Itchy Skin Recipes

Originally published April 26, 2022. Papaya peanut chicken soup

Spring returns!

Blooming flowers, green leafy trees, warmer weather, feelings of renewal and growth, and possibly...... dry, itchy, lackluster skin. The effects of cold and windy winter months followed by drier springtime weather can make our skin more vulnerable to peeling, itching and dryness.

This is called “dryness syndrome “in traditional Chinese medicine, and can originate from Blood and Yin deficiency, possibly exacerbated by the heavier foods we may have consumed during the winter months. Topical moisturizers will not address the root cause of these patterns, so it is optimal to also nourish the Yin and Blood from within. Here are two delicious recipes to help you do just that!

Collagen, which is the protein that helps to form bones, tendons, muscles, cartilage and skin, is naturally found in the connective tissue, skin and bones from animals and fish. Our bodies’ own production of collagen decreases with age, and is adversely affected by exposure to environmental factors as well as lack of sleep and exercise. Using the bones from the chicken and pork in these recipes will support collagen production to help brighten the skin and decrease dryness.

Papaya, Peanut, & Chicken Wing Soup

According to TCM, both raw peanuts and fresh, sweet papayas in our first recipe enter the Lung and Spleen meridians, tonify Qi and Blood, resolve phlegm and clear Damp congestion. This recipe is beneficial for those with dry skin and possibly weak muscles and bones. Hong zao / red dates are also sweet, entering the Spleen and Stomach meridians to support digestion. They are rich in vitamin C, which is necessary for nearly every step of collagen production. Sheng Jiang / fresh ginger root is warm and spicy, balancing out the sweetness in the recipe, benefiting the skin by increasing the circulation of Qi, fluids and Blood.


  • 1 whole papaya (a ripe Hawaiian is best)
  • ¾ c fresh or dried raw peanuts
  • ½ lb chicken wings (mid-joint is best)
  • 2 lbs pork humerus/femur bones (knob parts are best, with as much cartilage as possible, cut into pieces)
  • 5 pc red dates
  • 2 slices fresh ginger
  • Salt to taste

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Rinse and blanch bones in boiling water for 3-5 minutes. Discard water and rinse off scum.
  2. Cook bones in 6 cups of water on medium heat for 2 hours (less time in a pressure cooker).
  3. Peel the papaya, remove seeds, and cut into 2” chunks
  4. Wash, soak and pit the Hong zao.
  5. Put all ingredients into a soup pot with about 6 cups of water(including pork bone broth).
  6. Bring to boil then medium heat for 1.5 hours.
  7. Skim off oil, salt to taste and enjoy (definitely eat the cartilage, which is delicious if dipped in a bit of soy sauce!)

Stewed Black Chicken Soup with American Ginseng

This is a variation of our Chinese Herbal Chicken Soup recipe.

Prominently featured in both recipes is Wu ji / Chinese back chicken, which can be found frozen or fresh in most Asian markets as well as some online stores such as Because of the Yin and Blood nourishing properties of Wu Ji, it is extremely beneficial for the skin, as well as supporting the production of collagen.

Xi Yang Shen / American Ginseng, is a Yin tonic that enters the Heart, Kidney and Lung meridians, and is included because of its’ special function to generate the body fluids and moisten dryness. Sheng Jiang / fresh ginger root disperses Wind and helps to circulate Qi, fluids, and Blood. Hong Zao / red dates are included for the reasons noted above in the first recipe. Finally, Gou Qi Zi / Lycium fruit, which is one of our favorite Blood and Yin tonics, entering the Liver, Lung and Kidney meridians, has numerous phytochemical compounds to benefit the skin, including vitamin C, B1 and B2 and carotene.


  • 1/2 Black chicken/Wu ji
  • 3 gm of American ginseng
  • 3 red dates
  • 2 gm Gou qi zi
  • 2 slices Fresh ginger
  • Salt to taste

Cooking Instructions

  1. Wash the chicken.
  2. Blanch in a pot of boiling water for 3-5 minutes, skim off the foam.
  3. Remove the chicken and chop the chicken into large pieces.
  4. Put pieces in a clay cook pot/Dutch oven.
  5. Add remaining ingredients and 6 cups of water.
  6. Bring to boil then cook on medium heat for 1.5 hours.
  7. Salt to taste and enjoy!

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