Summer Recipe: Herbal Tonic with Fresh Watermelon

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Drinking this slightly bitter tonic tea is a perfect way to cool down and nourish Qi, Blood and Yin in the summer heat. Xi Yang Shen and Gou Qi Zi are a great pair to nourish Yin and Blood, and generate fluids, particularly in the Heart and Lungs, but also in the Liver and Kidneys. Xi Yang Shen and Ling Zhi are paired to benefit the Qi, calm the Shen, and nourish the Blood in the Heart, Lung, Liver and Kidney. This trio of herbs promotes a healthy immune response, normal energy levels, mental clarity, and supports the body’s natural response to anxiety and irritability. The combination is particularly beneficial to treat Yin and Qi deficiency resulting in minor dry cough, to support healthy blood sugar levels, and is helpful for conditions of more severe Qi and Yin deficiency. Watermelon, particularly the white flesh, is a very cooling food that clears summer heat and benefits the fluids. The red flesh of watermelon contains the powerful carotenoid antioxidant lycopene, as well as being a good source of potassium and magnesium.


  • 2-3 cups fresh watermelon – just red or red and white flesh
  • 15g Xi Yang Shen/American ginseng* thinly sliced
  • 15g Ling Zhi/Reishi mushroom*
  • 15g Gou Qi Zi/ Chinese wolfberry*
  • 6-8 dates Hong Zao/Chinese red dates*
  • 3-4 slices Sheng Jiang/fresh ginger
  • Optional: add pineapple or mango juice
  • Garnish with fresh mint

*Can be purchased from your local herbal dispensary or though the dispensary at


  1. Reishi mushroom is fairly tough and woody, so if possible soak overnight in approximately 1 cup of fresh water. Otherwise soak for at least one hour.
  2. Rinse the other herbs and add to soaking Reishi for twenty minutes, adding additional water if needed to cover the herbs.
  3. In a Chinese herb pot (or ceramic, enamel, or possibly a stainless steel pot) add the herbs and the water they have been soaking in.
  4. Add another 1-2 cups fresh water.
  5. Cover, bring to a boil, then down to a simmer for 25 minutes, then turn off and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  6. Strain the cooled herbal decoction into a glass jar.
  7. Add 2-3 cups water to the herbs in the pot, cover and bring to a boil. Then reduce down to a lengthy simmer to maximize all of the essential ingredients of the tonic herbs - 45 minutes to 2 hours.
  8. In the meantime, purée, crush, or cut the watermelon into small pieces. Note: the white part of the watermelon can be bitter If you use a lot of the white part to increase the ability to cool summer heat, you may need to add more juice or other sweetener, and possibly lemon or lime to cut the bitterness.
  9. Cool and strain liquid into a glass jar. Combine the liquid from both decoctions and add sweetener to taste. (The initial mix may be quite bitter, which reminds us that the herbs are doing their work!) Good options include raw honey, which has a multitude of additional heath benefits, coconut palm sugar with a very low glycemic index, or stevia, which is completely non-caloric. Add pineapple or mango juice for flavor.
  10. Add the watermelon (and watermelon juice) and cool in the fridge for at least one hour.
  11. Drink cool or room temperature, garnish with mint, and drink to your health!

Keep refrigerated and drink within a week.

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