There are more and more leaves floating thru the air in the past few days, creating a beautifully colored carpet on the forest floor. A true sign that Fall is here and Winter is just around the corner. Winter is not my favorite season but I do appreciate the hibernation that accompanies it! I especially enjoy creating tasty soups to enjoy on those snowy, cold nights. For the past five or so years, I have been making bone broths & stocks which have become the base of many varieties of soups and stews. The great thing about making your own is that you can add in different nutritive herbs further enhancing the nutritional value of the broth. Since I just finished up a batch I thought I would share with you a few of my favorite nourishing herbs to add to your next batch of bone broth.
Dandelion Root- I usually add 2-3 fresh root or a handful of dried roots. Dandelion roots are abundant in rich amounts of usable minerals such as calcium, iron, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, silicon, and zinc. They are also an excellent source of vitamin A, the B complex, vitamin C and D. They also supply beneficial carotinoids, fatty acids, flavonoids, and phytosterols. Dandelion roots also contain high amounts of potassium. Dandelion helps to improve liver function in a variety of ways. It can support elimination through stimulating bile and help the liver to preferentially make high quality fats (HDL) verses poor quality fats (LDL and VLDL). These fats are building blocks for cells in our body, and their quality determines the integrity and resilience of our tissue. The roots can create a potassium-rich anti-cancer environment and help to eliminate free radicals and aid in fighting viruses, infections and fevers. I could go on and on about the amazing Dandelion but I will stop myself for now!
Burdock Root- I usually add 3-4 fresh root or a handful & a half of dried roots. Burdock root contains small quantities of many vital vitamins, including folic acid, riboflavin, pyridoxine, niacin, vitamin E, and vitamin C that is essential for optimum health. Both vitamin C and E are powerful natural antioxidants that help the human body stave off infections, cancer, and neurologic conditions. Burdock root also contains some valuable minerals such as manganese; and small amounts of zinc, calcium, selenium, and phosphorus. Burdock root is so effective because it is a super food that is jammed-packed with essential nutrients. It is high in chromium, magnesium, and inulin – all of which help to regulate blood sugar. Herbalists commonly use burdock for those with diabetes, syndrome X, insulin resistance, and other blood sugar disorders. Burdock is also high in iron and helps to strengthen the liver and kidneys, making it the first plant many herbalists reach for when treating hot skin eruptions such as psoriasis, eczema, herpes, acne, and boils. It’s also commonly paired with red clover and/or dandelion to slow or eradicate tumors.
Yellow Dock Root- I usually add 1 fresh root or a small handful of dried roots. Yellow Dock roots are protein rich and high in vitamins A, C, niacin (vitamin B-3), thiamine (vitamin B-1), and minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, selenium, trace amounts of zinc, and trace elements such as manganese. It is commonly thought that yellow dock contains high amounts of iron and is frequently used for anemia especially anemia associated with pregnancy. There is a growing consensus however, that yellow dock does not actually contain large amounts of iron, but rather it helps the body to better utilize iron. The root has diuretic properties, increasing urine production and elimination of toxins via the urinary system. It can be used for gout, cystitis, water retention, urinary stones and gravel. Whether yellow dock acts directly on the bowels, or supports healthy digestion through its bitter properties, the result is a gentle effect to clear food stagnation and get those bowels moving.
Astragalus Root– I add in about 1 tbsp. of dried root. It is rich in amino acids, flavonoids and many minerals such as calcium, potassium, iron and the antioxidant selenium. It is also high in folic acid and immunoactive polysaccharides that contribute to the immune boosting properties of the herb. One of the most important benefits of astragalus is that it has a wonderful ability to enhance the functions of the immune system. It improves the immune function by increasing the production, function and activity of immune cells. According to some studies, astragalus can reduce the length of colds. It stimulates the body to produce a group of substances known as interferons, which are used by the body to protect against viral infections. Astragalus protects the body against different types of stresses, including physical, emotional, or mental stress and hence is called an adaptogen. Additionally it has the ability to protect against many serious health conditions such as diabetes, cancer, hypertension, respiratory infections etc.
Nettle Leaf- I add in a handful or two of dried leaf. Nettle is high in calcium, magnesium, chlorophyll, iron, vitamin A, C, and D, zinc, potassium, chromium, cobalt, niacin, phosphorus, manganese, and silica. Some of the most important health benefits of stinging nettle include its ability to detoxify the body, improve metabolic efficiency, boost immune health, increase circulation, improve energy levels, manage menstruation, minimize menopausal symptoms, heal skin conditions, protect kidney and gallbladder health, lower inflammation, increase muscle mass, regulate hormonal activity, prevent diabetes, lower blood pressure, soothe hemorrhoids, and improve respiratory conditions.
If you want to learn more about broths I would suggest checking out Sally Fallon Morell’s book, ‘Nourishing Broth’. It is a wealth of information in regards to the health benefits of broth, how to make the great broth using a variety of ingredients as well as delicious recipes using broth.