7 Benefits of Bone Broth

Beef bones aren’t just treats for the dogs anymore! We actually buy them on purpose from the local butcher shop to use for ourselves!

WHY?

Bone Broth

Bone BrothJust put a couple pounds of bones into pot and add filtered water until they are covered. Add maybe a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar and let this sit for an hour or two. Then, bring to a boil, skim the foam off the top with a spoon, cover and cook on low (just a light simmer) for up to 50 hours. Strain and enjoy. Want more flavor? Feel free to add herbs and spices, garlic and onion, leeks or celery, etc… just before you put the cover on. It’s a lot like making a stew, only you’re more concerned with the leftover liquids when you’re done than the solid bits. Just make sure you’re cooking it slow and low heat. The higher the temp, the higher the likelihood you will be creating some MSG in your broth (it naturally occurs in the breakdown of the proteins).

It’s amazing all of the health benefits in something so simple.

Leaky Gut

The gelatin in the broth heals the mucosal lining of the digestive tract. Think of it like a sealant that goes in and seals up the cracks and holes.

Joint and Muscle Pain

Gelatin relieves joint pain. Glycine and proline (amino acids found in bone broth) lessen inflammation, repair tissue, help stiff joints and aid in bulding muscle. Bone broth also contains chondroitin and glucosamine. If you’ve ever looked for over-the-counter joint support, I’m sure you’ve seen these two ingredients in the majority of the products.

Sore Tendons or Ligaments

Bone broth contains a lot of collagen. This collagen along with some of the other beneficial properties in bone broth, helps rebuild your connective tissues, like your tendons and ligaments and even beautifies your skin, as it too needs collagens to stay soft and supple. Sufferers of Rheumatoid Arthritis usually love the effects of adding bone broth into their diet. Your hair and nails will benefit too!

Feeling Sick?

Bone broth to the rescue! Have you heard of eating chicken soup when you’re sick? Well, when it is made at home in the traditional way (not out of a can), it is made with chicken broth – yep, from the bones of chickens (necks and feet as well as the carcass after picking it clean are all good for this!). Broth contains various minerals and amino acids, plus it boosts antioxidant activity in the body. It is so good at helping with upper respiratory infections that they’ve even conducted scientific studies proving its usefulness!

Feeling Sleepy?

Remember those amino acids we talked about under Joint and Muscle Pain? Well, glycine, found in gelatin, is beneficial for the neurotransmitters in your brain. Drinking your bone broth before bed will not only help you sleep better at night, it may also decrease daytime sleepiness and even improve your memory.

Digestive Issues?

Not only does this amazing thing called bone broth help heal a leaky gut, but it also benefits digestion. That glycine we’ve been talking about, stimulates the production of stomach acid. Stomach acid is what breaks down your food before it enters your small intestine. Too little, and your food tends to sit in your stomach for way too long and will actually start to rot in there. Having too much food in there and having it start to rot are both causes of acid reflux which, unfortunately, are often treated with antacids when really the person just needs to boost their HCl (Hydrochloric Acid). Not only does glycine boost stomach acid, but it is also an important component to the bile acids produced by your body. Bile starts helping digest the food once it enters the small intestine.

Need a Liver Detox?

That wonderful amino acid, glycine, allows our liver to detox (or cleanse) the harmful chemicals our body’s are subjected to every day. Plus, the stimulation of bile is also beneficial to the liver.

Tip

When you have strained your broth and you put it in the refrigerator, you will find that the fats in the broth will move to the top of the liquid. You can skim these off and use for cooking and sauteing if you don’t like an oily texture to your broth. They are very healthy fats, so whether they stay in your broth or get used to saute your next vegetable dish is up to you – you’re getting to use them and eat them either way!

You know you have high quality bone broth if it gels after it has been chilled! This is caused by the gelatin which has that beneficial glycine in it, so you want it to gel. If you cook it too high, or don’t cook it long enough, it won’t gel. Different bones needs different simmer times. Chicken bones take from 6-24 hours, beef 12-50 hours, fish only about 4 hours. If you use too much water it won’t gel either. You want high quality bones, and bones from various parts of the body, some meaty and some gristley and some just bony.

The Healthy Home Economist blog has a great video showing the perfect simmer:

 

Do you have any favorite broth recipes?

 

Healing Herbal Teas for Leaky Gut

Diet is the most important change one can make for healing Leaky Gut. Next would be various supplements you can take to help the process along. I don’t know about you, but this time of year I love a good cup of tea (or three!) during the day and evening as well. Since I’m working on healing leaky gut, I figured it would be a good idea to see what herbs would be beneficial for healing leaky gut and tasty as teas.

