Chinese Four Herbs Soup Si Shen Tang

Mar 16, 2021

Chinese Four Herbs Soup 四神汤

This is one of the most common and famous herbal soup recipes in Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat diarrhoea, strengthening the spleen and nourishing the digestive system. It also calms the nerves and improves poor appetite. It is particularly great for elderly who needs to regain their strength and appetite after a bout of illness or after surgery.

The name of this herbal soup in Mandarin directly translated means ‘Four Gods’. It has only 4 ingredients but when combined, it signifies that the soup is very powerful, like having the strength of four gods!

The four ingredients are Shan Yao, Qian Shi, Lian Zi, and Fu Ling.

Shan yao or Wild yam is rich in proteins, polysaccharides, vitamin C, calcium, minerals, enzymes, saponins and diosgenin and fibre. It dilates blood vessels, thereby improving blood circulation, enhancing overall wellness and especially for skin, it increases skin hydration, smooths wrinkles, increases skin elasticity and improves colour tone. It strengthens the spleen and stomach to aid digestion, nourishes the kidneys and lungs. Hence this soup is great for our skin as well.

Qian Shi (Euryvale) strengthens the kidney and spleen to stop diarrhoea, removes dampness to regulate our spleen and stomach. Qian Shi is generally used to for those with knee and back pain, frequent urination, leukorrhea, and diarrhoea.

Lian Zi (Lotus seed) calms the spirit, strengthens spleen and kidney. It is commonly used for diarrhea from chronic spleen deficiency, excess vaginal discharge for women, anxiety, and insomnia.

Fu Ling (Poria Cocos) helps to regulate water metabolism, removes dampness and calms the spirit (shen, 神) and helps relieve insomnia. It works at the heart, lungs, spleen and kidney meridians and improves the spleen function and help in nutrients absorption needed to maintain healthy skin conditions. This is a key ingredient in our Renew skincare range as well.

Ingredients of Si Shen Tang Chinese Four Herbs Soup

Who should drink this soup?

  • Those suffering from malnutrition, poor appetite, or who wants to gain weight

  • If you experience frequent diarrhea or have weak digestive system

  • Women who feel hormonal imbalance, having dull skin, experiencing insomnia

  • Elderly who just recovered from illness/surgery and wants to regain strength and appetite

  • During pregnancy or post-partum to boost nutrition

  • Also suitable for children to improve their appetite

How to drink this soup?

  • This soup is best taken warm on an empty stomach early in the morning for better absorption and to warm up the digestive system.

  • It is usually cooked as a savoury soup with some meat (protein) and all the herbs can be consumed. You can add additional fresh Shan Yao if you like to eat the fresh ones.

  • It can also be cooked as a dessert, just add rock sugar and other ingredients for a sweet dessert.

  • Many supermarkets and traditional chinese medicine shops sell prepacked herbs. You just need to buy the meat and add it in, so its very convenient.


Chinese Four Herbs Pork Rib Soup 四神排骨汤


  1. Dried Wild Yam (Shan Yao )30g ; 山药 30g

  2. Lotus seeds (Lian Zi) 30g; 莲子30g

  3. Euryvale (Qian Shi) 20g; 芡实20g

  4. Poria Cocos (Fu Ling) 50g; 茯苓 50g

*Or replace no. 1-4 with 1 pack of prepacked herbs (which is what I bought from a local TCM shop in Singapore, its relatively inexpensive. )

1 packet of Si Shen Tang bought from Chinese Medical Hall or TCM shop

  1. Pork ribs 300g ; 排骨 300g

  2. Salt 1 tsp ; 盐 1 tsp

  3. Rice wine 15ml ; 米酒15ml

  4. Water 1.5l ; 水 5l


  1. Wash the pork ribs and blanch in hot boiling water. Wash away the scum and set aside.

  2. Rinse the 4 herbs and place them in a pot of water (1.5l). Add in the pork ribs.

  3. Use medium to high heat to boil for 30mins then turn the heat to medium-low to simmer for another 30mins.

  4. Add in the salt and rice wine to taste.

  5. Serve warm.

 Add pork ribs (or chicken) to the four herb soup or Si Shen Tang to add protein and flavour

Put all ingredients of Si Shen Tang into a pot I used a claypot to cook all my soups as its more flavourful

I usually use a claypot to cook my soups as i find that it cooks faster and they lose less liquid during cooking and the soups are more flavorful. You can use any pot to cook this soup. 

Si Shen Tang cooked with pork ribs in a bowl , Chinese four herbs soups cooked iwith pork ribs served in a bowl

There! This is my completed Si Shen Tang (Four Herbs Pork Rib Soup). It looks a little oily as the pork ribs that I used might be a little fatty.  

Chinese Four Herbs Chestnut Soup 四神粟子糖水


  1. 1 pack of Four herbs (prepacked); 四神料包1包

  2. Shelled Chestnuts 150g ; 粟子肉 150g

  3. Rock sugar 200g ; 冰糖 200g

  4. Water 1.5l ; 水 5l


  1. Rinse the herbs in water, add them into a pot of boiling water. Boil with medium heat for 30mins.

  2. Add the chestnuts and the rock sugar. Boil for another 10 mins till rock sugar dissolves.

  3. Serve warm.

*If you don't like chestnuts, you can also add other ingredients such as dried longans, red dates, gingko nuts, etc.