Podcast 108: Herbs to Supercharge Bone Broth

It’s 2020, we don’t need to convince you that bone broth is good for you! But in case you’ve been living under a rock, bone broth is awesome for your digestive health, immune defenses, musculoskeletal resilience, and plenty more besides. So all on its own, it’s great – but you can add herbs to supercharge bone broth into something even better!

Our favorite herbs to enhance bone broth come in several key categories: Seaweeds provide mineral nutrition including iodine, along with unique seaweed polysaccharides that build immunity. Mushrooms have similar powers, and are even more famous as immunomodulators to help with everyday health as well as complex immune disorders. Other immune-centered adaptogenic herbs support immunity from the marrow on out. Mildly bitter, prebiotic roots improve digestion, liver action, and gut flora composition. And then there are plenty of “herbs & spices” to try for digestive benefits and for specific medicinal attributes.

Learn how to work with all of these and make your homemade broth something truly special!

Herbs discussed include dulse, nori, irish moss, kelp, alaria, digitata, bladderwrack, shiitake, maitake, turkey tails, oyster mushroom, lion’s mane, reishi, astragalus, codonopsis, burdock, dandelion, chicory, calamus, angelica, ginger, turmeric, sage, rosemary, thyme, fennel, calendula, goji, & hawthorn.

Mentioned in this episode:

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Our theme music is “Wings” by Nicolai Heidlas.

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Episode Transcript

Katja (00:00:01):
Hi, I’m Katja.

Ryn (00:00:16):
and I’m Ryn.

Katja (00:00:16):
And we’re here at the Commonwealth Center for Holistic Herbalism in Boston, Massachusetts.

Ryn (00:00:20):
And on the internet everywhere thanks to the power of the podcast. All right, so what are we up to? Is this episode 108? Am I reading this right?

Katja (00:00:29):
Yes. Yes you are. Wow.

Ryn (00:00:31):
All right, cool. So in this one we’re going to take a good thing and we’re going to make it better. Is that how that song goes? I never listened to the Beatles. I know that’s weird, but I just don’t know.

Katja (00:00:44):
Okay. I’m going to state from the beginning, we will not be putting any Beatles into the bone broth. Okay. If you would like to listen to the Beatles while you make your bone broth, that’s fine. This bone broth will not contain any Beatles,

Ryn (00:01:02):
I’m going to chew on that idea for a while, come back to you and I will spit out some exoskeleton.

Katja (00:01:12):
You guys, he wants to eat bugs. He really wants to eat bugs. And I support…

Ryn (00:01:19):
We’ve gotten as far as crickets. We’ve worked to do some cricket dishes and it’s been pretty good.

Katja (00:01:24):
I support that ecologically but I do not want to eat bugs. I don’t want to look at bugs on my plate and put them in my mouth. So we’ve worked with ground up crickets.

Ryn (00:01:34):
If they’re in the broth you won’t see them until they swim up to the top.

Katja (00:01:39):
We’re not putting beetles in the broth. All of you guys listening to this podcast do not worry. There won’t be any beetles in the broth.

Ryn (00:01:48):
This week’s episode of the holistic herbalism podcast is about bone broth, how great it is and how adding herbs, but not beetles, to it can make it even better. Yes, that’s what we’re talking about here.

Katja (00:02:00):
Before we get really focused onto this topic, before we reign ourselves in from this tangent, we do need to do our reclaimer. Which is to tell you enthusiastically that we are not doctors. We are herbalists and holistic health educators.

Ryn (00:02:17):
The ideas we discuss in our podcast do not constitute medical advice. No state or federal authority licenses, herbalists in the United States. So these discussions are for educational purposes only, but I mean education is a pretty worthy purpose. Yeah. Everyone’s body is different. So the things we’re talking about may or may not apply directly to you, but they will give you some information to think about and some ideas to research further.

Katja (00:02:41):
We want to remind you that your good health is your own personal responsibility. So the final decision in any course of therapy, whether it’s discussed on the internet or prescribed by your physician, is always yours, which we think is a wonderfully empowering thing.

Ryn (00:02:58):
Yeah. You probably knew that all of the decisions you make in your kitchen are yours as well. Yes. So let’s do that.

Katja (00:03:08):
That was a good transition there.

Ryn (00:03:11):
No, it was excellent. Yes, because that’s where you make the broth. I mean, probably in the kitchen.

Why Bone Broth?

Katja (00:03:17):
So a bone broth, right? It’s 2020 by now, everybody has rediscovered that bone broth is really good for you. It’s becoming trendy. Normally I try to really stay away from things that are trendy, especially when herbs get trendy. Like a particular herb because usually they’re coming from someplace far away and usually some place that’s probably being exploited. Also, when herbs get trendy, I fear for the population of that plant and the sustainability of it. Normally when things get trendy, I sort of back off. Bone broth, I’m so excited that bone broth is trendy.

Ryn (00:03:57):
This is an acceptable trend.

Katja (00:03:58):
Yes. This is a part of human existence, right. For as long as we’ve been humaning, we’ve been putting bones in water, cooking it and then drinking the water.

Ryn (00:04:08):
Right. Yeah. Among other things, you can soften them to the point where you can get what’s inside. Yeah. That is some good stuff.

Katja (00:04:15):
Exactly. Yeah. This is a way to get really bioavailable minerals into your system. It is so much better than a calcium tablet. This is minerals that are going to come. Bones are not only made out of calcium, they’re made out of lots and lots of minerals. They’re a complex crystal infrastructure that holds minerals, like a bank. So when we make bone broth, we are creating a really mineral rich broth that has those minerals. Elsie is just really trying to get comfortable on her dog bed here beside us and it’s sort of ridiculous.

Ryn (00:04:56):
Are you having fun Puppa?

Katja (00:05:00):
I always feel like I should include pictures of our pets on the podcast page with all the links because they’re forever making noises or making appearances. Just lay down Puppa. Just lay down and be comfy. Good dog. Alright. Bone broth. We were talking about minerals. So the thing is that extracting those minerals into water makes them really available for your body to absorb. It does that in a like ratio that is the way that your body expects it to be. If you just take a calcium tablet, like you’re just getting buckets of calcium and your body’s kind of like, I don’t really know what to do with this. There’s just too much. In bone broth, this is calcium that is easy to assimilate, easy to absorb. It comes in ratio with the magnesium, selenium and all the different things that go into bones. It’s amazing.

Ryn (00:06:01):
There’s a ton of great stuff. So I mean, from your bones, you’re getting your mineral content. You’re getting things that are not easy to get other places. You’re getting gelatin and that’s going to be supporting your mucous membranes. GI tract, restoring integrity there, which is really important. It’s something that’s the opposite of leaky gut. It’s integral gut syndrome.

Katja (00:06:25):
No integral gut. It’s not a syndrome. It’s a good thing.

Ryn (00:06:33):
There we go. Yeah. Then there are some other fun things in bone broth, especially when you make it from bones that have some gristle or some connective tissue on there. Collagen that’s going to deliver some things like chondroitin and other glycosaminoglycans, including glucosomine, which is pretty famous. You can get some elements, but these are elements that are going to help to both soothe inflammation in your GI tract and to regulate some damage there. Also after they’ve been absorbed, utilized and spread through the body, these are going to contribute to the growth and healing of connective tissue in your body. So your joints, tendons or ligaments, all these different places are going to be nourished by this food. That’s pretty awesome. Bone broth also provides a lot of glycine, which is a particular amino acid and this has its own jobs. It’s important in wound healing. It’s going to help to improve the digestive process on its own. It also supports liver function in your body. It can support liver function in a way that helps you to clear those stress hormones more readily and more completely. Glycine helps to balance out your amino acid profile in such a way that you actually get more benefit from the meat that you eat. You know as meat eaters here we think it’s important to not just eat meat, but to have the whole array of animal foods. Organ meats are a big part of that, but bone broth is a really essential part of that. Like you said, this all kind of goes back to humans hunting and then saying, well, I went through all that trouble.

