Longevity Eight Treasure Congee

Longevity Eight Treasure Congee

by Dr. Helen HuDr. Helen Hu

Chinese porridge or congee (Zhou: 粥) is a thick soup that is made from grains. There are various ways of making and serving congee, and no special skill is required. Congee can be sweet or salty, thick or thin, with many or few ingredients, it all depends on your own personal taste.

Medicinal congee, is based on varieties of natural grains combined with selective vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, meat, eggs and certain herbs according to their property for healing, promoting well being and longevity.  As part of Traditional Chinese Medicine Food Therapy, medicinal congee has been refined, developed since period in Spring and Autumn and Warring States (770-220 BC)

Eight treasure congee is also called “The Eighth Winter Day Congee” (La Bao Zhou) and Buddha Congee.

According to TCM principles of rather using food as tonics rather than herbs “ The Eighth Winter Day Congee”  is consumed like winter tonic food on special days of each winter (Luna Calendar, the Eighth of December) as a Traditional Chinese Holiday. The original recipe uses eight ingredients.  The number eight is a lucky number in the Chinese culture, even though many versions of it may have more ingredients than eight, people still call it Eight Treasure Congee.    Different versions of eight treasure congee have different ingredients for different types of healing.  Most ingredients include Chinese red date, red bean, black walnut, pine nut, dried persimmon, sweet rice, millets, tapioca, peanuts, apricot seed, sunflower seed, pumpkin seed, peach kernel seed and black sesame seeds.   The Eight days of Winter coincide with Buddha’s’ “becoming immortal day”  so that the Buddha temple adopts the folk day’s tradition and makes the Eight treasure congee  the same day,  later people call it “Buddha congee”..

A well known fact regarding longevity, “Ba Ma County ‘in Guang Xi province of China, the majority of villagers lived up to 100 and more, all consumed congee in their two meals out of the three per day. This gives the name of Longevity Eight treasure congee

Here are a few versions of ‘Longevity’ Eight treasure congee:

One of the most respected Shaolin monks Ji Qin, who was still active after he reached 100 years old, every morning, would climb five peak mountains in only 20-30 minutes. One of his secrets was to consume “Longevity Eight treasure congee” daily. According to a high rank monk Wan Zhang stated, “It can strengthen the Spleen (the earth element of the body) and harmonize stomach, nourishing the Kidney organ (water element of the body) in order to promote longevity.”

Shaolin Longevity Eight treasure congee ingredients

Millets: 150g
Rice: 50g
Peanut: 25g
Walnut: 15g
Pine nuts: 5g
Red bean: 10g
Hawthorns: 10g
Chinese red date: 5 pieces (without kernel)
Rock sugar

Cooking instructions: Put all nuts and beans in a ceramic pot with 500ml water to cook for one hour, then add millets and rice and continue cooking at a low temperature till everything becomes very soft and smooth. Then add rock sugar, red dates and hawthorn fruit at the end and continue cooking for another 10-15 minutes.

Intake: Eat it warm at noon time every day.   Half bowl for elderly and 1 to 1 ½ bowls for young adults.

The congee should be consumed during spring, fall and winter seasons.

Longevity Eight Treasure Congee

Spring rice (or sushi rice): 50g

Longevity Eight Treasure Congee

Yi yi ren: 30g
Sunflower seed: 10g
Lotus seeds: 30g (pre soak overnight)
Mung bean: 20g (peeled)
Black bean: 20g    (pre soak overnight)
Chinese red date: 5 pieces
Go ji berry: 15 g

Cooking instructions: Pre soak all beans overnight then cook in water for one hour, add rice, yi yi ren, go ji berries and dates in the pot and continue to cook at low temperature till congee become very soft.

Intake: Eat it warm 1- 2 times per day, better to add black sesame and black walnut power in the congee before eating.  One can add sugar to the taste or with salty vegetables.

Eight treasure congee

Dang shen (Codonopsis Root):  3g

Eight treasure congee

Bai zhu (Atractylodes Rhizome): 3g
Qian shi (Euiyale Seeds):3g
Fu ling (Hoelen): 3g
Lian zi (Lotus Seeds):3g
Bai bian dou (Hyacinth Bean):  15g
Yi yi ren (Coix Seeds): 10g
Shan Yao (wild Chinese yam): 10g
White rice: 150g

Cooking instruction:  Put Codonopsis Root and Atractylodes Rhizome in a cheese cloth, cook in boiling water for 40 minutes.   Use the herbal juice only with more water if needed, put all the rest of ingredients and rice in the pot, and then cooks at medium temperature until everything become soft and smooth.

Intake: Eat it as breakfast or alone at dinner, twice a day.

Euiyale Seeds

This form of congee is better for people who have a lot
of dampness, fatigue, water retention and gain weight.


Eight Treasure Congee

Rice: 50g

Eight Treasure Congee from Helen  Hu

Sweat rice; 30g
Millets: 30g
Soybean: 20g
Red bean: 20g
Mung beans: 20g
Chinese red date: 3-4 pieces
Dried lychee fruit: 10g

Cooking instructions: Soak all beans overnight then boil in water for one hour, add rice, sweet rice, millet, dates and lychee fruit in the pot and cook at low temperature till congee become very smooth.

Intake:  It can be seasoned with sugar or salted vegetables.  Eat it warm 1 – 2 times per day.

Function: this form of congee can nourish blood, improve sleep and strengthen body energy.

For more information about food therapies, please check the new book website at www.bodywithoutmystique.com.


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10 Responses to Longevity Eight Treasure Congee

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