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Healing Maiden Soup

Healing Maiden Soup

Healing Maiden Soup

OK, ladies.

It’s that time of the month and you’re feeling crampy, bloated, and maybe also dehydrated all at once. Maybe you get headaches and are a little weepy, too.
I’ve found that sometimes, the right food can really help. Hence, my Healing Maiden Soup.

This soup is nourishing, has lots of vitamins and minerals, and is comforting and re-hydrating.  I may be called a blasphemer for this, but… once in a while, there are just some things that chocolate can’t fix. For those times, there’s soup.

Our first ingredient is Stinging Nettle. Nettle is a treasure trove of  nutrients! The dried leaf of nettle contains 40% protein, and also vitamins A, C (perhaps fresh only), D, E, F, K, P, b-complexes, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, high content of the metals selenium, zinc, iron, and magnesium, and also boron, sodium, iodine, chromium, copper,  sulfur and sixteen free amino acids.
Source: http://www.herballegacy.com/Vance_Chemical.html

During this particular phase of a woman’s moon cycle, she needs all the extra nutrients and metals that she can get, particularly iron and selenium. This is what makes nettle such a great ingredient.

But there’s more…

Reishi mushrooms have been known to boost the immune system (which can take a hit when your body is using most of its energy on your moon cycle),  fight viral infections,  help with fatigue and stress, and a whole host of other things. Reishi is also known for emotional and spiritual healing, and can be useful during a time when we are more susceptible to the emotional tides of our moon cycles.

Shiitake mushrooms are good for the kidneys and liver, which helps with the overall load of stress your body is delegating to those organs.  I would theorize that it may also aid the nearby adrenals, which sit atop the kidneys and are considered part of them, in Chinese medicine. Overworked adrenals make handling stress a nightmare, and who needs that?

Sidenote: All mushrooms produce vitamin D2 upon exposure to the UVB rays of sunlight or broadband UVB fluorescent tubes. You can literally take mushrooms you just bought or grew, throw them in a window gills-up (try not to heat them up) for a day or two, and get a higher Vitamin D content from them. This is a great trick in the winter, when sun exposure is lower.  You also always want to heat mushrooms in order to receive their nutritional value. Uncooked mushrooms are essentially just fiber, as the nutrients are not available to our bodies without being heated in some way.  High heat and alcohol also kill those nutrients, so a simmering tea or soup is best, rather than frying or tincturing.

Next, we have some roots. Ginger and turmeric add flavor, but are also great anti-inflammatories, which can help with feelings of being bloated, and also with cramping.

Escarole, the featured green in this soup,  is a member of the chicory lettuce family, and its nearly 50 micrograms of vitamin K per serving supplies between 60 and 74 percent of an adult’s daily vitamin K requirement. Vitamin K is essential in proper blood clotting, which is important for menstruating women.  It also contains approximately 1.9 milligrams of vitamin C and 64 micrograms of folate, as well as 16 milligrams of calcium — 1.6 percent of the RDA of calcium for all adults — and 0.46 milligrams of iron. This amount of iron only fulfills 2.5 percent of the RDA of a woman’s RDA of iron, but having a high iron content is not always good, so in conjunction with nettle, we have multiple sources available, without risk of too much.  Escarole is also high in calcium and potassium, two essential nutrients that we are often lacking sufficient amounts of.
Source: http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/benefits-escarole-lettuce-2188.html

Leeks contain 52.2%  RDA of vitamin K, and together with the 60-70% found in escarole, make sure that our blood remains healthy. They also contain important amounts of the flavonoid kaempferol, which has repeatedly been shown to help protect our blood vessel linings from damage, including damage by overly reactive oxygen molecules. They are also high in folates and manganese, contain Vitamins A, C, and B6,  calcium,  potassium and iron.

As you can see, this soup is a powerhouse of nutrients, so without further adieu, here is the recipe.

Healing Maiden Soup

Ingredients:

Water
Reishi mushrooms – dried
Shiitake mushrooms – fresh
Dried Nettles (can also use fresh, instead of Escarole)
Fresh Escarole
Rice noodles
Leeks
Fresh ginger root – 1/2 inch (do NOT use ginger powder, as it is too strong. If no fresh ginger is available, skip it.)
Sunflower, sesame or other oil – 1 TBSP
Turmeric
Applewood Smoked Sea Salt (Yakima), or other flavorful sea salt – 1 Tbsp or less, if desired
Tamari soy sauce (gluten-free version is available)

  1. Fill a small-medium sized saucepan with water and heat on medium-high setting until water begins to boil slightly.
  2. In the meantime, cut fresh mushrooms, ginger and leeks. Slice escarole into ribbons and then chop in half, so they’re not too long to eat.
  3. Crumble the dried reishi mushrooms or pull into pieces and set aside.
  4. Once the water is boiling, turn it down to a simmer.
  5. Add all mushrooms, leeks, ginger and escarole, and simmer on low-medium heat for about 10 minutes.
  6. Add the dried nettles, rice noodles, oil, turmeric, and sea salt and simmer until rice noodles are done.
  7. Add Tamari to taste, and serve.

Enjoy!