Katja (00:08:18):
Right? I took the life of an animal. I am not going to waste any part of it. I feel that way about the life of animals that nourished me and also the life of plants that nourish me. I don’t want to waste any part of it because that thing was alive and now it is my food. I want to be worth that food. I want to not waste any. I also want to live a life that will honor the sacrifice that the things that fed me made to feed me.

Ryn (00:08:44):
It really matters, you know? So that way nothing is going to waste and that’s good all the way around for you.

Katja (00:08:52):
You know, you mentioned protein absorbability and that is also something to think about when we’re thinking about bone broth. There’s actually quite a bit of protein in there. There’s also, unless you skim it off, fat in there. When we’re thinking about bone broth, this is a super easy to digest food that will sustain you for a long period of time if you are a person who, for whatever reason right now, can’t really eat food. This is going to be true for a huge spectrum of people. Whether this is a person who has just had a big Crohn’s flare up or an IBS flare up and their guts feel awful. They just can’t stomach basically anything. You can just sip on broth all day long. You’re probably going to lose some weight because you’re not eating as many calories but your body’s going to keep going because you are at least getting all of the nutrients that you need to keep things moving. Especially if we add herbs into there as well, right? This is also beautiful for somebody, let’s say who is going through chemotherapy. They’re not really able to eat because they’re really nauseous and nothing is right in their body. Everything is sort of dealing with the toxicity of the chemotherapy, which you know, they’re doing because they need to do right now. It takes a really big toll on the body. So here again, we have something that is highly, highly nutritive and can keep a person going over a long haul. Even when a person is in a place where they really can’t eat solid food and have that stay in them.

Ryn (00:10:38):
Right. Yeah. I mean bone broth provides all these different kinds of things and this is before we even have gotten around to putting herbs into it. Right? This is one of the things actually that makes us prefer broth to trying to isolate what’s good in broth, pull that out and have that. I’ve seen a lot of things lately. Like, if you don’t want to eat bone broth, you can still get a lot of the benefits from just consuming gelatin. And that’s true to an extent, but gelatin is only one of many things that you’re going to get in broth.

Katja (00:11:12):
Right. This is a whole spectrum and just like if you isolate calcium and take it by itself, like that’s actually not super helpful to your body. Your body’s like, gee, thanks, but kind of not. Ultimately, you could go in a kidney stone direction with that. When you have calcium in its full spectrum of all the different things that your body’s going to expect to come at the same time, then your body’s like, Oh, I can break this down. I can combine it with this, I can use it over here. This is great.

Ryn (00:11:46):
Yeah. Those expectations come from millennia of existing, consuming these things in this kind of pattern. Yeah. So, okay. It’s a thing, but you may be saying, Oh, okay, I know that all my ancestors knew how to do this, but I don’t know where to start. What do I do? How do I go from bones to broth? You know, when it comes to the alchemy there. It’s super simple. It’s really easy.

How to Make Bone Broth: The Basics

Katja (00:12:07):
You take a bunch of bones, you put them in a pot. Fill it with water, apply fire.

Ryn (00:12:14):
Don’t forget that part. It really helps.

Katja (00:12:16):
You can do this in a crockpot. You can do it on your stove. You do want to cook it for a long time. You really want to cook it until those bones get soft and crumbly. I’m going to sneeze any minute here. Just to warn you. You want to do it till those bones, get soft and you can squish them. You might boil this or simmer it, well bring it to a boil then back of down to a simmer, for hours. What we like to do is to bring it up to a boil, boil it for three or four hours and sort of leave it on the stove. Anytime that I’m in the kitchen, like I go to making some lunch, okay, boil the bone broth. I’m going to make it some dinner up, boil the bone broth. That way I don’t have it turned on like for an entire day. It’s sort a little bit more energy efficient. This works great with a crockpot too. If you just turn it on in the morning and pop the lid on it. It’s going to just simmer and bubble all day long and then at night you will have simmered it for 10 or 12 hours and it’s ready to go.

Ryn (00:13:23):
You could work with any kind of bones that you like. You can even make a broth that doesn’t have any bones in it but still has a lot of similar benefits. If you had a whole bunch of shells left over from eating mussels and clams and that kind of thing.

Katja (00:13:38):
Yup. We did it once with crab. Remember that there was a New Years.

Ryn (00:13:42):
Yeah, It was so good!

Katja (00:13:42):
There was one New Year’s where my daughter really wanted to see what crab was all about. We got those big long legs that they have at the grocery store on like a pile of ice. We were like, okay, let’s see what this is like. We took all of the exoskeleton parts and put them in the pot and filled it with water and applied fire. Hey, crab broth. It was great.

Ryn (00:14:05):
Yeah, it can be fish heads, scales, fins and all of that stuff.

Katja (00:14:10):
Yup. Chicken feet. It can be basically any bone. I will say that I combined bones, so I do keep them sort of…

Ryn (00:14:19):
You have reluctantly come around to doing that. When I first met you, you would never ever do that. No way.

Katja (00:14:26):
We’ll have some never Evers. For example. I don’t like to mix chicken bones with beef bones. That’s gross. Pork bones? I’ll kind of put anywhere. That’s fine. I do like to keep my land animals separate from my sea animals. I don’t want chicken bones and fish mouths together. That seems gross to me. Typically I will keep all of my things that can fly, any of those bones can go together. Things on four legs, any of those bones can go together. You can put any bones you want together, but to my palate, that is the most pleasing. I also want to say here that…Is this a good time to say this? I don’t know, but you don’t have to make it yourself. It’s great if you have bones and make it yourself for lots of reasons, not the least of which you paid for those bones. Make the broth out of them and these days where we have crockpots, it will do the work for you. So, that’s really great. The reality is that sometimes you are so busy that you literally cannot toss the bones and a gallon of water into a crockpot. There are days like that and it is real. I just want to say from the very beginning, this isn’t really the very beginning anymore, It’s like 20 minutes in. Fine, the 20 minutes point, I really want to say that it is okay to purchase broth. All the things that we’re going to say from here forward about all the things that you can put in it, you can still do if you buy the broth. The most important thing is that the broth gets into your body. I don’t want to set up some kind of purity test or whatever that you’re never going to be healthy if you don’t make your own bone broth. You can buy it. It’s totally fine. Totally. We always have a couple of boxes of bone broth in the house because sometimes I get busy and that’s always when one of us gets sick. Then I didn’t have time to make broth and maybe I don’t have any in the freezer or whatever. It’s fine, I will put on a box of broth, put all this stuff, heat it up and then we’re going to eat it. It’s going to be fine. So, alright. Just got that out of the way. You are not never going to be healthy if you don’t make your own broth, you can buy it. It is okay.

Ryn (00:16:54):
Yeah. All right, cool. So let’s start talking about enhancing our bone broth with the addition of herbs. Let’s get to that cause that’s really what this podcast is mostly about.

Katja (00:17:07):
You have this great list here.

Ryn (00:17:11):
We’re organized by category.

Katja (00:17:12):
We are organized by category. I want to change the order of the categories. I should have done that before we started. Okay. I want to change the order of the categories. Here’s the reason why. You’re starting off with bitter prebiotic roots and I hate it when you put those in the broth. Right?

Ryn (00:17:31):
We should probably do it by things that go in before we divide and spice.

Katja (00:17:36):
That’s what I’m thinking! The seaweeds and mushrooms first because those are the things that taste like they belong there or…That sounds kind of weird. The flavor, they are flavors that you will not notice. They just become a savory part of the soup. If you’re thinking, Ryn, I don’t know how you manage to put all this reishi in your soup. Then you end up with this bitter soup and perhaps you even want to put the word nasty in front of it. That doesn’t make you not an herbalist. I too can’t stand bitter soup. I would love it if I could, but I just don’t like it.

Ryn (00:18:16):
You get your bitter other places.

