The Power of the Almighty Bone Broth
by Rylen Feeney, Holistic Health Practitioner, Certified Amma Therapist, Dipl. ABT & CH (NCCAOM).
If I were to recommend one simple healing food that contributes to our overall health, it would be Traditional Bone Broth. This is one of the most healing, nutrient dense substances a person can consume. Bone broth is a traditional healing food used by nearly every culture. In Chinese Medicine bone broth is considered to strengthen and nourish our essence, qi, and wei qi, as well as warm the yang and build blood. The broth is said to enter and nourish our Kidneys, Liver, Lungs and Spleen.
So what makes bone broth so special? It is typically rich Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, Silicon, Phosphorus, Sulphur and other trace minerals. The other unique and powerful substances found in bone broth are Marrow, Cartilage, Glycine, Proline, Collagen and Gelatin.
It is easy to make, freezes well, and can be used straight as a broth tea or as a base for soups, congees, stews, sauces, gravy, cooking grains, vegetables, savory baked goods, and added to beans. Bone Broth is simply made from cooking the bones of healthy animals or fish in water with vegetables, spices and herbs. The best broth is made slowly, 4 – 48 hours, steeping the nutrients from deep inside the bones and dissolving the marrow, cartilage and tendons into a silky rich fragrant broth.
How To Make Bone Broth:
Broth can be cooked on the stovetop on low heat, or in a slow cooker (crock pot).
2-3 pounds of bones (Include 2-4 chicken feet, or 1 sliced calf’s foot for added gelatin; if using fish, use non-oily only. If using beef bones, you may want to roast them first for added flavor.)
4 quarts of cold filtered water
2 Tbsp to ½ cup vinegar (to taste)
Optionally add 1 -3 onions, 2-3 carrots, 2-3 celery stalks, Spices as desired,
1 bunch parsley
Put bones, meat, vinegar, water, any spices and all vegetables (except parsley) in stainless steel pot or crock pot. Let stand for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Bring to boil.
Skim the scum off of the surface of the water.
Reduce heat, cover and simmer. For fish, at least 2 hours; for poultry, at least 8 hours; for beef, at least 12 hours.
Add the parsley in the last 10 minutes.
Strain, let cool, and refrigerate. Observe amount of gelatin in broth, and make adjustments to cooking time, and vinegar amount, accordingly.
Remove congealed fat that rises to the top.
Freeze any broth that you won’t be using within 7 days.
Consider fortifying broth with Chinese herbs and nutrients:
For Blood: Beef or Chicken, Dang Gui (Angelica Sinesis), Red dates (Hong Zao), Greens
For Qi: Chicken, Astragalus (Huang Qi), Goji Berries (Gou Qi Zi), Red dates (Hong Zao), Ginseng (Ren Shen) or Codonopsis (Dang Shen)
For Wei Qi: Fish, onions, Dried Lily bulbs (Bai He), Astragalus (Huang Qi)
For Digestion: Fresh Ginger, Shitake Mushrooms, Lotus seeds (Lian Zi), Citrus Peel (Chen Pi), Umeboshi Plum (Suan Mei Zi), Poria (Fu Ling)
For Pain & Swelling: Tumeric (Jiang Huang), Coix seeds (Yi mi),
For Aging: Lotus Root, Dioscorea (Shan Yao), Red dates (Hong Zao), Mung beans.
Always rinse and drain your Chinese herbs, wrap your woody herbs (i.e. Astragalus, Dang Gui, etc) in muslin and remove prior to eating.
Màn man chī (bon appétite or eat slowly)!
For recommended books and online resources as well as more in-depth explanations of the health benefits of marrow, cartilage, glycine, collagen and gelatin, download the full version of this article here.
Image by Joana Hard on Flickr.