Bone Broth...The Real Chicken Soup for the Soul

Yes, it’s delicious. Yes, it’s kind of a fad. No, it’s nothing new!

At this point much of the general population has at the very least heard of bone broth, and along with it a chorus of health experts extolling upon its healthy healthiness. Some are in the “ew” camp, other’s in the “yum” camp. Either way, this fad has something to it.

In Chinese Medicine we LOVE bone broth! And as with all things, there is a time and a place for its usage. As luck would have it, for most people this is the absolute perfect time of year to sate all of your broth desires.

According to Chinese Medical principles, it can aid the body in several important ways in order to preserve youthfulness, vigor, and protect your systems from harsh climates.


1) It Nourishes the Kidneys and Preserves Essence

Warm cup of homemade bone broth

The Kidneys are your body’s powerhouse. The seat of the underlying Fire that keeps the rest of the operation warm and functioning at optimal levels. During harsh weather or with physical overwork (i.e.: constantly running to the subway through piles of snow in subzero temps…), this fire may need to be stoked a bit. The Kidneys are also deeply connected to the growth and development of Bone, both of which are considered to be storehouses of our Essence. This plays a key role in our initial growth and development, but also acts as sustenance throughout the trials and tribulations of every day life. In this instance, like supports like.

2) Bone broth Builds Qi and Blood

 Ah, yes. Qi and Blood. Any of you who’ve seen an acupuncturist before have probably discussed yours in detail. Qi can be viewed as our body’s metabolic functions, that unseen but oh-so-important force that creates the movement and energy that allows us to thrive. In turn, Blood (powered by Qi) spreads nutrition throughout the body, serving to nourish our skin, eyes, hair, organs, limbs, and sinews. The two are besties—as it’s said in Chinese Medicine that Blood is the Mother of Qi, and Qi is the Governor of Blood. In a way they’re inseparable, so they can both wind up depleted at the same time. In steps bone broth to (kind of) save the day. The energetic components present in the broth are ingested and internalized by the recipient, helping to rebuild vital stores of both.

It’s not just Eastern medicine that counts bone broth amongst the good and the great. The interpretations between East and West kind of become one in the same, just with different terminology. From a Western perspective, part of the broth’s benefits include copious amounts of revitalizing nutrients. The potent collagen and gelatin content in a hot cup of bone broth can be beneficial for aching joints, similar to the affects of glucosamine—a popular supplement for joint health. These nutrients also play a vital role in the health of our skin, and can help to give you a youthful, more revitalized glow. Need to sleep better? Bone broth has high levels of glycine, which has been shown to be effective in warding off fatigue, and encouraging a healthier sleep cycle.  Similar components of the broth are also being examined for immune and digestive supportThe best part—your body recognizes these properties in their bio-nutritive form. Making them gut friendly, and more easily absorbed inside the body.

While there are many delicious ready-made brands serving up their brothy wares, there’s no need to spend your next paycheck on a quart. Even the bones themselves don’t need to cost you a pretty penny. Support your local butcher shop, or save bones from meals by freezing them until you’re ready to get cooking!

Use fresh veggies from your local farmers market: celery, carrots, onions, garlic and an apple

Here’s an inexpensive, easy recipe (our personal favorite) that will last you for days

4-5 beef marrow bones (preferably organic, grass-fed, antibiotic free)

(chicken bones can also be used if you prefer this to beef)

3-5 medium carrots, roughly chopped

3-5 celery stalks, roughly chopped

1 whole garlic head, unpeeled

1 red apple, cut in half

1 medium yellow onion, cut in half

2 T. white vinegar

1 T. sea salt (to taste)

6-8 quarts filtered water

Cooking instructions:

-Preheat oven to 500F, place bones on parchment paper-covered baking sheet and roast for 8 minutes

-Place all other ingredients in a large stock pot, heat on Medium-High for 10-12 minutes, or until water starts to simmer

-Place bones in stock pot, including any dripping from the baking sheet

-Turn down heat, and keep broth at a light simmer for 8-12 hours

-Feel free to top off water content as it cooks down

-Strain out veggies, bones, and fat content collected at surface once the broth cools

-Reheat on stovetop, and enjoy at least 1 cup per day!

How to enjoy:

There are so many ways! Drink it straight up (perfect after cold winter commutes when brought in an insulated thermos), use it to cook grains instead of water, or add to other soups and stews. Have too much? No problem. It easily stores in the freezer until you’re ready for your next round. A lot of people even like to freeze broth into ice trays as an easy and accessible way to pop out “broth cubes” to throw into soups and other recipes. Get creative!

Sarah Biffen