Katja (00:18:18):
I get my bitter other places and it just doesn’t appeal to me. So if you don’t mind, I would like to reorder this, which actually you already did.

Ryn (00:18:27):
Yeah. This will be good too because that is an important aspect about the broth making process in our house. We’ve taught this to other people and I think it’s working for them too. You start with these things in it from the beginning. They have a savory flavor, they combine well with the flavor of the bones itself. Um, and they’re not like very strong and noticeable, but then later on we’re going to put in some stuff to, to spice it up, to push it in a maybe a particular medicinal direction as well. It is handy to have that as the process every time because different people are going to like different kinds of spice. Even if you’re not thinking about the digestive power of Sage or whatever. Somebody just might not want that. You have your kind of like neutral broth, get that and make a whole bunch of that. Then by your cup or by your bowl is when you’re adding in more specific herbs or herbs and spices.

Seaweeds

Katja (00:19:25):
Yeah. The other thing is that there’s so many ways to work with bone broth. If you’re like, Oh, but I don’t like soup, well I am right there with you. I too do not love soup. One thing that we do is if we make rice instead of water, we use bone broth for the water part, and now suddenly we have like drastically increased the nutritional value of the rice. If that’s the case, you kind of want the flavor of what you’re working with to be a neutral, savory flavor. Maybe you don’t know, is this rice going to go with Curry or is this rice going to go with some fish? I don’t want the flavor to be too strong so I can make it match with whatever my meal is going to be.

Ryn (00:20:12):
So let’s start with seaweeds then.

Katja (00:20:15):
Let’s do that. Oh my goodness. Seaweeds. I’ve been talking for a while. Is it your turn?

Ryn (00:20:21):
Sure.

Katja (00:20:21):
I just realized I’m like babble babble babble.

Ryn (00:20:24):
That’s fine. We love it.

Katja (00:20:24):
I want to babble all about seaweeds but I’ll let you do it first.

Ryn (00:20:29):
Well let’s start with a couple of red seaweeds actually. So, Dulce and Nori are two of our absolute favorites to put into broth. I feel like if we had all of the whole seaweed palliate available to us, but we’re making broth, those are probably the first ones I would reach for.

Katja (00:20:45):
Yeah. My two favorite.

Ryn (00:20:46):
They’re really tasty. Yeah, they’re savory. They’re a bit umami, I would say. In flavor. Yeah. They’re rich, rich, and enriching to the flavor of the soup. So there’s lots of reason to recommend them just from a culinary profile.

Katja (00:21:02):
Yeah. Really super delicious.

Ryn (00:21:04):
Yeah. Dulce in particular is one of the best for people who are kind of new to seaweed, maybe don’t eat a whole lot of it. Maybe their only prior experience with seaweed was that green paper stuff that you wrap your sushi in it, which is cool, you know, Hey, everything counts. Dulce has a pretty mild flavor. It’s not too fishy. It’s not super intense. Even the seaweed itself is pretty easy to chew. Which not every seaweed actually is, you know, you get to your bladderwracks and stuff and it’s like a little bit of a workout.

Katja (00:21:38):
Yeah. Dulce, you can actually just eat without cooking it and really maybe Nori. The other seaweeds, you really cannot do that. You have to do something before you can.

Ryn (00:21:49):
They should at least be roasted or something.

Katja (00:21:51):
You can’t just grab a piece of digitata that’s never going to happen. Yeah, yeah.

Ryn (00:21:58):
So the red seaweeds have a lot to recommend. We do have a blog post about red seaweeds. About the Brown as well. So I’ll put those in the show notes too, can take it a little further. Basically these are healing agents. They’re vulneraries in herbal language, which is to say they help to heal damage, heal wounds, to accelerate the regrowth of healthy tissue in your stomach and in your GI tract. With all three of your intestines, we’re thinking there about damage not caused by like cuts and scrapes so much, but by inflammation, by irritations. Your body responding to the things you eat and fighting with them. Some of them are just getting some irritation going on. Red seaweeds really helped to soothe that, heal that and calm that down. They can even help to fight off viral infections, or maybe better said to help to normalize the viral aspects of your microbiome. That might be a little bit closer to the truth there. All of our seaweeds…

Katja (00:22:58):
Wait, not necessarily truth, but a little closer to the mechanism of action. Okay. Because the end results, that was a true statement, but if we’re thinking about the mechanism of action of it, yeah. Okay.

Ryn (00:23:13):
Speaking of the microbiome, all of our seaweeds are going to have beneficial effects on your gut flora. They all have prebiotic fibers that are going to be food and nutrients for your friendly gut critters. That’s pretty cool. Now there is a little bit of an adjustment period. So if you’re brand new to eating seaweed and you make your broth with like piles and piles of it and chew it all down and eat lots of it, you’ll probably get some intestinal gas and all of that for a couple of days. You will adapt and after that it will fade away and recede so you can like introduce slowly and build up. You can just cope with that for a little while. That’s not a sign that something has gone wrong. It’s just a sign of remodeling. Yeah.

Katja (00:24:03):
You know, another of the red seaweeds is irish moss. Irish moss is, Oh my goodness. It’s amazing. It too has a mild savory flavor. It has a little bit more of a fishy smell. For all of the seaweeds that goes away very quickly. If you’re keeping it in a package, like a jar or a bag or something, when you open the bag, you will smell like, wow, it smells really like the ocean at low tide. If you put that in within five minutes, that smell has completely dissipated. So if you are put off by the smell I just want to assure you that the flavor won’t be that way and that the smell dissipates really fast to just turn the vent on your stove or open the window. Really gone quick. If you however are turned on by that smell, like maybe you really love being by the seaside and you’re like, Oh, smells like the ocean. Well then that’s just fantastic. Irish moss is a seaweed that has a really high mucilage content. Mucilages are demulcents. These are slimy constituents. You will see that when you’re making the broth with irish moss, it thickens up. Especially as it starts to cool. It really thickens up.

Ryn (00:25:26):
What you might not notice until that happens. It’d be like, yeah, it’s hot, it’s liquid, it hits like water. Okay. Then you let it cool down and come back and you’re like,

Katja (00:25:34):
it’s like jello. Yeah. Now a good broth is going to have this aspect anyway because there’s already gelatin in the gristle of the bones. You will see with the irish moss, it gets so…literally you could put it in a jello mold.

Ryn (00:25:50):
cut it into cubes

Katja (00:25:50):
Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. And in fact, that is a traditional dessert in Ireland that they would take and boil down the Irish Moss and then put sweetener in there and maybe some cream or some different things, makes it into something very similar… Fun. Like a jello mold except, like a jello ring, except the flavors a little different. This irish moss is really, really particularly beautiful if you are feeling digestive distress, IBS, crones, ulcerative colitis, celiac, any of that stuff. The gut distress from chemo too. Any of that is going to be amazing. When you add in the irish moss.

Ryn (00:26:45):
Yeah. I mean we have, we have listeners from lots of experience levels. Many herbalists have learned or taught about working with slippery Elm for people who are convalescing or going through chemo or this kind of thing. Making slippery Elm gruel is not really all that different from making Irish moss gruel.

Katja (00:27:05):
I find it more palatable.

Ryn (00:27:06):
Like irish moss bone broth gruel food kind of thing.

Katja (00:27:11):
Yeah, I find it a lot more delicious.

Ryn (00:27:12):
Yeah.

Katja (00:27:12):
I mean personally.

Ryn (00:27:12):
It’s certainly on par and I think in some elements it could exceed the slippery elm in terms of its regenerative potential.

