Chinese Medical Nutrition: Bone Broth

What is Bone Broth? Who needs it? What should I look for in my Bone Broth? Why do we eat/drink it? What does that have to do with Chinese Medicine? 

Bone broth is simple, bones cooked in water for a long period of time ranging from 4-36 hours.  Why would anyone want to do this? As it turns out, this is an herbal decoction!  The two main macronutrients obtained from doing this are marrow and gelatin (which contains collagen) which the body can use for healing and repair.  In addition to these, small amounts of synergistic micronutrients including minerals and trace minerals are also present.

What does this have to do with Chinese Medicine?  Everything!  As a traditional medicine built over thousands of years, Chinese medicine has retained the knowledge of our ancestors on what to eat to attain and maintain health and how to prepare food for maximum digestibility and assimilation.   There are entire books which describe the eastern nutrition properties of foods and how to use them for medicinal purposes! TCM suggests these ingredients for certain conditions and some Chinese Medicine herbal formulas contain these ingredients as well.

Marrow is known to replenish the Jing or Essence, a yin substance located deep in body structures such as the brain, bone marrow, and reproductive organs.  Jing is associated with growth and development. E Jiao is a type of gelatin traditionally used as a blood builder and should be used whenever there is a situation where the blood or blood vessels are damaged or healing is not taking place somewhere in the body.

Who can benefit?  People with pain and injury including athletes;  those trying to conceive or pregnant; those with digestive difficulties such as indigestion, gas, constipation; people with chronic illness or low body weight and children.  Organic and fresh as possible bones and meat are recommended especially when there is compromised health.

If you research traditional cultures around the world, you’ll find bone broth has been used in other cultures as well.  Some notes about bone broth:

  • Your bone broth should turn to gel when refrigerated, the more solid it is, the more gelatin it contains
  • Some sources of gelatin are ham hocks and bovine hooves
  • Some sources of marrow are large bones such as short ribs or oxtails – cook a long time until the marrow falls out
  • Bone broth protein powder is an awesome digestible protein powder, but it is not bone broth
  • If you find it difficult to digest your bone broth, try adding ginger to the recipe 

If you still have difficulties with digestion or healing, you should be assessed for other issues that may be preventing your healing.  Contact us for an acupuncture or herbal appointment today!

A final note:

There has been controversy on the treatment of animals for medicinal use.

  • Most herbal medicinals are not animal based products and are vegan
  • Use of animal products is indicated for more serious illness
  • You can avoid the use of animal products IF you can eat a significant amount of fresh raw fruits and vegetables – herbal formulas can help you do that too
  • You can use your own bone broth or gelatin to mix in your herbal formula from your acupuncturist

Sources and Favorite Books on Nutritional Health:

Healing with Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford

Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon with Mary Enig, Ph.D.

Chinese Natural Cures by Henry Lu

Wishing you the best in health!

Ja’Nelle

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