If you have been reading our blogs for a while, there is a good chance that you have been introduced to the concept of “qi” by now – the life force that is flowing throughout our meridians from a chinese medicine perspective. But perhaps you don’t know that there are actually different types of qi one of which being “wei qi” which is a key component to our immunity.
Wei qi is our defensive qi. It is our armour against external pathogens such as cold and flu. Wei qi should be most active in the skin and muscles and manifests as fevers, chills and shivering. It is believed that the stronger the wei qi, the stronger the fever. Thus, chinese medicine and naturopathic medicine are not quick to suppress fevers. From a chinese medicine perspective, the sweating brought on by a fever is escorting the intruder out through the pores.
Aside from the physical manifestations of wei qi, it is also believed that there are psychological components of this qi. Wei qi is connected to our interpersonal boundaries. If we often find ourselves saying “yes” at times when we really want to be saying “no!”, our wei qi is likely weak.
- Here are some ways to strengthen your wei qi (& your immune system!) this winter:
- If it is not a “heck ya!”, say no.
- Wear layers.
- Talk to your ND about supplements and acupuncture to support your wei qi
Deep Immune Soup
– This soup features herbs that are known to strengthen wei qi.
1 Tbsp Avocado oil
1 quart miso, chicken, or vegetable broth
1 small yellow onion, chopped
3 tbsp grated fresh ginger root (or to taste)
5 clove garlic, chopped or crushed (or to taste)
1⁄2 cup fresh medicinal mushrooms (Maitake, Shiitake)
2 sticks Astragalus and/or Reishi mushroom **
1⁄2 lemon, juiced
1 carrot, grated
3 tbsp fresh, minced parsley
1⁄2 tsp Cayenne pepper (Capsicum sp.) or to taste
Add the avocado oil to soup pot on medium heat
Add garlic, onion, ginger and saute until soft
Add the carrots and saute for 3-5 minutes
Add the mushrooms and saute for 3 minutes
Add in the cayenne, salt and pepper and mix all together and let the flavours meld for 2 minutes
Add the broth and bring to a boil
Once boiling, reduce the heat, add the dried mushrooms and cover with a lid
Simmer for 20-25 minutes or until carrots are soft
Remove mushroom sticks and dispose
Add lemon juice and parsley
Add salt and pepper to taste
Use this as a base for an immune-boosting soup. You can add protein, change out the vegetables, serve over rice or change it to suit your family’s needs.
Note that astragalus is not to be used if you are currently sick as it could potentially block pathogens from being released.
** These herbs are usually the easiest to find however here is a list of the herbs traditionally used in deep immune soup:
Shan Yao (Dioscorea opposita)
Sheng Di (Rehmannia glutinosa)
Gou Qi Zi (Lychee Fruit or Lycii fructus)
Dang Gui Pian (Angelica sinensis)