01 February 2013

Peanut Root Soup for Growth

It is a Chinese belief that making soup from the roots of the peanut / groundnut plant for children - usually male children - just before or round-about their puberty, will help them reach their full height potential.

I remember my Mom telling me this when I was about 11 or 12 years old. But she never made it for me as I am a girl. They didn't want a girl to grow too tall (hard to find a husband it seems!).

Fortunately, I am considered fairly tall for a Chinese girl, about 5 feet 6 (166 cm).

Having a boy and a girl of my own, with my boy soon turning 12 and with his voice breaking now, my interest in the peanut root soup was rekindled. Here in Ipoh, I asked a couple of friends and one said she did make it for her son.

No harm trying, I thought. A tall boy is better than a short boy, haha!
 
I looked up the net to see if others had tried this soup, and I found lots of people have! Some claim to have grown taller thanks to the soup while others say that it had no effect.

The Star newspaper had a writeup (answering a question) on this some time ago, and I have copied the information below:
I was informed by numerous people within the Chinese community that soup made from roots of peanut will help youngsters to grow taller, especially when given to them during their teen years, but it is not advisable to serve them the soup after they have reached 16. The roots are usually boiled with a young male chicken for three to four hours. Boys whose voices are starting to break are given three doses of the soup. Can you elaborate on this? – G.P. Ng
Not only peanuts popular in Chinese diet, but the seed coat, shell, leaves, stem and roots are useful as well. Peanut is commonly used in making soup. Boiling it together with barley, red date and si seg makes a cheap yet nutritious soup that supplies essential nutrients for the young and aged.

The nut and roots of the peanut are used to make nutritious soups.
The seed coat of peanut, especially those red in colour, is used to treat problems concerning blood and bleeding. Peanut shells are included in prescriptions for treating cough. Boiling fresh peanut leaves in water and drinking the concoction before bedtime is to ensure a good night’s sleep. However, there is no scientific report on how soup made from peanut root would affect the growth of children.

On the other hand, in recent years, several healthful components were found in both matured and young peanut roots. Researchers at National Chiayi University, Taiwan, have identified resveratrol in matured peanut roots (J. agri. food chem., March 2002).

Resveratrol is a potent antioxidant found in red wine. It has been touted as a health component with many healthful benefits including preventing cardiovascular disease and cancer.

A glucose-specific protein-like substance known as lectin has also been isolated from peanut seedling roots (Indian J. of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Dec 1993). People who are lectin-intolerant may have problems ingesting foods such as soya, wheat and legumes.
Would drinking peanut root soup during the teens help to increase immunity or decrease allergy problems in growing children, promote better health and even make them grow taller? These need to be investigated further. Nevertheless, the soup is very tasty and adults enjoy it too!
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I made my peanut root soup with the following ingredients (advised by friend):
  • 1 bunch of peanut roots (fresh or dried)
  • 1 black chicken (cut into large chunks)
  • 7 black shitake mushrooms (the black ones Chinese use all the time)
  • 1 litre of water
  • salt to taste

After washing the roots thoroughly, as well as washing and soaking the mushrooms beforehand, I put all the ingredients together and boiled for about 2 hours.

My son didn't mind the taste. It tasted rather earthy and "roasted" to me! My friend said to just make this soup once for my son, but after reading the Star, maybe I'll make it for my son twice more. Believe it or not!

(images from annieliciousfood.blogspot.com, treehugger.com, ars.usda.gov)

25 comments:

  1. hii, you mentioned not advisable to give children this soup after the age of 16, may i know why? My son is not tall but he is already 16, i only started giving him this soup when he was 15 and he has not grown much. tq

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  2. Hi Don Lucia

    Thanks for dropping by my blog!

    Honestly, I don't know why it is not advisable to give this soup after 16 years old. It is an old Chinese belief which I can't get any verification for....hahaha!

    Perhaps it is because people believe that teenagers would have reached their maximum growth by the time they are 16? I have a friend who told me I can only give my son the soup BEFORE he turned 12! So, I guess different people have different beliefs about this soup.

    If you are concerned about your son's height, I would give him the soup maybe a couple more times. Who knows? It might work! Other than that, make sure he eats a good balanced diet as a growing boy needs all the nutrients he can get. And physical exercise. Good luck!

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  3. Can you tell the steps ? After bought it..what should I do and then..

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    1. Hi Aaron. It's quite simple.

      After you buy a bunch of the peanut roots wash them well in running water. The roots could have soil still stuck to them. You can soak the roots for a few minutes, change the water and soak them again.

      Wash and soak the shitake mushrooms until soft. Clean the chicken as you would normally and cut into chunks.

      Lastly put all the ingredients together and boil away. You may add about 6-10 red dates for added taste.