 

Chamomile Tea

Chamomile Leaf & Flower

Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) leaf and flower isn’t just good tasting, it’s good for you too! Chamomile has been shown to:

  • alleviate colic as well as the symptoms of colitis and diverticulosis
  • be beneficial in the treatment of petpic ulcers
  • stimulate the digestive system
  • alleviate flatulence
  • reduce inflammation
  • help expel intestinal parasites (especially when taken first thing in the morning on an empty stomach)
  • kill some forms of detrimental yeasts and bacteria

And that’s not including other beneficial health properties, including the mild sedative effect that makes it a great evening tea as well!

 

Dandelion

Dandelion Root

Dandelion Root (Taraxacum officinale), yes that lovely spring flowering plant that people call a weed and spray chemicals in their grass to be rid of it is actually quite good for you! I found it a bit sweeter than one would expect for a root. Dandelion is a cleansing herb, as are most plants that are first to come up after winter. For this use, it has been shown to:

  • stimulate the flow of bile and the release of stored bile from the gallbladder
  • purify the blood
  • alleviate constipation
  • alleviate colitis

 

Fennel

Image courtesy of Supertrooper at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Fennel

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) is a seed we keep in our cupboards and chew on when we have gas. It seems to do quite well at eliminating it! Fennel doesn’t have a long list:

  • it may alleviate indigestion and diarrhea
  • alleviate some colon disorders
  • reduce cravings for simple sugars (especially in tea form)
  • improve function of the liver
  • and of course, alleviate symptoms of colic and help expell gas (flatulence) from the body.

 

Licorice Root

Licorice Root

Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) interestingly enough for those following a paleo protocol, is in the Legume (Leguminosae) family. It’s flavor is similar to that of black licorice, which I personally find delightful! Licorice has been shown to:

  • alleviate colic, colitis symptoms and diverticulosis
  • cleanse the colon
  • facilitate the treatment of Intestinal Permeability, yep – that’s the fancier term for leaky gut! An article in BioMed Newsletter in 1995 stated it is useful for repairing the damaged cells in intestinal permeability. They did use DGL (see below) so either form of licorice is beneficial.
  • 2,300mg of DGL per day may prevent and treat peptic ulcers
  • DGL may heal duodenal ulcers and gastric ulcers
  • inhibits candida albicans, and supresses helicobacter pylori
  • supresses inflammation
  • enhances the function of macrophages (if you read my article “Immune Response, TH-1 or TH-2” you might remember, licorice stimulates TH-1. If this is your dominant side of your immune system you will want to avoid this herb.)
  • 2,500mg per day may alleviate Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (this is specifically due to the Glycyrrhizin content)
  • it may enhance the function of the liver
  • and it may soothe inflamed mucous membranes

There is a lot more licorice does, including many beneficial effects for the adrenal glands, alleviating depression, improving memory, counteracting stress, the list goes on and on.

NOTE: There is an active constituent in this herb known as Glycyrrhizin which is beneficial provided you are not taking excessive amounts of licorice root daily. If you really really like the tea and plan on drinking several cups daily, or you are taking capsules in high dosages, you might consider deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) root where they have removed 90+% of this constituent. Too much Glycyrrhizin may raise blood pressure, cause headaches, cause lethargy, cause water retention and even cause excessive amounts of potassium to be excreted while excessive amounts of sodium are retained.

Typical dose of just dried powdered root is between 3,00 and 5,000 mg per day.

Typical dose of DGL is 2,280 to 4,560mg per day. It is suggested to take DGL at least 20 minutes before meals for optimal results.

CAUTION: if you have kidney ailments, or high blood pressure, licorice may not be the herb for you. Ask your Herbalist or Naturopathic Doctor before using it.

So there you have 4 herbal teas to enjoy that are beneficial to the process of healing leaky gut! Enjoy!

Oh – and if you aren’t sure how to prepare your tea, for leaves and flowers check out “How to Make an Herbal Infusion” and for roots, barks and twigs, check out “How to Make an Herbal Decoction“.

 

Can Leaky Gut be Healed?

If this is the first post on Leaky Gut that you’ve happened upon here at DIY Herbs™, it is actually the 4th in a series. You can catch up on the other three here:

By now I’m sure the pressing question on your mind is:

Healing Leaky Gut

Can Leaky Gut be Healed?

Thankfully, yes! You can repair leaky gut. In the second article in the series you learned about what causes a leaky gut. So, the first thing is figuring out what cause or causes you need to deal with. Of course, if you aren’t sure, then you simply go down the list working on each possibility.

