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I want to talk to you today about healing broths and immune-supporting broths. This is a fabulous tool that all nutritionists and CNS candidates should have in their toolbox for patients. It can be super useful for folks with compromised digestion and absorption, those undergoing cancer treatment, IBD, SIBO and more.

Healing broth is basically tea with food. You are just boiling a bunch of ingredients in a big pot for 12-24 hours. While some folks make vegetable broths separately from bone broths, I like to combine bones, vegetables, herbs and medicinal food additives for the most healing and immune supportive broth possible. You can use a slow cooker, pressure cooker or a soup pot to make your homemade chicken stock or vegetable stock.

Why are we making broth?

  • Easy to digest form of amino acids and minerals

  • Great for folks on a liquid diet for medical reasons

  • Alternative to composting or throwing out vegetables

  • Good for you and the environment

  • Saves money

  • Not as hard as it seems!

  • Great base for cooked grains, beans, soups and stews.

You can keep a glass dish with lid or ziplock bag in the fridge or freezer to save food to add to your broth. At the dinner table, at my house you will often hear me saying to my family…”save your bones.”

Favorite bones/meat for bone broths

  • Chicken carcass from roast chicken

  • Stewing chicken (bones and meat)

  • Oxtail

  • Beef knuckle bones

  • Chicken feet

I love bone broth which is rich in glutamine, glycine, proline and other amino acids which support intestinal permeability (research is inconclusive) but empirically I see benefit. It is a great source of protein for muscle strength and recovery, natural way to support collagen for skin, connective tissue, joints health.

Favorite vegetables for vegetable broths

  • Onion with skins

  • Leeks with tops

  • Scallions with tops

  • Shallots with skins

  • Garlic with skins

  • Sweet potato with peel

  • Red onion with peel

  • Carrots unpeeled

  • Celery with tops

Avoid green beans, zucchini, brassicacea or cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage which all can make your broth bitter. My favorite veggie broth recipe is Rebecca Katz Magic Mineral Broth.

Favorite herbs for vegetable or bone broths

  • Oregano

  • Bay leaf

  • Peppercorn

  • Thyme

  • Rosemary

  • Sage

  • Parsley with stems

  • Basil with stems

Here are some modifications you can make…

  • Remove garlic, onion and joints/cartilage rich bones for those with SIBO

  • Use a pressure cooker for those with MCAS or high histamine

  • Avoid kelp for those with thyroid imbalances

  • Avoid meat and bones for vegetarians and vegans

  • If you plan to leave your broth cooking and go to work the slow cooker is the safest option.

Favorite medicinal foods to make your broth an immune-supportive broth

  • Kombu whole pieces or c/s for an iodine boost

  • Dried shitake or maitake – antiviral, antibacterial, immune support, calms overactive immune system

  • Dried reishi- most powerful of all mushrooms, mushroom of immortality

  • Dried astragalus – immune support through winter

  • Dried stinging nettles leaf – orthosilic acid which is great for hair, skin, nails and bones

There are many ways to cook stinging nettles. They don’t sting dried. Only use the dried leaves though. They don’t sting cooked, you can sautee, puree, and add to broths. It is best to add the dried nettles to broth because you get a better extraction of the orthosilic acid.

Here is my Immune Support Broth recipe. But keep in mind I never measure ingredients. I just throw them in the pot.

Immune Broth

1 bulb garlic with skin

2 onions chopped with skin

2 sweet potatos or yams with skin, chopped

3-4 carrots chopped

3-4 celery stalks chopped

1 yellow beet

2 palm size pieces of dried kelp

¼-1/3 cup dried nettle leaf

½- 1 oz dried shitake

½ - 1 oz dried maitake

3-4 slices dried reishi mushrooms

10 pressed roots of Astragalus

1 tablespoon dried herb (oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme, bay leaf)

1 tsp sea salt

1 gallon water

1 Tblsp apple cider vinegar

Chicken carcass from roasted chicken

Add all the ingredients a slow cooker or instapot and set to slow cooker high. Simmer for 12-24 hours. Strain out the solid ingredients. You can drink as a hot beverage, add miso, liquid coconut aminos or Bragg’s aminos as desired. This broth can also be used as the base to other soup recipes. I like to freeze several containers and defrost and use a little at a time throughout the winter.


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