Bone soup is an ancient building food. I call it winter medicine because winter is a great time to build & store energy and nourish the Kidneys (the organ associated with winter). In Chinese Medicine, the Kidneys produce marrow, fill up the Brain, and rule the bones. Some cultures call bone soup ‘longevity soup’. This soup is helpful for those with long term illness and deficiency. It is excellent for pregnant woman/postpartum moms, cancer patients, our elderly, anyone with debilitating illness, and people with long term exhaustion. I also often recommend it to people who are constantly doing, going and have not been nourishing themselves with wholesome food and rest.
The following is a rough outline of a recipe. Use it as a guideline and remember that this is food & medicine. Be sure to add good intentions and wishes/prayers for wellness as you cook.
Bones: Marrow contains numerous essential minerals & nutrients including DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid), the most complex form of Omega-3 essential to brain and eye health. Find the best quality bones available; those from deer or other wild animals are excellent if you have a good source. You can also buy high quality (grass feed, non-hormones, organic, etc) animal marrow from natural butchers or at your local health food store. Chicken and fish bones may be used if you do not eat red meat. If bones are small, you can use 5-10, if larger 1-5.
Herbs & Mushrooms: Astragalus (taste good; builds blood & energy; benefits lungs & spleen), Angelica (aka Donq Quai; excellent blood tonic; helps balance hormones); Shitake, maitake, reishi and other exotic mushrooms (taste good, adds nutrients), Schisandra berries (tastes strong, but good) may all be used. You can add red cayenne pepper (I like a whole habanero pepper but that can be really hot) as well. Herbs may be purchased in bulk in many health food stores (fresh or dry will work), and you may also find some online at Smile Herb or Mountain Rose Herbs. A few pieces of the herbs will do. The mushrooms are tasty so use to your liking.
Seaweed: Kombu can be added to bean soups to help with digestion. “Sea vegetables are rich in minerals and trace elements, including calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, iodine, manganese, chromium and more, at levels much greater than those found in land vegetables. They also add a host of nutrients. Recent research demonstrates the inhibition of tumor formation, reduction of cholesterol, and anti-viral properties of sea vegetables”. Maine Coast Sea Vegetables is a good organic source.
- Place your herbs, bones and Kombu into a large pot or crock pot.
- Cover with water (3-5 cups depending on how thick you want your soup).
- Add 1-2 bay leaves, 3-4 chopped garlic cloves, 1 cup of beans (pre- soaked black, adzuki, or lentils).
- Simmer covered for 8-10 hours or in a crock pot. Add vegetables (celery, greens, carrots) toward the end of cooking.
Once cooked, if the marrow of the bone is accessible, push the marrow out of the center of the bone. You can then discard the bone. You can also pick out herbs that were barks or roots.
Hope you enjoy,