The Healing Properties of Bone Broth
Homemade bone broth provides key nutrients in a form that is easily digested and assimilated. These nutrients are collagen, cartilage, keratin, glucosamine, chondroitin, hyaluronic acid, and the minerals calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium.
Collagen is a key protein component of bone, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels. Also collagen (gelatin) is composed of high concentrations of three amino acids, glycine, proline and lysine. Glycine is one of three amino acids needed to make glutathione, the most important detoxification molecule in the body, making broth a liver tonic.
Cartilage, composed of glucosamine, chondroitin and hyaluronic acid, all of which are sold as fairly pricey supplements for degenerative joint disease and osteoarthritis, also nourishes both the gut and the immune system. Eighty percent of the immune system lines the gastrointestinal tract. This is why Grandma’s Chicken soup actually does help you get better.
Keratin is the key component of hair and nails. These are the cartilage components from joints, chicken feet and beef or bison knuckles, ribs and skin.
Minerals are another important component of bone broth. All the minerals found in bone are present in bone broth. Calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium are present in a very usable form, having been “pre-digested” by the slow cooking in the presence of the acids in the apple cider vinegar. Deficiencies of these minerals may show up as osteoporosis, but also mood and behavioral disturbances.
Bone broth is both a food and a medicine. Because it only has 3 amino acids, it is not a complete protein, but a protein supplement, particularly for the collagen which “seals and heals” the intestines. Also for bone, joints and blood vessels. Inflammation in blood vessels destroys the collagen layer, setting the stage for the body’s repair mechanisms to build up layers of plaque in the arteries.
Here are the directions for making bone broth:
- 2 pounds or more of bones, ideally from pasture raised animals (any time you have chicken save the bones in a bag in the freezer)
- 2 or more chicken feet – rich in collagen
- Apple cider vinegar, about a teaspoon per quart of water
- Enough water to cover the bones
- a slow cooker or a large, stainless steel pot, ideally with a deep strainer/colander insert
- enough pint and quart containers to freeze finished broth in
Put all ingredients in the pot and let sit for 30 minutes, turn on heat to high and bring to a boil. Immediately turn down the heat to a simmer. In the first hour or two skim any foam that rises to the top and discard.
Beef or bison bones, ideally from grass fed animals, may be roasted first for 30-45 minutes in a 350 degree oven, for better flavor and to make the nutrients easier to dissolve as the broth simmers.
Simmer the mix for at least 12 hours. Twenty-four hours is better, and even 48 hours for bigger, thicker bones like beef or bison. If desired you can also add a few vegetables like onions, carrots, celery, etc. if you like.
When done lift the insert and discard the bones, strain if you desire or ladle into your containers when it’s cooled some.
How to use bone broth:
- add a quart to any soups
- use as liquid to poach/braise fish or meat
- drink as a beverage. Heat, add salt to taste, and drink a cup daily.
- You can add a tablespoon or two of pasture butter, like Kerrygold.
Conditions for which bone broth may be useful:
- arthritis, including rheumatoid
- joint pain
- osteoporosis or osteopenia
- weak nails, brittle, dry hair
- immune depression
- gut inflammation, irritable bowel, ulcerative colitis
- wound healing
- muscle wasting, weakness, spasms
- anxiety and depression
Want some of the benefits of bone broth but don't want to make it? Get some Great Lakes unflavored gelatin flakes, stir in a tablespoon into cold water and drink, one to two times daily. No minerals but lots of collagen.