Codonopsis Pilosula Root

Ingredient Name: Codonopsis Pilosula Root, Radix Codonopsis Pilosulae

Chinese Name: 党參 or 黨參 (dǎngshēn)

What is this?
  • Typically, only the root of the codonopsis pilosula plant is used in chinese soups and medicine
  • It is also known as poor man’s ginseng because it is a milder and more economical substitute for ginseng
  • The root is believed to have many health benefits, and is mainly known as a chi tonic used to replenish chi in the body
  • It has a slightly sweet taste

How do I prepare it?

  • Simply rinse under running water and it is ready to use

Where can I buy this?

  • Codonopsis pilosula can be purchased at any Chinese dried herb shop

What is the cost?

  • 1/2 pound of codonopsis pilosula costs approximately $50 CAD

Any benefits?

  • In traditional Chinese medicine, the root of c. pilosula is used as a tonic for lungs and spleen.  It is believed to lower blood pressure, increase red and white blood cell count, cure appetite loss, strengthen the immune system and replenish chi
  • Women who have recently given birth are encouraged to use this herb during the traditional postpartum confinement period to nourish their blood and improve uterine function
  • In the Western world, pharmacological research has indicated that the herb promotes digestion and metabolism, helps to strengthen the immune system, stimulates the nervous system, and lowers blood pressure.

Any precautions?

  • It is slightly heaty and should be avoided if you are excessively heaty

References

Arrowroot

Ingredient Name: Arrowroot or Obedience Plant
Traditional Chinese Name: 粉葛 (fěn gé)
What is this?
  • Arrowroot is the edible starch from the rhizomes (rootstock) of West Indian arrowroot
  • It is often ground down to a powdered starch form which is completely white and powdery in form
  • The powder itself is used as a thickener, in cakes, pies, soups, and sauces
  • The rhizome itself can grow up to 6-7 pounds in weight at maturity
  • Arrowroot has no flavour or smell, but when boiled it has a slighty nutty sweet taste
  • If used in soups as cubes, the root is very fibery and coarse

How do I prepare it?

  • Wash and peel the arrowroot
  • Cut into cubes for soup usage

Where can I buy this?

  • You can buy arrowroot from most Asian supermarkets
  • It is also available in the wet marts in Hong Kong and can be bought by preference of weight and size

What is the cost?

  • Arrowroot costs roughly $1.00 CAD / pound, so a large arrowroot can easily cost $5 – $6

Any substitutes?

  • A good substitute for the arrowroot in soups is the lotus root

Any benefits?

  • Due to its blandness, it’s suitable for many diets (especially soups for children)
  • The arrowroot does contain a healthy amount of calcium
  • It is recommended for people who feel nauseous to consume arrowroot and helps soothes upset stomachs

Any precautions?

  • The arrowroot is not a highly nutritious food with 84% of the root composed of starch
  • Arrowroots can be quite dirty and need to be thoroughly washed prior to consumption
  • If purchasing arrowroot powder, be sure to purchase it from a reputatble source as some sources many not sell PURE arrowroot

Additional Information?

  • Fresh arrowroot stores relatively well in the fridge and can keep for up to 1 month

Resources:

Lotus Root

Ingredient Name:  Lotus Root or Lotus Rhizomes (Fresh)

Traditional Chinese Name:  蓮藕 (liánǒu)
 
What is this?
  • The root of the lotus flower that grows underwater
  • It is usually long (can grow up to 4 feet in length) and brown in colour and resembles the shape of a squash
  • The interior is lighter in colour and contains holes (as pictured above)
  • The lotus root is crunchy and slightly sweet in flavour – it is also accompanied by a stringy texture when eaten
  • Lotus roots can be eaten raw and is used in a variety of Asian cuisines

How do I prepare it?

  • The lotus root is often peeled before usage
  • Rinse under cool water to remove any debris and dirt
  • For soups, it is best cut into edible large cubes

Where can I buy this?

  • You can purchase fresh lotus root in most Asian supermarkets
  • You should purchase lotus roots that are firm in texture and have an even outer colouring

What is the cost?

  • Lotus roots cost on average around $2.00 CAD per pound

Any benefits?

  • Lotus roots are high in dietary fiber, vitamin C, potassium, riboflavin, vitamin B6, phosphorus, copper, manganese
  • It is low in saturated fat

Any precautions?

  • The lotus root can be eaten raw, but there is a risk of parasite transmission

Additional Information?

  • The lotus root should be wrapped in plastic and stored in the fridge
  • Ideally, fresh lotus root can be kept for up to one week in the fridge

Resources