Bone broth is everywhere. Recipes, articles and “brothals” have emerged across the country. Brothals are supplying shots, cups and frozen quarts of this super food through storefronts and online. It’s the newest health trend. But this is old news for grandmothers and herbalists. Throughout history, every culture has used their own version of a basic recipe to restore and maintain health.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, bone broth is used for building blood, strengthening digestion and boosting the immune system. A cup is taken daily, even in the summer months. In the winter, I try to drink it every day as well. Sometimes it’s a meal – a hearty bowl with vegetables and bread. Most days, I just pour it into a coffee mug with only scallions and garlic.
Although some are touting bone broth as a superfood, I really think it is a recipe for health and wellness. There are many ways to use herbs medicinally, but using food as medicine is the best and most effective. Bones from healthy, pasture raised animals are loaded with minerals that are easily absorbed by the body and tolerated well when used in broth. But the benefits of bone broth are numerous, some of which are:
- Strengthens the immune system and protects against colds/flu
- Aids digestion and helps relieve symptoms of leaky gut
- Used in the recovery of a major illness, surgery or broken bones
- Arthritis and joint pain (especially if bones with cartilage such as beef knuckles and chicken feet are added)
- Anti- inflammatory (enhanced when turmeric is added)
Below is my recipe for chicken bone broth. You can get creative by adding different herbs and spices for taste and to nourish the body. In the winter, I add thyme, rosemary and sage which are great herbs for the cold and flu season. I add the adaptogen astragalus year round so the immune system stays strong. Astragalus also helps protect the body against stress which increases around the winter holidays. Garlic and onions are a must. Adding a small amount of vinegar is essential as it extracts the minerals and nutrients from the bones.
Chicken Bone Broth
2 lbs. (or more) chicken bones
2-4 chicken feet for collagen (optional)
4 quarts cold water or enough to cover all ingredients
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
10 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
3 sticks of astragalus
4 – 1” slices fresh ginger (skin on)
3 pieces fresh turmeric
1 small bunch parsley
Thyme (thyme has a very strong flavor, use sparingly)
Salt & pepper
- Add all the ingredients to a Dutch oven or stock pot.
- Add water (make sure to cover all ingredients), apple cider vinegar and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer on low (a soft simmer) for at least 6 hours and up to 24.
- Let the broth cool and strain in a fine mesh strainer.
An alternative for busy families is to buy a cooked rotisserie chicken. Use the meat for sandwiches or other dishes and boil the carcass with the other ingredients as outlined above. If using a pre-cooked chicken, it is a good idea to add chicken feet as some of the collagen is lost in the roasting process. It is simple, tastes great and great for your health.
You can also visit http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/broth-is-beautiful for additional recipes from the Weston Price Foundation or purchase Nourishing Broth: An Old-Fashioned Remedy for the Modern World by Sally Fallon Morrell, an advocate in the education and use of nourishing, traditional foods.
Please comment and let us know what variations and different herbs you use in your broth.