Bird’s Nest

Source Yanwo are the nests of some swiftlet species from the Collocaliini tribe within the swift family Apodiadae, such asCollocalia thunbergi, C. inexpeetata Hume,C. unicolor Jordon,C. linchi affinis Bearan, etc. These birds eat small fishes or seaweed and make nests with their gummy saliva high up on cave walls.

Producing Areas Fujian, Guangdong, Nanhai, South China Sea Islands, Thailand, Indonesia, Myanmar, Japan, etc.

Properties Sweet, Mild in Nature

Channels Lung, Stomach, Kidney


  • Nourishes yin and moistens dryness, benefits qiand nourishes spleen.
  • For weakness, cough and hemoptysis due to asthenia of viscera, asthma of the aged due to phlegm, it is used with rock sugar.
  • For hiccups due to adverseqi and gastric disorder, it can be used alone.
  • For vomiting, diarrhoea and breaking down of stomach-qi, it is used with Ginseng.
  • For excessive tiredness, insomnia and forgetfulness, it is used with Ginseng and old rice.
  • For malarial disease of the aged and the young, it is used with rock sugar.

Usage and Dosage
5 – 9g is cooked in a steaming pot or wrapped in silk cloth and stewed, or used as paste.

Notes Contraindicated for the person with asthenic coldness of the spleen and stomach, obstruction of phlegm-dampness and syndrome with pathogenic factors.

It is in an incomplete semi-circular shape, fan shape or irregular piece, 6.5 – 10cm long, 3 – 5cm wide, hollows intermediately. The surface is yellowish white or yellow brown. The outside is slightly arched with strands of salivary laminae cement where the strands show parallel alternate permutation and is slightly waved. The inside of the nest is rougher, like the dried fibrous vascular system of loofahs. It is crisp, with a translucent, slightly keratin-like broken surface. It is light in nature, with a delicate fragrance. Its volume expands several times after soaking in water.

Seal and keep in a dry place. Protect it from moisture, moths and being crushed.

Description of Quality HerbGood Yanwo is white and clean.

Professional Advice

Identify different Yanwo

  • Baiyan: It is the best one, purely white with few fine feathers.
  • Maoyan: It is the second class of quality, greyish white with greyish black fine feathers.
  • Xueyan: With reddish brown blood-strands, its quality is lower.

Identify Fakes

  • Real Yanwo: It splits slightly open and melts with bubbles over a spirit lamp, without black smoke and foul smell. The ash is white, light and dissolves in hydrochloric acid.
  • Fakes: It is usually made from starch, gelatin made from animal skin and bones, or gum, etc.

Identify wild Yanwo

  • Wild Yanwo: Yellowish white, tough, with fine feathers
  • Raised Yanwo: It is usually built in old buildings, white and loose, with few fine feathers.

Tips for a Healthy Life
The temperature inside the stewpot should be kept around 80 degrees so as to preserve the fragrance and nutritional content of the bird’s nest. The longer the bird’s nest has been soaked, the shorter the cooking time should be.

Bird’s Nest and Wolfberry Soup

Moistens the lungs and relieves coughing, nourishes the blood and soothes the mind. It is recommended for those suffering spontaneous sweating or dry cough.

Wolfberry 10g, longan aril 6g, bird’s nest 3g, rock sugar 30g.

1.Soak the bird’s nest for 1 hour and wash thoroughly. Rinse the wolfberry and longan.
2.Place all the ingredients in a stewing bowl and add enough water to fill 7/10 of the bowl.
3.Place the stewing bowl in a pot with enough water to fill the pot halfway. Double-boil over a low fire for 1 hour.

Lean Pork Soup with Bird’s Nest and Western Ginseng

Nourishesyin and clears heatiness, with a moistening and invigorating effect on the skin. It is recommended for those who have a dry and heaty constitution.

Western ginseng 5g, bird’s nest 10g, lean pork 200g, salt to taste.


  1. Soak the bird’s nest and wash thoroughly. Slice the Western ginseng and steam until soft. Rinse and slice the pork.
  2. Place the bird’s nest, ginseng and pork in a pot with a suitable amount of water and double-boil for 2 hours.
  3. Add salt and serve.