Naturopathic Kitchen: Bone Broth

A pot of broth next to cooked bones and fresh vegetables

Bone broth is a versatile base that can be used for soups, sauces, as a flavorful way to cook quinoa, rice, and other grains, or simply enjoyed on its own. Not only that, it is chock-full of nutrients that may improve your health!

Improves Joint Health

Bone broth contains glucosamine and chondroitin, which may boost joint health and help manage the symptoms of osteoarthritis. 1 2 3 Collagen is the main protein found in tendons, ligaments, and bones. When bones are cooked, the collagen in them breaks down and becomes gelatin, which is full of amino acids that promote joint health. 4

Promotes Sleep & Cognitive Function

Bone broth is a good source of the amino acid glycine, which may help improve sleep quality. 5 6 One study found that participants who normally had difficulty sleeping experienced improved sleep quality and efficacy upon taking 3 grams of glycine before bed. 7 Getting enough quality sleep is essential for a number of crucial processes within the body, including improving brain health and cognitive function. 8 If you are looking for a simple way to improve your sleep, adding more bone broth to your diet may be right for you.

Reduces Inflammation

Bone broth contains the amino acids glycine and arginine, both of which are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. 9 10 This means that bone broth is a great addition to your diet if you are trying to reduce inflammation in your body. Chronic inflammation is linked to a number of health concerns and diseases, including heart diseases, arthritis, and diabetes. 11

Simple Bone Broth

This easy-to-make bone broth is full of nutrients and anti-inflammatory ingredients. You can adjust and swap out the vegetables as per your own personal preferences (or what you seasonally have on hand), but this is a good basic recipe to get started if you are new to making bone broth.

Reprinted with permission of NUNM alumna Dr. Kara Fitzgerald.


  • 2 lbs. poultry, fish, shellfish, beef, or lamb bones. Options include: cooked bone from a previous meal, with or without skin/meat; raw bones with or without skin and meat (can also be browned first for flavor); a whole carcass or just parts (good choices include feet, ribs, necks, and knuckles)
  • 4 cups cold water, or enough to cover the bones
  • 1–2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced in half
  • ¼ cup dried wild mushrooms, such as shitake
  • 1 tsp. turmeric powder or fresh turmeric root, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2–3 slices fresh ginger root, peeled
  • 1 tbsp. dried oregano
  • Handful fresh parsley


Combine bones, water, and vinegar in a pot, bring to a boil, remove any scum that has risen to the top, and reduce heat.

Simmer 4–6 hours for fish or shellfish, 6–48 hrs for poultry, 12–72 hrs for beef or lamb. The longer, the better so that more gelatin and nutrients are released into the liquid.

Add the vegetables, spices, and herbs for the last hour of cooking.

Strain through a sieve and discard the bones and vegetables. If uncooked meat was used to start with, you may reserve the meat for soups or salads. If you wish to remove the fat, use a gravy separator while the broth is warm, or skim the fat off the top once refrigerated.

Cold broth will gel when sufficient gelatin is present. Broth may be frozen for 6-8 months, or kept in the refrigerator for about 5 days. Pro tip: freeze the broth first, in ice cube trays for convenient portion sizes.

Broth can be used in soups, stews, braised dishes, sauces, or gravies. It can also be sipped as a warm drink, and is especially nice with a squeeze of lemon and a little sea salt.


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