Katja (00:27:20):
Not to mention the sustainability. You know, Irish moss is more sustainable than slippery elm, because slippery elm right now is really suffering from Dutch Elm disease. Irish moss is cultivatable. I think what I really mean by that is Stewardable, you know, like we can Steward our population of Irish Moss in being very careful about how we harvest it and ensuring that it’s coming back every year. It is very possible and many, many companies are harvesting seaweed in unsustainable ways. That poses a big risk to the seaweed populations. But there are also many, many places where you can purchase seaweed that is being not just sustainably harvested but legitimately stewarded. I think that just as a sort of a sneak peak, I’m really excited to talk about this concept next in next week. It’s an episode about stewardship and sustainability as herbalists. I want to just, I think we’ll bring this up multiple more times as this episode goes through, but I want to be really thinking about when you’re sourcing seaweed to do the work of finding a company to purchase from that is stewarding their seaweed populations. For us that is Atlanticholdfast.com and we’ll put that link in the show notes for you.

Ryn (00:28:59):
Yeah, that’s a great supplier. So, they’ll have the red seaweeds there. Nori definitely has a season.

Katja (00:29:08):
Nori is hard to get in this country. We don’t have enormous populations of it. You can have a little bit every year and that’s appropriate. That’s totally fine. Yeah.

Ryn (00:29:20):
There’s usually a lot of kelp available.

Katja (00:29:22):
There is. Yes. Kelp and Alaria and Digitata these are really tough seaweeds. In terms of a flavor profile, they are maybe the next level. They’re a little bit more oceanic. Still very savory. Still the fishy smell goes away really quickly. It will not taste like fish in your chicken broth. It really does just taste savory. It’s a little bit more flavor forward. I again, I’m a picky eater. I don’t know what to tell you. I shouldn’t be a picky eater. I know how to not be a picky eater. I know how to be grateful for whatever shows up on my plate. If I am cooking, I’m picky and I’m still perfectly happy with kelp and Alaria and Digitata. So if you’re a little worried about trying it, I think that you will probably find that it is just a lovely savory addition. These seaweeds are tougher. They need more time to cook. It’s better if they’re chopped up some. The best way to do that is with scissors, like a really strong pair of scissors,

Ryn (00:30:37):
Right? Because you could get these from the seaweed harvester and they’ll be in these long strips, maybe even like folded back on themselves. That’s actually useful because sometimes we want a big long strip of seaweed to do a wrap around a sprained ankle or around a place where there’s some bone reformation or even like just skin remodeling that has to happen. Seaweed wraps are awesome and it’s super handy that they can come in that form, but when you’re going to eat it, you’re probably not going to do the lady and the tramp thing where you just have a big long sweet seaweed noodle between the two of you. Probably no, not quite because the other one, but yeah, chop it up with scissors, no problems.

Katja (00:31:16):
Maybe you’re cooking for a family and maybe some member of your family is kind of picky and they’re not willing to eat the seaweed or see it in the broth or maybe the recipe that you’re making just calls for clear broth. Maybe you’re making French onion soup or something. You just don’t want to have a lot of things floating around in there. Working with just one large piece of kelp or like maybe breaking it into a couple of pieces allows you to easily remove it when you have created the broth. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s great to eat it. You get a lot of the fibers that way. You do get just more in general of all this stuff. But if you’ve simmered that for a good long time then basically it is in the broth. What broth really is, tea made out of bones and whatever else you put in it. Right. So this is bone and seaweed tea. Just cook it for a good long time and a lot of what’s in the seaweed is now in the broth. If you’re thinking, Oh, this is a great idea, but there is no way that my husband, kid, sister, whoever would ever eat something if there was seaweed in it, you don’t have to tell them, strain it out. They’ll still be getting the good stuff. Yeah.

Ryn (00:32:35):
You know, a lot of the good stuff in question here is going to be the same as with the red seaweeds. You’re going to get those minerals, you’re going to get that wound healing effect. You’re going to get some of those interesting prebiotic fibers and some other really special polysaccharide compounds that you’re only going to find in seaweed and not in any land plants. Things like fucoidon and algin and things that have been found to interface with our immune system in really interesting ways to challenge the immune system and awaken it, but not to overstimulate. Only to give it a little bit of an enhancement or a supercharge, you know. Those are really valuable in that regard and have some similarity to what we’re going to talk about when we get to the medicinal mushrooms in one moment. One last thing on seaweed is the iodine content. That would fall under, under like elementals or minerals in here. Iodine is one of these that’s really, again, unique to the seaweeds, hard to access from land plants and even from land foods generally. I mean like you can eat the thyroid of a moose and that has a bunch of iodine.

Katja (00:33:43):
Yeah. There’s not a lot of it though. Like you’re not going to get that. Yeah.

Ryn (00:33:49):
But you know, historically, right. I’m not even kidding. People would recognize conditions and say you need to either eat the thyroid, have a moose or we need to trade for some seaweed from the people who live by the coast cause that will solve this problem. Many of those are what today we would look at as thyroid deficiency or thyroid disorders of various kinds. Seaweed provides this essential nutrient and it can be extremely powerful in helping to resolve problems that originate with a lack of it. Otherwise you’ve got trouble with thyroid function and I mean that echoes out all throughout the whole rest of your body.

Katja (00:34:27):
Really. Yeah.

Ryn (00:34:28):
Thermometer. It’s how warm you can keep your body and that that’s going to affect your mood and your emotions as well as your digestion rates, you know, and how fast your hair grows.

Katja (00:34:39):
Not to mention that it is closely intertwined with our bodies uptake and utilization of minerals. It is like there’s just so much going on with the thyroid.

Ryn (00:34:52):
Yeah. So seaweeds are a really great way to sustain and maintain good thyroid health. The consequences from that can be really broad. So yeah.

Katja (00:35:05):
You know, bladderwrack is a seaweed that if you really are going for the iodine content, that is one that it’s great to work with. That falls into that the Brown seaweed category and it’s much more like flavor forward than like Dulce. Again, it is palatable. It is, it’s totally doable. It’s got a much higher iodine content, so they all have it. They all have all this stuff. I would say in terms of specifically the dulce, Nori and the Irish Moss are going to be great, but lower and Capillary Digitata and then especially bladderwrack are going to be higher. Yeah.

Mushrooms

Ryn (00:35:49):
Cool. Okay. Well let’s move on then. Talk about some of the medicinal mushrooms we’d like to put in our broths.

Katja (00:35:55):
Yeah. Oh, mushrooms. Yeah. I mean, yum.

Ryn (00:35:57):
Probably the most common ones are Shitake. Yeah.

Katja (00:36:01):
Shitake are easy to get. Most people can get them fresh at the grocery store. You can get them dried. I find the flavor to be very off putting. It is not the same. Yeah. It’s really not the same when it’s fresh or when it’s dried. So with Shitake, I really want them fresh. However you, with all mushrooms, it’s really important to cook them for a good long time. And now we’re back to bugs because…

Ryn (00:36:38):
Yes, you’re following that one, right?

Katja (00:36:41):
Because there is a constituent in the cellular structure of mushrooms that is also in bugs, and it’s called chitin and it’s very difficult to break down. Lots of the good stuff that’s in mushrooms is sort of like protected by this chitin. The way to break it down is to cook it for a long time. So broth is really an ideal way to work with mushrooms. Even though you’ve got fresh, shitake mushrooms and in one sense you could chew them, you could eat them without cooking them, you’re just not going to get as much out of them. Even if you saute them, you won’t get as much out of them. They’re delicious that way, but you won’t get nearly as much out of them as you do when you really cook them for a good long time in the broth.

Ryn (00:37:34):
Yeah. Kind of on that note, this also really applies to the discussion of seaweeds. You’re going to be getting much more of these things when you actually eat the material, right. So, if you make your broth with seaweed and shitake, maitake and these other mushrooms and all but then strain it out like through a mesh strainer or something before you actually drink it. Yes, you are still getting protein, you are still getting minerals, you are still getting those fibers and everything discuss it. It’s great. It’s awesome. However, you will get more of all of those things if you actually eat the bits of seaweed and you eat the bits of the mushroom and all of that. So especially if this is something that you are relying on as a major source of mineral content, of protein and all of that, then you definitely going to want to be eating up all of those good bits.