 

Parasites

Parasites and imbalanced gut flora are definitely towards the top of the possibilities list. These can be remedied through many natural methods. There are herbs with anthelmintic properties, also known as antiparasitics, parasiticides, or vermifuges. Anthelmintics help expel or destroy parasites. Common herbs in this group include

  • Green Black Walnut Hull
  • Pau d’Arco
  • Pumpkin Seed
  • Wormwood
  • Clove
  • Olive Leaf
  • Thyme

Most health food stores carry a variety anti-parasitic products. Make sure to read the labels for dosage and verify safety if you are expecting or nursing.

 

Gut Flora

As for the imbalance in gut flora, there are quite a few beneficial things:

  • Garlic
  • Probiotics
  • Removing refined sugars from your diet
  • Adding antimicrobial herbs like
    • Goldenseal
    • Lady’s Mantle
    • Neem
    • Rosemary
    • Turmeric
    • Parsley
    • Thyme
    • Cinnamon
    • Bayberry
    • Pau d’Arco
    • Yarrow
    • Oregon Grape Root
    • Cloves
    • Sage
    • Birch Bark
    • Lemon Balm
    • Barberry
    • Licorice Root
    • Burdock
    • Strawberry Leaf

    Just to name a few 🙂 Again, check with your local health food store or your favorite herbal dietary supplements manufacturer and see what they have available. Follow the instructions on the product and double check any safety information.

 

Diet

Food. Yep, it’s listed as a source of irritation and inflammation. This particular portion of healing leaky gut is typically the most difficult, because it requires you to modify your diet. For most people, this is not a small modification. The best is to follow an elimination / provocation diet protocol.

This means that you first eliminate foods that are most often found to cause difficulties for people, replace them with healthy foods, and stick with it for 30 days or more (depending on how long it takes your body to heal). I suggest the AIP Paleo diet for the elimination side of the equation. You can get the book here:
The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook: An Allergen-Free Approach to Managing Chronic Illness

 

 

 

Elimination

While following the elimination diet, you want to avoid

  • grains
  • processed foods
  • Sugars
  • Dairy (cheese, milk, yogurt, ice cream, etc…)
  • Legumes
  • Unhealthy oils (like vegetable oils, soybean oil, cottonseed oil, corn oil, etc..)
  • Excessive carbohydrates (which, if you are avoiding grains, should be much more difficult to get too many carbs)
  • Alcohol and caffeine

Try adding in foods like

  • bone broth (very healing for the gut)
  • Healthy fats, like coconut oil, avocado oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Omega-3’s
  • fermented foods like sauerkraut or kombucha.

These items especially help the body to heal the gut.

If you have an autoimmune disorder, you may also want to eliminate

as they tend to be common reactive foods for those with autoimmune issues.

Make sure to chew your food thoroughly, digestion starts in the mouth. It may also be beneficial to take Digestive Enzymes as they will help the body digest the food and lessen the number of larger particles that could enter the bloodstream.

Keep a food journal. If something you eat causes gas, bloating, indigestion, heart burn, headache, etc… – write it down and try avoiding that food. If you have had a leaky gut for a long time you may find that this seems to be the result of any foods you eat. But as the gut heals you will find fewer foods causing this response. The journal is especially important for the Provocation side of the diet.

 

Provocation

Once you feel your gut has healed (or you can have a blood test done at a lab to see if it is healed) you can start the provocation portion. This means adding foods back into your diet, very slowly, and watching for any sign that they are causing problems for you. If, after 5 days, you have not had any ill effects from adding that food back into your diet, then it is safe to assume you can eat that food again. However; if it gives you problems, you will want to consider that food one to avoid. Wait a couple days, and then try another food. Keep this up until you have tried all of things you removed in the elimination side of the diet.

Sometimes the foods you react to will need to be avoided for life, but other times the gut just needs more time to heal and you might find after 6 – 12 months that the food no longer causes problems. For this reason, many suggest re-trying the problematic foods one more time, 6-12 months after following the elimination/provocation diet, just to double check.

 

Avoid OTCs

It is best to avoid OTC’s (Over The Counter medications) like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, etc… if at all possible, as these too can be triggers for inflammation in the gut.

 

De-stress

And last but not least – lower your stress levels. Chronic stress has been shown to cause many different issues in the body, and inflammation and digestive problems are definitely on the list. Try yoga, Tai Chi, meditation, walking, whatever it is that helps you decompress and destress!

 

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