She was also recuperating from the effects of anesthesia and stress.

I decided to prepare an impromptu soup, using the idea of “Grandma’s homemade chicken soup” as my starting point. We all know that chicken soup is the best medicine when you have a cold. But its benefits are so vast, it can even help you heal from an infection, especially after surgery.

I remembered that she had homemade chicken broth in the house, which is an amazing catalyst for recovery. To that, I incorporated ingredients with strong medicinal properties to create “Kristine’s Healing Soup.”

Healing Soup Ingredients

Lemongrass: Lemongrass offers an array of medicinal benefits and is in high demand due to its antibacterial, anti-fungal and antimicrobial properties. Lemongrass contains antioxidants, flavonoids and phenolic compounds, such as luteolin, glycosides, quercetin, kaempferol, elemicin, catechol, chlorogenic acid and caffeic acid, all of which provide an impressive range of medicinal aids. The main component of lemongrass is lemonal (aka, citral), which contains anti-fungal and antimicrobial qualities, and provides a distinct lemony aroma.

fresh lemongrass

Shiitake Mushrooms: Shiitakes consist of high levels of protein (18%), potassium, niacin and B vitamins, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. Shiitake mushrooms are said to enhance immune function, giving it a boost when needed. They have natural antiviral properties and are used nutritionally to fight viruses.

Homemade Chicken Bone Broth: Homemade bone broth is excellent for speeding recovery time. You’ve undoubtedly heard the old adage that chicken soup will help cure a cold. There’s even scientific evidence that supports this statement. Broth or stock plays an important role in healing as it is easily digestible, helps repair the lining of the gut and contains valuable nutrients. It also fights inflammation and inhibits infection, which is crucial after surgery.

Here is what Kristine said about the healing soup after she tried it:

“I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to have that soup you made last week. It was the perfect food post surgery, especially after not eating since 9pm the night before. I’ve been eating it all weekend and not sharing it with anyone. It’s very healing.”

Hope you enjoy.


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bowl of healing chicken and shitake soup

Kristine’s Healing Soup

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  • Author: Andrea Sprague
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x


The healing properties of chicken broth, paired with lemongrass and shiitake mushrooms, make for a healing, comforting soup. Perfect for recovery.


  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil + a little extra
  • 68 medium shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ medium onion, chopped, about 1 cup
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced, about 1 cup
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, trimmed and peeled down to about a 4-inch piece
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 6 cups chicken bone broth
  • 1/2 small head green cabbage, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1 cup cooked chicken (about 1 large chicken breast), shredded
  • 1 tsp salt


  1. Heat a pot over medium-high heat. Pour in 2 Tbsp. oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the mushrooms, stirring frequently, and sauté until they look cooked (no longer white and dry), about 2 minutes.
  2. Pour a little more oil into the pan and add the onion and carrots. Sauté until the onion is translucent, stirring frequently, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Slightly smash the lemongrass with the handle of your knife to help release the oils. Add the lemongrass and garlic, and sauté for about 30 seconds.
  4. Stir in the broth and cabbage, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Check that the cabbage and carrots are tender.
  5. Add the shredded chicken and remove lemongrass. Ladle into bowls and serve.


  • desiree says:

    The soup has lots of good foods, however, little taste unless salt is used. When healing from surgery or injury or illness, you should not use salt and have a low to no sodium diet. Sodium helps retain water, increase swelling, and can raise blood pressure. I have used this recipe but added ginger to combat any digestive issues from post procedure medications, to assist in swelling reduction, and it is a good anti-nausea spice as well too. This can be from medication or illness. I found doubling the lemon grass and simmering it longer, like in a crock pot, can yield more flavor.

    • Andrea Sprague says:

      Hello Desiree. I appreciate your response to my healing soup recipe. While I understand where you are going with being cautious with salt intake after a surgery or illness, good quality salt as used in this recipe does not promote increased swelling. Salt is necessary for food to taste good as well as for our cells to open up and receive hydration. Sodium from processed and packaged foods can be counter-indicated and have the result you are referring to.

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