Katja (00:38:27):
Well, and if you can. If you’re in a place where you’re just super nauseous and you can’t chew anything, it is fine. You’re still going to get a lot of good.

Ryn (00:38:35):
Yeah. I’m thinking maybe somebody is a vegan and they don’t want to have any bones in their broth, but they still want to have broth. Then the seaweeds and the mushrooms become even more important. They become really, really important. At that point then you definitely are going to want to be eating them so that you really do get whatever is present there. Absolutely. Cause you’re missing out on major sources otherwise in that particular diet. So, okay. You know, shitake tastes good and when you cook them that way they’re not hard to eat. They don’t remain hard to chew or anything.

Katja (00:39:07):
They’re almost like noodles at that point.

Ryn (00:39:08):
Yeah. They break down and I think maitake even more so,

Katja (00:39:11):
I love maitake. Maitake don’t have the problem that shitake does. When you dry them they dry very mild and that’s great because sometimes it’s hard to find Shitake fresh. Sometimes it’s harder to find my maitake, but you can get them dried. Even mountain Rose carries them. So, that is one that I really liked to always have in the pantry because, if I get sick and it’s an inconvenient time and I didn’t just go to the store yesterday and I don’t have any fresh mushrooms, I can always have maitake dried in the pantry and just toss it right in. It tastes great. It’s again, really mild. It’s really savory. It has a little bit of salty umaminess to it. It just blends really well with the broth in general. Ultimately, if you’ve simmered it for a while, again, it sort of has a noodle like consistency, almost like an al dente noodle. They’re great.

Ryn (00:40:15):
For sure. Yeah. Turkey tails and oyster mushrooms are pretty similar in regards to the way they behave and also in terms of their medicinal aspects here with all of these mushrooms. We’re looking again at some of their complex polysaccharides, right? So these are structures that are like chemically related to sugar but don’t really behave anything like sugar in your body because they’re much longer and more complex. They branch and they bend in interesting ways and much of what they do in regards to our health has to do with the way our immune systems respond to them and the way our gut flora respond to them, which is sort of a way of saying the same thing because a lot of your guys’ job is to be part of your immune system to perform functions like that. So most famously we’re talking about what are called beta glucans. Don’t get stuck on that and think that that’s the end of the story when it comes to medicinal mushrooms. It’s just kind of the most famous ones, right? Beta glucans are immunomodulating polysaccharides found in medicinal mushrooms. Yes, yes. What does that mean? It means these are constituents that can enhance immunity where it’s deficient, but also redirect or calm down immunity where it’s excessive and excessive immune expressions are generally going to mean inflammation that’s raging. Maybe some cases of autoimmunity could be involved in a presentation like that. So those are pretty common actually in our world, in our time. Medicinal mushrooms can be really helpful and it’s not at all uncommon for people to have deficient immune expression where you need it to like fight off pathogens you get exposed to at the same time as expressive immune activity where you don’t need it like attacking your own joints and giving you rheumatoid arthritis. mushrooms are going to help kind of across the board for a case like that. That’s one of the many reasons we like them.

Ryn (00:42:20):
I love mushrooms. They are so helpful to me and they’re just a really important part of my complete health protocol. You know, I can remember times when the budget was really tight and I would just protect a little bit of money in the grocery budget to be like, okay, I need some mushrooms. Because that really helps my body. I would always protect just this little separate mushroom budget, even if it was small because they really, really do ignite. I have an autoimmune condition. For me, that is a huge part of managing that, keeping it in check up. I’m asymptomatic, but that’s because of the work that I do to manage it. Mushrooms are just, I have so much gratitude to them for this. I want to add one other one in there actually and that’s lion’s mane mushroom, which is not always easy to find, but if you can get your hands on it is super effective. Especially if you have any kind of nervous system issue which I do. So this is really regenerative to the nervous system. It still has all those other immunomodulating effects, but also super nourishing and regenerative to nerve tissue itself. Um, so again, like you can’t always get your hands on it.

Katja (00:43:49):
When you can, it’s delicious. It’s very mild. It’s one that I really want to learn how to grow. Hmm. Yeah. We’re going to get there. Nice. Yeah.

Ryn (00:44:05):
Another one that we’d like to encourage and also that we know we found in the forests of places where we live and explore is reishi, right? It’s also called ling chih, but, reishi. So this is a medicinal mushroom that is very powerful and has a very long history of medicinal work in cultures of the places where it grows most famously, China and East Asia. Reishi is another immunomodulating mushroom and it also has benefits for liver function, cardiovascular system and for your digestive function as well. So there’s really…

Katja (00:44:47):
and nervous system health, emotional health and respiratory health. Reishi is a powerhouse

Ryn (00:44:54):
It’s one of these one of these things that gets a reputation as the, the mushroom of immortality, right? The elixir of long life path thing and there’s a fair argument to be made for that. Yeah. Reishi differs from the others we’ve discussed so far in that no matter how long you put it in the broth, you are not going to chop this down. No, you can’t. Reishi is Woody and rubbery at the same time. And so…

Katja (00:45:20):
yeah, it’s like very durable styrofoam. I don’t know. It’s, yeah. You can’t chew it.

Ryn (00:45:27):
Yeah. So you’ll generally have Reishi from your friendly neighborhood herb supplier. It will often come in these slices of the mushroom that are kind of like, yeah.

Katja (00:45:40):
Yeah I like them because they can see it, right? No, you guys can see this, right? Well you guys watching on YouTube can see it. I like it cause they kind look like mustaches. that’s exactly what, you can see in them that like as you get them sliced, don’t buy them, not sliced because you basically need a saw to cut them if they’ve been dried whole. Yeah. If you get them sliced, you’ll see that there’s like all the different parts. There’s the very fine like gills. They’re not gills because reishi is a poly pore mushroom.

Ryn (00:46:21):
There’s like striations internally.

Katja (00:46:23):
When you look at it internally, it almost looks like there’s gills. Then just the different sort of hat layers on top of that that are protecting it.

Ryn (00:46:37):
I mean it looks almost like it’s been lacquered. If they actually see the surface, it has this Brown, red mahogany color on it. Fascinating stuff. Yeah, so we would often get it this way and take some of these and put them into the broth. But this is one where you can run into that problem of making your soup too bitter to really…

Katja (00:46:57):
yes. I will never put reishi in the broth. I know that there’s an entire culture of Asia that is like, why would you not put reishi in the broth? For all of the people in the world who grew up eating bitter soup, that is a skill that I would like to develop, but I haven’t done it yet. And so I do not put reishi in the broth because it is really super bitter, is not a little bit bitter. It’s a lot bitter. Yeah. Your broth will taste like reishi and I just don’t like it, but reishi is amazing. And my favorite way to work with reishi is as a water extract. So I put mine in the not coffee, that’s how I like it. We’ll put a link to not coffee in the show notes. Yeah, no problem.

Ryn (00:47:48):
But yeah, don’t let that dissuade you. Give it a try at least once and see what you think. But maybe start with a small batch, right. Make a batch of broth and then take like a bowl of broth in those small pots and add a bitter ratio to it and cook it up for a while and then taste that and see what you think. And if you do enjoy it that way, then that’s fantastic. You can put it a little bit of reishi into your big batch every time you make it and just get that coming in on a regular basis.

Katja (00:48:12):
Yeah, I mean I really encourage people to try it and it really encourage people to try to like it. Try to develop a taste for it. I also want to just be really honest. That is not what the palette of a Western industrialized nation is really geared to expect. The reason that I want to be really upfront about that is because if you try it and then you don’t like it, you might be like, Oh well I’ll never like herbs in my broth. No, this is just cooking. It’s just a matter of finding the flavors that you like together. This flavor is very, very strong and very challenging. That’s a challenge I want to meet, but I haven’t met that yet. So it’s just handy to know but the flip side of that is it goes great with coffee. Like, the bitter flavor of reishi blends beautifully with the bitter flavor of coffee. So for me, that’s how I like to get that in. I do every day a little decaf, the little reishi, some ashwagandha. It’s great.

