Medicine in a bowl

Bone broth is delicious, comforting and nutritious.   This recipe uses chicken bones, but you can use bones from other animals as well.  Lamb and beef bone broth are also very tasty and nutritious.


  • Chicken Bones or whole chicken (you can use the left over bones and skin from a whole or part of a chicken.  You can also use uncooked chicken pieces with the bone in.  If you are just making stock, necks and backs work well and are inexpensive).
  • Water
  • 1-2 Tbs vinegar (I use apple cider vinegar). Vinegar is important because the acid brings the minerals out of the bones.
  • Vegetables: carrots, celery, onions, garlic, shitake mushrooms (whatever you like and you have around the house)
  • Spices: As with vegetables, use what you like and have around the house.  I like rosemary, thyme, oregano, bay leaf and pepper
  • Salt
  • 2 pieces of astragalus (optional)

Put chicken bones in a large stock pot or slow cooker (crock pot) and cover with cold water.  Add vegetables, spices and salt.
If on the stove: bring to a boil immediately, and then turn the temperature down to a low simmer.  Simmer uncovered for at least 4 hours.  12-24 hours is better.
In a slow cooker: Turn on and let simmer overnight.  18-24 hours is best.

It is best to let the bones simmer as long as possible to allow time for the minerals to come out into the broth.  24 hours is ideal.

Remove the bones and strain the stock

You can use the stock immediately or freeze after it has cooled.  I like to freeze it in ice cube trays.  This way I can pop out one cube at a time when I am cooking.

Medicinal benefits of Bone Broth

  • Calcium: bone broth is an excellent source of calcium and other essential minerals needed for bone health
  • Cartilage: When you make bone broth with a joint bone, there is cartilage in the broth.  Eating animal cartilage is beneficial for joint health.
  • Garlic:  Garlic has many medicinal properties.  Eating garlic has been shown to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease.  Garlic is also beneficial for the immune system.
  • Rosemary: antioxidant, improves concentration, anti-inflammatory, immune stimulating
  • Thyme: antioxidant, eases digestion, antimicrobial, may improve brain function
  • Oregano: antioxidant, antimicrobial
  • Shitake mushroom: immune system tonic
  • Astragalus: immune system tonic.  May potentially be dangerous in the first trimester of pregnancy

From the perspective of Chinese medicine, bone broth is a yin tonic.  Yin is a fuel for the body and also a lubricant.  When our yin is replete, we feel like we are a “well oiled machine.”  We also feel like we have plenty of calm energy to draw upon.  When yin is low, we feel “burned out,” or running on empty.  When we feel like this, we need to replenish ourselves and rest.  Winter is a perfect time to nourish our yin.

Note: These ingredients have additional medicinal qualities that are not listed here.  For a more complete listing, see The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray, ND.