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  4. Hi
    My son is fifteen now-----is there any hope to let him grow taller?
    Reply as fast as possible ………tq

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    1. Hi Justine! Why are you panicking? Calm down, don't worry, I'm sure your son still has time to grow. Kids grow till about 17-20.

      You could try this peanut root soup recipe for him. In addition, my mom said my aunt's kids are all quite tall although the parents are not that tall. Their family had a groundnut farm here in Ipoh and they used to take quite a lot of peanut soup.

      Try to buy the fresh variety of groundnuts from the wet market, and make your soup the usual way - with kampung chicken or regular chicken (and if you are NOT Muslim, with pork ribs [have to be extra careful here about the pork bit]), add some wolfberries, red dates, salt to taste voila! If you can't find fresh groundnuts, then just go with the dried peanuts that you get from the provision shop/ supermarket.

      It's generally believed that peanuts help children grow taller. We take peanut soup quite regularly at home, and also have peanut dishes. My kids are quite tall, but then again, I am tall for a Malaysian girl.

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  5. my girl is now 14 at 5'4"...but we want her to be at 5'6"...is it advisable for her to take the peanut root soup?

    a caring dad...

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  6. Hi Daniel, wow u are such a caring dad. From what I've been told, it's not advisable for girls to drink this soup. Risky...in case the girls grow TOO tall then you will have a different problem! Besides your girl is only 14 and has up to 17 or 18 to grow another 12 few inches. I myself am 5'6" and probably reached my maximum height around 17. Don't be too anxious Daniel.

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  7. Hi...I m an Indian teen Girl whose 5 foot and 14 yrs for now ...i m quite depressed of height and wish to grow few more inches around 5'4 ..my dads 5'7 and half ..my mom is 5'0 and my bro is 5'8 and more( though he's just 16)...so i just want to know more about the soup..will it help me...i've hit puberty when 12...so want to grow taller? pls help me

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    1. Hi Gagan, 5 feet is not bad, actually as Asians are not usually very tall. So you are the same height as your mom?

      If you wish, you may try to drink this soup as per the instructions I have given. The Chinese traditionally do not give this soup to girls as we are afraid that they will grow too tall! That will be a different problem, yes?

      Good luck!

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  8. Im now 22 years old izit too late for me to drink this soup now?

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  9. Hi estherabee hmmmm, yes I am afraid it is a bit too late for you to drink this soup now as you have passed your growth spurt.

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  10. Peanut root tea is said to cure swollen prostate for old men better than any pills or herbs. I guess it has something to do with male hormon that may not be good for girls or healthy men.

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  11. Sports activities during children or teenagers' growing years will stimulate the growth of their body and height. Swimming is another activity to help grow taller and stronger. Kids who do not have enough sleep tend to be smaller too.

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  13. Dear Kl girl now in Ipoh,

    Thanks for sharing, I was told by some of my friends about this peanut root soup but unfortunately they were not sure how to cook it.
    I stumbled upon your blog and now learned how to do it, thanks to you. My son is only 131 cm and he is 12 years old, btw he is shortest is his class.
    May I know how often and how long do I need to give him this soup. Is it ok to serve him once a week?. Please elaborate on that if you could. Thank You again.

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  14. Hi Basky
    As far as I know, the peanut root soup is served just a few times after boys reach about 11 or 12 years of age. Once a week sounds too often. But then again, if you are concerned about his height, and this is just a soup right, I guess it might be ok to make the soup for him once in a couple of months?

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  15. Hey do u know where can I get ground nut roots in kl? I can't seem to find them..

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  16. Charmain Foo, hello! I am so sorry I can't suggest any place in KL to find the peanut roots.

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  17. We use to buy from section 25, Sri Muda market

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  18. Hey am 18 now at 170cm
    Was wondering what if I drank this soup everyday a bowl of around 325ml , would this be bad or would it bring any good?

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  19. Hi Jeremy

    I believe this soup might help, but I don't think you should drink it everyday! I have never been told to prepare it for daily consumption. So just to be safe, just take it once in a few months. Does your mother prepare it?

    But hey! Don't worry too much. Your height seems quite good to me, and besides, boys can grow till about 20 years old. Keep active and stay healthy, ya?

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  20. Hi is this soup ok for children under 3 years old? I find my boy quite short so I bought the peanut roots from market this morning. Not very sure can I give it to my son after reading your blog cos u said its for teenagers. Please advise

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  21. Hi Ann, so sorry for my very late reply. You have probably given the soup to your son anyway, hahaha!

    Honestly I don't know as this kind of knowledge is handed down from our elders with rather unspecific instructions. All I know is that teenaged boys benefit from it.

    Your son is only 3, relax! Boys' growth lag behind girls but they will play catch up in their teens very quickly.

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