Immune-Related Adaptogens

Ryn (00:49:19):
Yeah. Yeah. Well, speaking of ashwagandha, let’s move on and talk about some immune related adaptogens. And this would absolutely include reishi, right? Yes. It’s a nice sort of pivot point. Right here’s thinking about some that are going to get us outside of the fungal kingdom.

Katja (00:49:40):
Here we’re thinking about astragalus and codonopsis. These are also very easy adds. They are flavor wise very similar to parsnip. Yeah. There’s like a rooty and very slightly sweet flavor. So it is not in any way going to be an intrusive on the flavor of the broth. If you’re cooking for a family and you’re worried about picky palates or whatever, probably nobody’s even going to notice that you’ve added astragalus and Codonopsis. Right. In the case of astragalus it is a Woody root. So you will strain that out before you serve it.

Ryn (00:50:22):
Yeah. That one you’re not going to be able to chew through.

Katja (00:50:24):
Yeah. But codonopsis is a root that is very similar to parsnip in basically all ways. You absolutely can eat that one. It’ll come in these tiny little cross sections. Yeah. It looks like a parsnip if that somebody has dehydrated, absolutely looks that way. So you can pop it in the broth and simmer it for a good long time and then you can just serve it as if it was a rehydrated piece of parsnip. It’s fine for that to just be eaten. Right? Yeah.

Ryn (00:50:57):
So both of these are going to help with immune function down at a really basic level of the bone marrow and the production of naive white blood cells that are going to go forward and choose their specialty inside of your body and decide to be killer cells to help ourselves or to do various kinds of jobs. Way down there at the beginning when they’re first being formed. These are going to help to stimulate that process and to get them into production and get them out there where they can help you. So they have that impact on the body weight, at the bone marrow level, but they’re also presenting again. Not exactly the same as what you find in your mushroom or in your seaweed, but similar kind of a universe or similar galaxy of constituents in there that again, wake up immunity. Give your body a reason to pay attention to what’s going on, to check all the corners, to do some surveillance work but don’t actually present a threat. So in that way they can, they can tone or they can keep the immune system in good fighting shape

Katja (00:52:07):
Also kind of shepherded focus like, Hey, let’s focus on these jobs that we really need to do and not on these things over here that really aren’t actually our job. These are two herbs that are fine for people with autoimmune conditions. Codonopsis in particular is one that I really love to work with for a person who’s gotten into that super depleted place of autoimmunity or chronic illness, because very slowly it will build you back. It’s not like, I’ve become depleted and I need some energy so I’m going to have some coffee or some Ginseng. It is, I’ve become depleted and I need to restore what was lost. And so every day I will start restoring that. In a time period, that might be a month, I will be like, Hey, look at how much has been restored. Right.

Ryn (00:52:58):
Yeah. Codonopsis is traditionally considered to be very similar to Ginseng, just gentler, slower acting and more affordable.

Katja (00:53:06):
Would you want all those things, right? You want that slow acting stuff, especially in our current culture because our current culture says you’re tired, drink caffeine and keep working. You can just get yourself into more trouble that way. Even deeper exhaustion. So I feel like codonopsis is almost like, Oh, I’ll fix the problem, but it’s going to take a while and that is perfect because if it fixes the problem very quickly, then we would not stay in bed. We would not take the time to restore what was lost because we’d be like, Oh, energy, good to go. And so yeah. Codonopsis is almost like I see you and I’m going to help you, but you’re going to stay in bed for a while first. Yeah. I love that. I wanted to talk also with astragalus and Codonopsis, you mentioned about naive immune responder cells, naive white blood cells being formed in the bone marrow and that might be a new concept for some people. This is something that we talk a lot about in the immune health course, in our online video program. What’s going on there is that in the bone marrow you produce white blood cells, but they’re juvenile, right? They have to go to school before they know what their job is going to be. So they’re going to go and they’re going to learn how to do the different jobs that a white blood cell can do. But here’s the trick, not every single white blood cell that ever gets made is going to make it to school, make it all the way through graduate, and actually become a functional immune responder cell.

Ryn (00:54:55):
Oh yeah, yeah. Depending on which pathway they’re taking. Sometimes the graduation rate is like 2%.

Katja (00:55:03):
Yeah, exactly. So the key here is that we want the white blood cells, the naive white blood cells that are coming from the bone marrow and moving towards their educational path. We want them to be the highest quality possible so that we can increase the number that make it all the way through the educational system and actually ultimately become functional immune responder cells. This is where our Astragalus and Codonopsis are really helpful because they increase the quality of the product that the bone marrow produces basically by increasing the quality of the bone marrow. Just like on a day that you are feeling awesome, you got all the sleep that you needed, you had a good breakfast, you’re just feeling great, you produce good work. On a day where you didn’t sleep well the night before, you’re grumpy. You’re depending on caffeine to keep you going at work later. If you look back on the work you did that day, there’s a lot of mistakes. There’s a lot of you’re going to have to end up redoing some of it. So that’s what we’re talking about here is that Codonopsis and astragalus. Like you do that on the cellular level too. Codonopsis and astragalus are going to guarantee that it’s a great day at work and that you’re really doing your best.

Ryn (00:56:25):
That fits in so nicely with the medium that we’re delivering these herbs in here in the bone broth. Right? Cause in your bone broth, you’ve got some marrow going on as well. Right. In a similar way that you make your broths, you’ve got the collagenous tissue on there, the gristle on the bones and that’s made of collagen. You cook it into the soup, you dissolve it, you eat it, your body processes it and turns it into your connective tissue. Similar thing, you take the bone marrow from the bones, you cook it in there, you dissolve it out, you scrape it out later on and eat it with a spoon, especially designed for this purpose. You put it into your body, you digest it, you metabolize it, you bring it around. It ultimately feeds the growth of your own healthy bone marrow. So now these herbs are enhancing that process too. Yeah, pretty good stuff.

Katja (00:57:10):
Yeah, they’re kind of amazing.

Ryn (00:57:12):
All right. So aside from the reishi, everything that we’ve named so far would be kind of in that neutral broth. Like it tastes like soup, sort of…

Katja (00:57:21):
Very savory. Yeah, like savory, umami just blends in. It tastes like it’s supposed to with quotey marks around it. Right? If you imagine chicken soup, you think about what it tastes like, all the things that we’ve talked about except reishi match that flavor profile. Right.

Mildly Bitter Herbs

Ryn (00:57:41):
Okay. So now we’re going to put in some what I wrote in here as mildly bitter prebiotic roots.

Katja (00:57:48):
No. You chose ones that were mildly bitter. You did, I still don’t love them in the broth but you know for that I put them in the not coffee. That’s okay. So yeah…

Ryn (00:57:58):
So we had to learn that though, right? You taught me how to make bone broth way back in the day and then you were like, boy, I’ve got a great idea. This is awesome. It was like, Oh we can put herbs in it. I know I’ll make really herbal powered bone broth. I put it in like all this stuff and then showed it to you and you were like…

Katja (00:58:15):
I’m not eating that.

Ryn (00:58:16):
You have a gallon of broth to drink now.

Katja (00:58:20):
Yeah, I’m not eating that. So, that doesn’t mean that I don’t ever have bitter herbs. I do, but here’s the thing, you just need to find what works for you. What works for me is that I’m a person with a personal culture of coffee and caffeine does not work for my body. So I go with decaf. I’ve come up with this not coffee blend that is made up of tons of bitter roots, reishi mushroom and just a little bit of decaf coffee to seal the deal. The flavor is really delicious. For me, that really hits that coffee drive with no caffeine in it. It’s how I get those bitter herbs in. I just have them in the morning instead of in the broth.

Ryn (00:59:11):
I actually like them in the process.

