Codonopsis is an herb. People use the root to make medicine.
Codonopsis is used to treat HIV infection and to protect cancer patients against the side effects of radiation treatment. It is also to boost the immune system; and to treat weakness, loss of appetite (anorexia), chronic diarrhea, shortness of breath, noticeable heartbeat (palpitations), asthma, cough, thirst, and diabetes.
Although codonopsis is sometimes used as a substitute for ginseng in general tonic formulas, none of the chemicals called saponins that are responsible for some of the effects of ginseng have been found in codonopsis.
How does it work?
Codonopsis contains chemicals that seem to slow down the growth of cancer cells. It also seems change the response of the immune system.
How to use Codonopsis pilosula for Chinese cooking?
It is not that Codonopsis pilosula is used only in traditional Chinese medicine. Most Chinese would be aware of this herb as it is used as an ingredient in many of their dishes. You can use it in steamed dishes and soups. Here are some ways to use the herb and its roots in your favorite dishes.
Fry Without Oil
When you use the herb, you can fry it with a little oil or even you can dry fry in a hot pan. Once fried, the leaves will reduce in quantity and in size and you can just sauté it in your dish. When you use the root, just cut it into very tiny pieces and fry it in some oil and finally add it to your cuisine.
Light Sweet Juice After Boiling or Steaming
After steaming or stewing both root and leaves, the remaining juice has a light sweet taste. Once boiled filter out the water and you now have the option to use the boiled water in your dish. This will add a sweet flavor to your dish along with bringing you the health benefits of the Codonopsis pilosula herb. The juice after steaming Daanshen also has a light sweet taste, which can be used for seasoning.
Soak in Saltwater
The other method to cook the root is to soak and peel the root. Then, you can soak it in salted water to remove any unhealthy toxins that the root might have attracted from the soil. After some time, remove it from the saltwater and then pat dry. Finally, slice the root thinly and add it to any of your favorite dishes.
You can also add a few pieces of the root into a pot when cooking rice. You can do in the same manner for cooking broths and soups. Even, you can use the fresh or dry root by letting them nibble on their own.