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Chicken Essence Benefits: Why this Traditional Medicine is More Than Just a Myth

Chicken essence is a familiar staple in Asian households, but what is it, really? Find out what's inside it and why it's good for your health here.

Parents and their daughter enjoying healthy breakfast together.

Anyone who lives in Southeast Asia must have heard of or tried chicken essence. For school children in Malaysia, it is a must before taking exams at school or a common sight on TV and in magazines. Many families purchase it for elderly people as gifts too.

But do you know what chicken essence is? What are its ingredients and what makes it so valuable? In summary, what is chicken essence good for? In this article, we’ll discuss how chicken essence is good due to its nutritional values, and ways it can benefit your overall health.

What is Chicken Essence? 

Chicken essence is chicken broth a step further. It has gone through a complex process involving vacuum concentration, centrifugation, extraction using high temperatures, and sterilisation.

What is Chicken Essence Good For?

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) posits that essence of chicken is good because it warms the stomach and the Spleen. It can also tonify the Kidneys and nourish the qi and blood. Traditionally, it is well-known for its ability to improve one’s appetite, heal diarrhoea, weakness and fatigue, and increase breastmilk supply.

For over a century, the chicken’s health properties have been highly praised. Black chicken in China’s Ming Dynasty was a key component in wu ji bai feng pills (乌鸡白凤丸). TCM believes the pills help nourish blood, improve fluid protection, calm the mind and improve focus and concentration.

Over time, chicken essence became better suited for modern lifestyles. It has thus become a popular and well-loved product, especially in Malaysia and the rest of Southeast Asia.

An overhead view of a female employee with her face down on her desk on top of her laptop.
Chicken essence is believed to heal fatigue.

Nutritional Value 

Several studies have discovered that essence of chicken is good because it carries valuable nutrients like minerals, proteins, vitamins, amino acids, and trace elements.

However, the two most crucial substances are carnosine and anserine. Both compounds are rich in antioxidants, a quality that gives chicken essence its value.

Health Benefits 

Chicken essence is well-known for its many health benefits. Studies have discovered that it contains a significant number of nutrients, which is why it’s especially popular with elderly people.

Here are some chicken essence benefits.

Improves physical performance 

According to a 2014 study, chicken essence can help decrease biomarkers related to physical fatigue and injuries. Furthermore, it increases tissue glycogen content, which is a vital energy source.

Fighting mental fatigue 

Do you ever have difficulty concentrating and solving problems? Do you feel confused, anxious, or easily irritated? Have you been losing sleep and your interest in the things you usually enjoy? If you’re saying “yes” to any of these questions, you might be suffering from mental fatigue.

In a 2013 study that 20 men participated in, it was found that daily intake of chicken essence is effective in helping one recover from the effects of mental fatigue.

Additionally, pure chicken essence benefits pregnant women, postpartum mothers, and children by helping with mental fatigue and beyond.

As such, the benefits of chicken essence are comprehensive and are vital in boosting your overall health and wellbeing.

Chicken Essence in TCM 

It is widely recognized by TCM that regular consumption of chicken essence will improve the Spleen and stomach’s digestive function, because the liquid tonic preparation progress has broken down into smaller, more easily digested peptides. Moreover, TCM posits that chicken essence benefits can improve qi (vital energy) and blood circulation.

Furthermore, physicians typically combine chicken essence with other Chinese herbs to amplify its medicinal properties. Some of those herbs and their health benefits are:

Essence of chicken with dang gui and shou wu 

Benefits: Promotes blood circulation, tonifies Liver and Kidney.

Suitable for: Anaemia, hair loss, fatigue. 

In TCM, physicians usually prescribe Chinese angelica (dang gui, 当归) for women to manage period pain and regulate menstruation. Studies have found that the herb does this through its ability to control uterine contractions.

Polygonum multiflorum or fleeceflower root (shou wu, 首乌) is known for promoting hair growth by activating dermal papilla cells (DPCs), according to a 2020 study. Among the cells in hair follicles, DPCs are the ones that play a crucial role in hair growth. 