Katja (00:59:13):
You really do. Yeah. You really do. I think that just because I want to share really honestly that I don’t like them because I don’t want you to think, Oh, I’m not an herbalist cause I don’t like these things in my soup. You’re an herbalist, trust me. Everybody just has to find what works for them. Now that I’ve shared that, honestly, I also don’t want that to put you off trying it because Ryn loves it.

Ryn (00:59:38):
So what are we even talking about here? Things like Burdock, dandelion and chicory.

Katja (00:59:45):
Well, since they’re bitter anyway, we can add elecampane to that list as well. That’s another one of those really good prebiotic roots.

Ryn (00:59:53):
It’s a bit less mild than your burdock and dandelion. Absolutely it is a good one. There’s some specific cases where we might really want to have elecampane in there, right? What do these all have in common so far? One thing from a phytochemistry perspective is that these are all herbs that contain inulin. Inulin is what we call a prebiotic fiber. Prebiotics are food for your probiotics. So you’ve got microbes and bacteria that live in your gut and do good things for you. They really love it when you give them some fibers that your body doesn’t break down, but come down into your gut and feed these friends. So we call those fibers prebiotics. Inulin is a really famous one. It’s a really powerful one and it seems to be really beneficial for humans because their microbiome. By feeding the friendly, friendly flora.

Katja (01:00:51):
Yeah. So all of these herbs, burdock, dandelion, chicory, elecampane, they’re all really high in that substance. Broth is a great way to get it. For instance, if I wanted to make a tincture of burdock root, even if it does extract my inulin well and a standard vodka tincture, it’ll come out and you’ll see it cause it’ll be pretty cloudy stuff at the bottom. Yeah. It’ll make your tincture cloudy and it’ll settled down. It’s there, but you’re not going to drink a pint of your Burdock tincture. We don’t advise that.

Katja (01:01:25):
That would be really weird.

Ryn (01:01:26):
Yeah. So the amount of inulin you can actually get in from a tincture is very, very small

Katja (01:01:31):
If you purchase the tincture, it’s been clarified anyway, so there isn’t any in there. If you make it yourself, there is, it’s just you’re only getting a tiny bit and then all your microbiota are going to fight over it because there’s only a tiny bit.

Ryn (01:01:42):
Yeah. There’s other good things in those tinctures. They absolutely have their place and they can work really well, but if that’s something that we’re interested in feeding our flora, then broth is an awesome way to work with these plants. Right. You cook it a good long time. That breaks it down, disperses it from the plant material, gets it out into that liquid. You drink it down and you feed your friends. That’s the way to go. Yeah. All of these are again are going to have some bitterness to them in addition. That’s going to stimulate your digestive movement and activity. This can be helpful if maybe you know that you need to eat a little more fat in your diet. You know, broths can be a good way to do that. There’s a decent amount of fat on there when you make it. You might still have a little bit of difficulty digesting it. Having these bitter herbs in there is extremely helpful to enhance your ability to digest those fats and to utilize all the goodness that they have for you.

Katja (01:02:39):
You know, also if we’ll go back to the chemo example, if you just have no appetite, it’s very difficult, you’re nauseous and it’s very difficult to eat anything at all. Maybe once in a while you can manage to eat something like a potato or something really neutral, but it’s just hard to even work up the appetite to do it. Bitter things help with that a lot. So if you can appreciate the flavor, then having a little bit of bitter in the broth, it doesn’t even have to be a ton, it could just be as little, having that in the broth could be something that you eat and maybe in 20 or 30 minutes you’re like okay, I could eat a potato now. Or okay, I can eat some rice now or some squash now. Something really easy to digest. Applesauce, I’m just thinking of these really soft foods that we typically cook for a long period of time. So they’re already kind of broken down. I’m not saying that, Oh, just have a little bit of bitter broth and then you’ll be able to eat steak. Not necessarily, but if you’re in that place where you just need some calories and you need some complex carbohydrates. Squashes are going to give you the calories but also give you nutrients. Then this would be a really good way to move yourself in that direction from I can’t really eat anything, I’m not even hungry, to okay, I’ve consumed some nutrients and now actually I’m kind of feeling hungry. If I eat something gentle, then I think I can keep that down.

Ryn (01:04:17):
Yeah. Cool. Well that kind of moves us on to another category or like extends this over in that direction. I was thinking about herbs and spices that can mean a lot of different things. So let’s kind of start with a couple of herbs that you could work with as a spice and that are similar in this regard, right? They have that bitterness to it. So I’m thinking here mostly about Calamus and Angelica. They, like elecampane, are bitter but also warming. And that’s a really interesting thing when we perk up whenever we see that with an herb out there, because that can be really, really helpful, especially for modern populations. The kind of people that we teach and work with most frequently very often have some degree of deficiency, some degree of depletion in the body from exhaustion, from working too hard, from stress, from lots of factors. Right. That often shows up with digestive sluggishness or deficiency. So the bitter to directly stimulate fluid movement and digestive activation. The warmth to bring that blood, bring that movement and vitality can be really, really helpful. We’re always thinking of ways to get these into folks. So broths could be a way to do that.

Katja (01:05:37):
You know, you mentioned Angelica there. Angelica is in the parsley family and it has, I feel like, boy, I don’t know about these bitter flavors. Angelica might be the place to start because if you’ve ever put celery root in your broth, like as it just those root vegetables or if you’ve ever consumed celery root, even not in broth. Angelica has that flavor profile, that sort of celery flavor profile. Then it also has something that’s almost a little gingery to it. Then something that’s got some bitter to it, but the kind of foundational flavor is very similar to celery. So what I’m saying is that there’s a part of this flavor, like a strand, that goes through it that is a very familiar, recognizable flavor that you even kind of expect to be in the broth. So if you are thinking those are things that I could really benefit from, and I’d like to accept the bitter soup challenge, then Angelica is a great place to start because there is some familiarity that’s going to come along with the bitter.

Ryn (01:06:46):
Totally. Yeah. And again, calamus has like a similar-ish flavor, maybe not that celery situation.

Katja (01:06:52):
It doesn’t have the celery thing going on, but it does have the “and a side of ginger.” It’s not ginger but there’s something going on there.

Ryn (01:07:03):
Yeah. It goes well with ginger. That’s another group I would put in there, those like pungent herbs or pungent roots like ginger and turmeric. I think if I was going to put Calamus in, I’d put at least ginger, probably ginger and turmeric in there just to like get that whole range of activity into play. But ginger and turmeric, right? Famous anti-inflammatory herbs, famous digestive herbs. Also beneficial for your liver. Same thing we could say with Calamus, Angelica, elecampane all those bitter plants, they’re going to help and support liver function there. That’s really critical.

Katja (01:07:39):
You’re really getting a lot of anti inflammatory action with the ginger and the turmeric there too. Especially right, where you might need it most in the guts. If this is a time when, it’s an IBS flare up or something like that, and if you like Curry at all, you could go with a broth that had some seaweed, mushroom and some Codonopsis or astragalus and then some ginger and turmeric. Then some rice to bring a little bit more caloric content into it, but still be super, super gentle. Now you basically have like Curry broth and if that appeals to you it’s super, super relieving. I don’t want to say like curative. It really has such strong anti-inflammatory effect that like you’re going to feel it really fast. Yeah. That’s what we’re trying to say.

Pungent Aromatic Bitters

Ryn (01:08:44):
Okay, nice. Then there’s herbs that are more in your standard or your normal herbs and spices range, like Sage and Rosemary.

Katja (01:08:56):
Thyme.

Ryn (01:08:58):
Those have a lot to offer with these ones you might want to wait. You’re not going to want to take Sage, Rosemary or Thyme and put them into the soup right at the beginning. You’re going to want to wait until it’s closer to the time you serve it or maybe even just put it in your eating bowl. A lot of their medicine is coming from volatile constituents that can evaporate. If you throw them in right at the beginning and you’re going to boil it for the rest of the day, those are going to evaporate and be lost. If you take some Sage, put it in your bowl, put the bone broth over that it will liberate them. They’ll scent will start to rise out. You’re eating it, you’re taking it in. That’s a really good way to go about it.

