Bone broth has deep roots in Traditional Chinese Medicine, dating back thousands of years as a remedy prescribed by practitioners to assist in healing. In 12th century Egypt, physician Moses Maimonides prescribed chicken soup as a medicinal remedy for asthma and colds. This is where the term Jewish Penicillin was coined due to the soups known anti-inflammatory benefits and its ability to fight off cold and flu symptoms. There are many cultures that have used handmade bone broth to accentuate a soups flavor and create a healing elixir.
Not long ago most of our grandparents were brewing a fresh pot of bone broth for soup stock. Unfortunately as modern day conveniences have surfaced, we have replaced this time honored medicine with pre-packaged food and fast food. The infused flavors of bone broth create an aroma that no one can forget, bustling with minerals that nourish our bodies and allow for healing. A can of soup can’t possibly compare.
In Chinese Medicine all foods when used correctly can create medicine. Each food has its own energetics, like a chili pepper that creates heat, cows milk that creates phlegm or watermelon that cools. Bone broth strengthens and nourishes our Qi (Chi), Wei Qi (immunity), digestion, Kidneys and warms the yang and builds blood. It is fueled by Marrow, Cartilage, Collagen, Proline, Gelatin and Glycine, which is rich in Calcium, Silicon, Sulphur, Magnesium, Iron, Phosphorus and other trace minerals.
The cooler weather reminds us that Fall is on the way and Winter is just around the corner. Chinese Medicine teaches us to take great care of our Kidneys during this time. The kidneys function includes storing essence, controlling bones, reproduction, growth and development, manufacturing blood and producing marrow. They also help improve the luster of our hair and strengthen teeth. Symptoms of weak kidneys include weak knees and back pain, poor memory, impotence and infertility and tinnitus. Red and white blood cells are manufactured in the bone marrow. We are able to extract this property and infuse it into our own cells when consuming bone broth.
Bone broth is simply made from cooking the bones of healthy animals or fish in water with spices, vegetables and herbs, (organic if possible) in a large stock pot or crockpot. The secret of our grandmothers’ soup is time. Bone broth is made over 24-48 hours allowing the nutrients from deep inside the bones, marrow, cartilage and tendons to create a rich, silky, fragrant elixir.
Here is a recipe to get your Kidneys strong during the fall and winter months:
Basic Bone Broth
Ingredients: 2-3 pounds of bones (include 2-4 chicken feet or beef marrow bones, joints, neck bones, and knuckles), 4 quarts of water, 2 Tbsp to ½ vinegar (to taste), 6 cloves of garlic, 2 Tbsp. fresh ginger, sliced, 4 shitake mushrooms, kombu (to taste), 1-3 onions, 2-3 carrots, 2-3 celery stalks and preferred spices.
Put bones, meat, water, vinegar, any spices and all vegetables in a stainless steel pot, glass pot or crock pot. Let stand for 30 minutes. Bring to a boil. Skim the scum off the surface of the water, reduce heat, cover and simmer for at least 12 hours. The longer you simmer the broth up to 48 hours, the more nutrients that will be extracted from the bones and infused into the broth. Strain the soup, let cool and refrigerate. Freeze any broth not used after 7 days.
Chinese herbs can be added for specific issues. For strengthening the blood add Angelica, Red dates and Greens. For strengthening the Qi, add Astragalus, Goji Berries, Red dates, Ginseng and Codonopsis. For tonifying the Wei Qi (one’s immunity), add onions, astragalus and dried lily bulbs. For supporting one’s digestion add ginger, shitake mushrooms, lotus seeds, citrus peel, Poria and Umeboshi plum. For pain and swelling use turmeric and coix seeds. For aging use lotus root, Dioscorea, red dates and mung beans.
This Fall and Winter, find comfort in the healing benefits of bone broth as the perfect treat!