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Strengthen your Back and Knees Soup

This is a soup to strengthen the knees, spine and back.

The lower back and knees are the areas of the body related to the Kidneys according to traditional Chinese medicine and as such when suffering from chronic pain and weakness of these areas can indicate a disharmony in the Kidneys. This traditional soup recipe contains ingredients used to strengthen the Kidneys, and reinforce the knees and back. It also helps to resolve Damp which slows healing in the back and knees. It also helps to circulate Qi and Blood, and is high in silicon which is essential for the strength of the bones and connective tissues.

This soup can be used to aid healing after an injury or surgery, or to maintain health of the lower back and knees.


  • 1 litre chicken stock, made from broken chicken bones
  • 2 small handfuls Pearl Barley or Coix Seeds (yì yĭ rén)
  • 2 small handfuls black beans (cooked)
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 1 large carrot
  • Black pepper
  • Dash of rice wine

Note: Coix Seeds or Chinese barley are used in Chinese herbalism for clearing dampness, especially when this relates to joint pain, and can be cooked in the same way as pearl barley. Shaoshing rice wine is a popular Chinese cooking wine. Both are available from Chinese supermarkets.


Prepare your stock. Add barley (or coix seeds) and celery and simmer for 45 minutes. Add chopped onion and garlic and cook for another 10 minutes. Add carrot and cook for a further 5 minutes, or until all ingredients are cooked. Add the cooked beans, a dash of rice wine and a good amount of black pepper. Cook for another couple of minutes, then serve.

This soup can be frozen for later use.

James O’Sullivan - that's me, a people friendly practitioner and lecturer of Integrated Medicine, serving my patients, my students and the public with the positive benefits of both Conventional Western Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine. It's a wonderful life
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to diagnose or assess. The information provided is not to be considered a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care practitioner.
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