Katja (01:09:38):
Okay. If you want to get a little fancier, there are other constituents in Sage, Rosemary and Thyme. There are bitter constituents and even mineral content. There’s all kinds of stuff that is not in the volatile oils. If you really want to be fancy, put some of it in at the beginning so that you can get those heavier constituents out and then have a finishing blend that gets added right when you serve it. So, you retain the volatile constituents as well and get that beautiful aroma. That would be really lovely. Yeah. Yeah.

Ryn (01:10:20):
Nice. Those are going to help with digestion, especially if you have cramping. Those aromatic herbs often have a relaxing quality to loosen up the guts a little bit, allow things to move through more easily. Sage and Rosemary both have that intersection of aromatic and bitter. That’s really where you get a lot of liver focused benefit and a lot of improvement in your ability to digest and absorb fats. Super helpful here.

Katja (01:10:46):
Fennel has that action as well, that fat digesting action, and cumin, caraway. So those could all go in as well. You can put them in in the beginning, you can put them in at the end. You can do both. It’s okay to put them in powdered or to put in the whole seed. Again, those are flavors that are familiar. You know, it is going to push the flavor in a certain direction, but it could be lovely. I’m thinking if you had pork bones and then you had a little bit of sausage. isn’t that like Italian wedding soup with a little sausage and some diced tomatoes? Then you put fennel in there, thyme and some Sage. Wow, that would be really good. Hold on. I should try that. I should make that.

Ryn (01:11:42):
Let’s do it. You know, but there’s a lot of range to put herbs into your soup. I was thinking about a few going a little further afield. One of the ways that I sometimes think about herbs is from their color and how that can stand in for certain kinds of chemistry. If you think about like calendula flowers or dandelion flowers, they have those bright yellow colors and they have a lot of carotenoids. These particular anti-inflammatory constituents that are really good for eye health and they’re really good for your uterine health in certain ways. Just good to have, but you could absolutely put calendula flowers into your soup. You could get some fresh dandelion flowers and put them right into there. That’s got some benefit for you.

Katja (01:12:31):
Those will go in a little bit of a bitter direction. If you don’t put too many, then it won’t be noticeable. Like the flavor of the chicken or whatever you’ve got going on will be stronger than that. Yeah, it’s mild enough that you will cover it.

Ryn (01:12:48):
We could go in a red direction and look at some goji berries or some Hawthorn berries. Those might add a little bit of sweet or a little bit of sour. Balance it with the other herbs and flavors you’ve got in there. It’s not crazy. It’ll come out well and it will deliver the medicine and those plants really well.

Katja (01:13:05):
Yeah. Goji is traditional in a lot of Asian soup recipes and you’ve got that sour action going on. Maybe if you toss some kimchi, some fire cider or something like that in the soup, especially at the very end. That’s one way I really like to work with my fire cider, I don’t even strain fire cider. I just take the sliced up, chopped up onions and all the other stuff, scoop that and the vinegar into some soup right before you’re going to eat it and you get this really nice spice in your soup. I find it really delicious. Yeah. That would go nicely with the little sour from the goji or the Hawthorne.

Ryn (01:13:51):
So lots and lots of options don’t feel limited by anything that we’ve said today. Definitely experiment with it because this again is a method that’s really fantastic at getting a broad array of constituents from plants. We didn’t mention it too much, but one of the things that happens when you make a broth is that because there’s some fat content to it that helps you get oil soluble constituents from your herbs and from the ones we’ve talked about today that’s really relevant with like your turmeric. It helps with your codonopsis and astragalus. Some of these other plants, some of the mushrooms, there’s constituents in there that water alone can get them, but maybe not super well. When you have that fat content in there, you’re getting a broader spectrum of what the earth has to offer.

Katja (01:14:40):
Even some of the stuff from calendula or from carrots is similar. There’s fat-soluble stuff in there too. Yeah.

Ryn (01:14:47):
So between that combination of mediums that you have going on in there along with the long-term heating process, you’re getting a really good extraction going on here. Experiment wildly and start with some of these we’ve talked about so far. I guess that’s probably it for our topic today.

Katja (01:15:10):
Well, no, that’s just the beginning because the next step is for you to go to the kitchen and it make some broth.

Ryn (01:15:18):
Yeah. Yeah. All right, cool. Oh yeah. And then reach out to us if there’s an herb that you always put in your broth and we didn’t even mention it. We’d love to hear. We often get inspired by things that our students and listeners tell us and we’re like, yeah, I’m going to try that. So yeah, let us know for sure. All right. Let’s close it off with some shout outs.

Katja (01:15:40):
Yes. I’m really excited to say hi to Cheryl at Remedies herb shop in Brooklyn. I am so excited to add her to our list of local herb shops. I’m building that this week and I’ll be adding it to all of our courses. If you run an herb shop somewhere, then shoot me an email so that I can add you to the list as well. The email address is info@commonwealthherbs.com.

Ryn (01:16:10):
Yeah. Okay. A shout out to Anna who’s been taking some of our mini courses and attending our live Q and A sessions and is now ready to start the community herbalist program. All right.

Katja (01:16:21):
Yeah, that’s exciting. Kate from Northern Minnesota who sent us an email to say that she loves the pod. Thank you.

Ryn (01:16:29):
Nice. To Sharon who’s listening to the pod in the pottery studio and maybe even right now. Hello.

Katja (01:16:35):
Yes. And Natalia who listens to the podcast to balance out her medical interpreting work in a hospital. Even though she would rather be living in a cabin somewhere with all of the herbs. I’m right with you there.

Ryn (01:16:50):
We are. Yeah. Then to, let’s see, Ivy street Oracle who just found the pod and we’re so excited you’re here. Thank you for being here.

Katja (01:17:02):
Also to never trust a barborka. I don’t know what a barborka is, but I promise I won’t ever trust one. Who wrote us a review on Apple podcasts. Thank you so much. It really helps other people to find the podcast and to spread the herby goodness. If you are a listener and you like the podcast, then please just write us a review because it will really help.

Ryn (01:17:31):
Yeah. In the world of podcasting, we are super tiny. Even turning up in somebody’s search results is not always a guarantee. So, the more reviews we get, the more likely that is to happen as we can spread the good word.

Katja (01:17:45):
Yes. Make the algorithms happy.

Ryn (01:17:48):
All right. And Hey, by the way, if you were looking for a way to spread the herby goodness, we have that for you. You could become a supporter of our podcast by going to commonwealthherbs.com/supporters. You can sign up right there to contribute a few bucks monthly. That money goes directly to the costs of hosting and producing this podcast. It also helps fund our community projects like our monthly free clinic, which in 2020 is going to take place on the second Tuesday of each month. So if you’re in the Boston area or happen to be visiting on a second Tuesday, then come by that evening and we will get some herbs for you.

Katja (01:18:28):
Yes. Yeah. If that’s not enough incentive to lend your support, there’s more, we’re like Ginsu knives.

Ryn (01:18:36):
Oh wait, there’s more.

Katja (01:18:40):
Every week we will send you a video with an herbal tip that you can use right away, directly into your inbox. It is content that we don’t put anywhere else. It comes right to you usually every Wednesday, although occasionally a week gets a little out of control and it comes a little late and that’s happening this week. It’s going out today. But what I’m saying here is that every single week you will receive a swanky video right in your inbox with really cool herbal information, which is our way of saying that we really appreciate your support of the pod.

Ryn (01:19:15):
That’s what, that’s what, okay. So, we’ll be back next week with another episode of the holistic herbalism podcast. Until then, take care of yourselves. Take care of each other.

Katja (01:19:25):
Drink some tea.

Ryn (01:19:25):
And we’ll be back next time.

Katja (01:19:29):
Bye. Bye.

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