American Ginseng Wine (Xi Yang Shen 西洋參)

Xi Yang Shen (American ginseng) is sweet, slightly bitter and cool. It helps to strengthen Qi, nourish yin

American Ginseng Roots

and generate fluids. Xi Yang Shen wine is ideal to help recovery from feverish illnesses or for chronic cases of qi and yin deficiency.  In addition to making a delicious aperitif, this wine can be used for all sorts of meat marinades, especially duck, chicken and pigeon.


25g/1oz Xi Yang Shen

570ml/1 pint rice wine

1 mason jar

Whole Xi Yang Shen roots need to be sliced into thin rounds. Place the Xi Yang Shen in a clean glass mason jar, cover with the rice wine, seal the jar with lid and wax paper and leave to stand for 4-8 weeks, shaking often (daily if possible).  I usually leave my tinctures for 6 weeks.

Keep the root in the bottle as long as the wine is at the level to cover it entirely and simply pour off the liquid as required.


While the wine will not really be ready for about 6 weeks, if you are impatient about trying your medicine you can harvest some of this amazing liquid medicine without ending the extraction process and harvesting all of it.  Once 2 weeks have passed, some of the important medicinal nature of the roots will have precipitated into the liquid wine.   All you do is simply pour off a small bit of the liquid, making sure the there is enough remaining wine to completely cover the roots.  You can let the wine tincture continue to soak and do it’s extraction process. All is good as long as you make sure to keep the roots completely submerged in the rice wine, as the roots should not be exposed to the air.  After taking some of the liquid for your use, it is also possible to add some additional, fresh rice wine if seems that the amount of liquid may not be sufficient to cover the roots 100%.

Use a Vinegar Vat for Making an Herbal Wine

Glass European Vinegar Vats

Alternatively, use a vinegar vat – a crock pot holding 2-3 litres (3 ½ – 5 ¼ pints) with an open top, closed with a large cork and a small tap at the bottom end. These can usually be bought in good-quality cookshops, from home wine-making specialists or from craft potters.

If using a vat, put 225g/8oz Xi Yang Shen into the pot and cover with 3 litres/5 pints rice wine. Draw glasses of wine as required. The vat can be topped up with fresh wine and used for many months.

Source: The Chinese Herbal Cookbook, by Penelope Ody

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1 Comment »

  1. What great idea for a marinade.

    “You will succeed because most people are lazy.” — Shahir Zag

    Comment by Ethan Ramirez — April 11, 2017 @ 9:51 pm

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