Postpartum TCM Broth

How to cook Postpartum TCM Broth ~

2 March, 2022

The Dao Does… Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine Postpartum Recovery Broth

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) the first month after giving birth is crucial to the immediate and future health of both mother and baby. A time to rest, recuperate, and be supported. By planning ahead for the fourth trimester supports not only postpartum recovery but also the future menstrual cycle, fertility, and menopause.

The practice is traditionally known as ‘sitting the month’. Originally, sitting for a month was what a mother in China would do. She would be confined inside her home, away from the wind and cold, limiting socialising and encouraged to rest. The mother would be supported 24 hours a day with meals, massage, and abundant support with the baby. Surveillance that the mother would be following these guidelines would be by her mother or mother-in-law to ensure her recovery and future longevity. Sitting the month is still encouraged culturally in China with fourth trimesters in China available in a confinement hotel.

As will all great traditions, they tend to evolve with the times although it is exciting to see that now in Western culture, the fourth trimester is being encompassed and implemented in a mother’s recovery from pregnancy.

As mentioned, the idea of support, rest, and a specific diet is of paramount importance for a woman’s postpartum recovery. Chinese Dietary Therapy is a wonderful tool to support postpartum nutrition which makes a significant difference to the experience a mother has in her fourth trimester and her ability to recover well. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the postpartum diet should focus on nourishing Yin, Blood, and Qi and the way the food is prepared should be considered. In Postpartum care, we are supporting the body to be warm which involves cooking foods by using a slow cooker, boiling and roasting foods rather than eating raw foods.

When recommending resources for my pregnant patients to prepare for birth and their fourth trimester I recommend Gentle Birthing, Gentle Mothering by Sarah J. Buckley, The Golden Month by Jenny Alison, The First Forty Days by Heng Ou.

Other support places we recommend to research for your postpartum recovery are HQ Health supplements and The Golden Month Food Delivery Service.

A recipe that I highly recommend for patients is one that Jenny includes in her beautiful resource for new mothers. I recommend that the soup be prepared during the nesting period of the third trimester and frozen. It is important to note that the soup should not be consumed throughout pregnancy.

Chicken soup broth is famous in Traditional Chinese Medicine to nourish and warm the body. In the Fourth trimester in China, new mothers are recommended to have a diet of only Chicken Soup for one month postpartum, we do not recommend this although we recommend one bowl/cup daily throughout the first forty days.

This specific chicken soup broth recipe includes Traditional Chinese Herbs to tonify Qi, and strengthen Yin and Blood. I have modified this recipe to use a prepared Free-range or Organic chicken rather than a whole chicken which includes the fat glands, gizzard, and feet.


1 x whole Free Range or Organic Chicken

1 x Large Brown Onion

2 x Carrots

3 x Celery Sticks

1 x Bunch Parsley

Water to cover

Ground black pepper

Few slices of Fresh Ginger Root

Chopped Spring Onion

Season with Salt to taste

Traditional Chinese Herbs

30g Huang Qi ( Astragali Radix ) Tonifies Qi

30g Dang Shen ( Codonopsis Radix ) Tonifies Qi

10g Dang Gui ( Angelicae Sinensis Radix ) Tonifies Blood

30g Shan Yao ( Dioscoreae Rhizome ) Tonifies Qi

30g Yu Zhu ( Polygonati Odorati Rhizome ) Tonifies Yin

15 pieces Dao Zao/ Red Dates ( Jujubae Fructus ) Tonifies Qi



There are two methods that I recommend, depending on the availability of tools in your kitchen.


Method One with a Large Saucepan or Stock Pot


  1. Place chicken into a large saucepan or stock pot
  2. Roughly chop the onion, carrots, celery, ginger, and parsley
  3. Add Chinese Herbs
    4. Add water to cover
    5. Bring to the boil and simmer for at least two hours, the longer you let it simmer, the richer the flavour will be
    6. Remove from the heat, strain out the bones, vegetables, all Chinese herbs besides Da Zao ( red dates ) and let cool
    7. Skim off the fat when cool and store in the refrigerator for up to three days, or alternatively, freeze in portions to defrost and reheat as required
    8. Season well


Method Two with Slow Cooker


  1. Place chicken into the Slow Cooker
  2. Add finely diced Brown Onion, Carrots, Celery, Ginger, Parsley
  3. Add all Chinese Herbs
  4. Add water to cover
  5. Season with Pepper and Salt
  6. Turn Slow Cooker to High and cook for 7-8 hours, depending on your slow cooker
  7. Check your slow cooker and stir every 2 hours, add water if necessary so that the chicken is covered
  8. Once Chicken is cooked and tender, remove chicken and debone. Place chicken pieces back in the slower cooker
  9. Season to taste
  10. Skim off the fat when cool and store in the refrigerator for up to three days, or alternatively, freeze in portions to defrost and reheat as required

By Elizabeth Cullen