A young girl smiling happily and taking a selfie while touching her hair.
When combined with other herbs, chicken essence is good for hair health.

Essence of chicken + American ginseng and shu di (熟地) 

Benefits: Nourishes qi and blood, tonifies the Liver and Kidney. 

Suitable for: Qi Deficiency, cold limbs, fatigue. 

Unlike Asian ginseng, American ginseng is milder. From TCM’s point of view, American ginseng nourishes yin (passive energy). A 2019 study reported that American ginseng owes its medicinal properties—including anti-cancer and anti-diabetes—to one of its active compounds called ginsenosides.  

In TCM’s opinion, Rehmannia glutinosa (shu di) tonifies blood, according to another 2019 study investigating TCM formulas’ effects on menopausal hot flushes. It found that shu di improves the symptoms and the peripheral blood flow. Therefore, consuming American ginseng and shu di with the essence of chicken benefits those low on qi.

Essence of chicken + huai shan (淮山)

Benefits: Restores the Spleen and stomach’s function for better absorption. 

Suitable for: Children and adults with poor appetite. 

Chinese yam (huai shan) contains amylase, an enzyme that helps digest food. This is why consuming chicken essence and huai shan can enhance the absorption by the Spleen and stomach. 

Essence of chicken + ginkgo biloba 

Benefits: Has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, helps form platelets, boosts circulation and improves memory.

Suitable for: People with poor concentration and memory, and older adults with age-related mental decline. 

Findings from a 2011 study suggest that ginkgo biloba improves the working memory of the elderly. Hence, the combination of ginkgo biloba and the essence of chicken benefits your physical and mental health.

Chicken essence benefits are not just a myth. Science has found evidence explaining why chicken essence is good and part of a tradition that has been passed down for more than 100 years. From being a medicine in the Ming Dynasty to the product we see today, chicken essence has grown and adapted well to suit modern lifestyles. Hence, the benefits of chicken essence should never be underestimated.

References

  1. Institute of Food Technologies. 2012. Bioactivities of Chicken Essence [Accessed 20 February 2022] 
  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information. 2014. Chicken Essence Improves Exercise Performance and Ameliorates Physical Fatigue [Accessed 20 February 2022]
  3. National Center for Biotechnology Information. 2013. Effects of chicken essence on recovery from mental fatigue in healthy males [Accessed 20 February 2022] 
  4. Delune. 2018. How Dong Quai Can Help Relieve Dysmenorrhea & Painful Period Cramps [Accessed 21 February 2022] 
  5. National Center for Biotechnology Information. 2020. Polygonum multiflorum extract support hair growth by elongating anagen phase and abrogating the effect of androgen in cultured human dermal papilla cells [Accessed 21 February 2022] 
  6. National Center for Biotechnology Information. 2019. American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolium L.) as a Source of Bioactive Phytochemicals with Pro-Health Properties [Accessed 21 February 2022]
  7. National Center for Biotechnology Information. 2019. Chinese herbal formulae for the treatment of menopausal hot flushes: A systematic review and meta-analysis [Accessed 21 February 2022] 
  8. Espacenet. 2012. Chinese Yam Flour [Accessed 21 February 2022] 
  9. National Center for Biotechnology Information. 2011. Examining Brain-Cognition Effects of Ginkgo Biloba Extract: Brain Activation in the Left Temporal and Left Prefrontal Cortex in an Object Working Memory Task [Accessed 21 February 2022]

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Reviews (4)

SusanDec 14 2022

I am a breast cancer survivor 7 over yrs. Can i take essence of chicken

All Things Health TeamDec 16 2022

Hi Susan, the function of essence of chicken is to improve overall energy and relieve fatigue. From TCM perspective, it is fine to consume essence of chicken.

Sheran MutukisnaOct 05 2022

Very useful information. However I am not sure whether my father who is 97 years with CKD stage 5 is recommended. He also has a l low HB level hovering around 70’s. Thank you.

All Things Health TeamOct 10 2022

Hi Sheran, for patients with Chronic Kidney Disease, it is unadvisable to have a high protein diet, and essence of chicken has a high protein content. Please check back with your medical professional before consuming.

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