Medicinal Broth

Cooking up a tonic broth, or How to bring comfort on your plate

When we talk about medicinal herbs, we often think of remedies, teas, extracts, capsules. Herb remedies can take many forms and medicinal broths are a great example of that diversity. Including medicinal herbs in the diet helps nourish the body to give it the necessary elements to regain balance, and it relieves or prevents a plethora of small health problems.

Inspired by Chinese tradition, medicinal broths make it possible to integrate medicinal herbs in our daily life. To prepare a broth, choose herbs for their nutritious value, their effect on body functions and their good taste. This way, they can be taken on a regular basis.

Broths are usually prepared from dried herbs but fresh herbs can be used when they are available. We propose here a vegetarian broth to help you through the cold and grey season. All broths are made the same way: simmer herbs with your favourite vegetables and spices to extract a maximum of nutrients, flavour and benefits.

Recipe for a Warming Tonic Broth

With this broth, you can regain energy and courage in times of stress and exhaustion. It gives the resilience necessary to get through winter without getting sick. Astragalus, eleuthero and medicinal mushrooms increase immunity and warm up the organism. Nettles and green oats bring minerals and keep the organism alkaline.

  • Put herbs and vegetables in a large pot or crockpot and cover with water. For a tonic broth, use 2 tablespoons of adaptogen herbs: astragalus root, eleuthero root, green oats, nettle leaves, reishi and shitake.
  • Add vegetables and spices to taste: onions, potatoes, carrots, beats, celery, sweet potatoes, rosemary, ginger, garlic, thyme, sage, etc. Dried seaweed add lots of minerals and a salty flavour.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for at least 30 minutes in order to extract the nourishing and therapeutic elements of the ingredients. Add water if needed. You can simmer a few hours if time and conditions permit.
  • When the broth is rich and tasty, let cool and filter. It will keep about a week in the fridge, longer if you put it in sterilized and sealed Mason jars.

A hot broth is delicious as is or with a little miso. It can be used to prepare soups, stews, to cook cereal or vegetables, it can be frozen in ice cube trays and used as needed. Frozen broth will not keep more than two months in the freezer. Anyway, the idea is not to keep them long but to use them daily for a few weeks.

Other suggestion: you can prepare a combination of dried herbs that you can simmer as needed. This is ideal for recurring health problems. You can react quickly at the first signs of trouble.

Experiment with the herbs you like. Choose plants with little aromatic oils, like roots and barks, and discover your favourite medicinal broth recipe. Let your food be your medicine.

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